J: Hi, my name is Jaswinder. I come here from India in 1976 as a visitor because my sister live here. After that I’m married here and settle down in this country because I have only my sister here. Nobody…no relative in the home. Then me and my sister think we can live together in one country.
I: Right. How did you end up in Rugby?
J: After marriage. And my sister live in London. Then I can live with her before marriage; after marriage, I can move in Birmingham. My husband had a fish and chips shop. Then I move in Hinckley, London; after that my husband move in Rugby, then I move with him in Rugby. Then we have a taxi business. We can start a taxi business about 20 years [ago?]; then, my husband died. After my husband’s death – I have two boys – then the boys look after the business. Then I can live with my sons [in] Rugby here. [Pause] Miss the country as well…Punjab as well. I go every year actually because I have no parents now, no aunties, no uncles, nobody over there, they all died. Me and my sister live here and I have my parents’ land over there I can look after there. I can go every year sometimes twice an year.
I: What about the weather?
J: Ah, weather! When we go to India, we can check the weather first but we not actually go to June, July because too much heat over there. We actually going like March, April or October, November, December that time. The weather is in the summer, it’s very hot and winter is too hot as well [sic] because there’s no facilities like heat inside [someone in the background corrects ‘very cold’]. It’s very cold [in October-December period], sorry. [They laugh] Because we live here with our children so that’s alright. When we go home, we brought up over there and we born over there. I miss that attitude as well, you know, the people. There’s values [that] go back home. So many people coming around to see you. And here, when you come back here everybody says hi, that’s it. We actually miss that attitude. And here? Everybody is working here; everybody busy life here then sometimes when we go there we miss that life as well. [They laugh] Both countries–where you live actually you can like that place. This is our country. We go to visit over there. Just a holiday time, you know. That’s it. So many memories, just so many memories. When we young actually, go to school, college over there. You know, friends actually. Then those memories quite painful when you go back there there’s nobody there. Like parents, No parents over there. And some relatives not there. They all died. Some memories nice,some painful. More memories more painful.
I: But you go back every year?
J: Yes, every year. Ya, I go back because I like that. Because my in-laws’ family–my husband’s family–only one brother live there but he died as well. Next generation over there. The rest of my husband’s family here. And I have only one sister and she live here. My parents died. I have no brother. Then when I go back, I go to my mum’s house because that belonged to me and my sister. I don’t go to my husband’s side. I going to visit them but I not live over there. That’s a different place. That’s still in Punjab, one village here, one village over there. Then when I go back, I can open my mum’s house, I can clean up and then I can settle down over there. That my memory is quite painful over there.
I: When you were doing this project, I think you had an object?
J: Yes, I can bring some object which when I go to India some different, different places like Rajasthan. One state Punjab, and one from Rajasthan. I can buy some kind of marble things, you know. Then I like that pieces. I can buy from there to here. Ya, that’s quite nice…memorable, you know.
I: What was that object that you brought in the first week?
J: Ya, first week.
I: Was yours the marble?
J: Marble, yes, the marble one.
I: Can you describe it?
J: That’s for some kind of marble. That’s very fine arts over there, you know. And they make some kind of…what do you call it…some kind of bowls. Well, you see the marble that’s very fine, very fine art, people doing with hand.
I: Was it engraved?
J: Engraved. Yes! That’s it. They cut the marble and make some very fine art over there. That’s why I bring. I like that.
I: What was the picture of?
J: That’s some kind of small tray. Not tray but you can stand [it] up there on the marble bowl. Looks like a bowl.
I: But the picture that was engraved into it…
J: That’s for a Rajasthani traditional people. [They] wear the traditional clothes…make the art for traditional things over there [background talk] No, they wear the Rajasthani outfit [background talk].
I: Did you bring in…
J: I can bring mine as well. I buy that because I can bring some material as well. I can print like the lady [showed us today]. Then over there they put some clay or something over there, some stamps on the clothes, they can make the outfit. That one thing is Rajasthani culture.
Crossing Borders was an arts project made possible by funding from the West Midlands Museum Development Small Grant Scheme 2017. Find out more about the project here.