Rugby. A Nation Locked in This Nation

Museum collection objects that represent travelling, journeys and migration were shown to the Crossing Borders group to inspire their own artworks and conversations. In this image, the ladies look at a facsimile of the Sheldon Tapestry.
Image courtesy of Heritage & Culture Warwickshire and Matthew Cox
Oral history of Usha, for Crossing Borders project


U: My name is Usha Thappar. And presently I live in Rugby but I came to Aberdeen first time and I came as a student. That was 1973. And I joined University of Aberdeen. And I came as a…to do some research but the Scottish accent was so different and I was finding it, to be honest, I was finding it hard to understand even the university professors so… I think when I landed, I found it a really interesting place. People were so polite, very mannerful, saying thanks and sorry at every step and I was quite impressed, I think…and different from India. And then I got married after five years of staying in Aberdeen and I came into my in-laws’ house near Rugby. And they all passed away and then we moved to our own house. I have got three children. In short, and…what else.

I: What was the research?

U: Oh, because I did my M.A. in India in Political Science and I came to do some research. But because there were only 3-4 students, that was like an international class. One student was from Scotland, one from England, one from, I think, Egypt. But some of them just couldn’t cope. And I thought I better have some knowledge of English so I joined English for foreign students. This is where I…meanwhile arranged marriage was arranged so that’s it, I gave up, ya.

I: And were you happy to stay and live here?

U: I think yes, on the whole, right from the beginning I am very happy, yes, very happy, different from India …and because more of our relations are here. There’s less in India than here so we are like a nation locked in this nation…and I do visit India as well but it’s more or less this is like a second home to me now. India is first…this is first in fact because we are living here, children are born here, they’re getting married here so India and England I would say are more or less same to me

I: So your family are here?

U: Ya. My family–my brother, sister– they’re all settled here and their children are settled here just like mine so really I am happy here.

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.

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