Rugby's Helpful Community After Moving From Gujarat

The Crossing Borders group were encouraged to bring in their own objects from home that represented their migration stories or aspects of their identity. This colourful Sari was worn by one of the women who had bought it in her family’s home town in the Punjab, India.
Image courtesy of Heritage & Culture Warwickshire
Oral history of Bhanuben, for Crossing Borders project


B: My name is [Bhanuben] Patel and I come from India. I come first Coventry and after I get married I come here in Rugby.

I: Why did you go to Coventry?

B: My auntie’s house. My mum’s sister– auntie’s house. And after I come, married and I come in the Rugby and I live with my husband [sound of throat being cleared in the background] because I married, may be, I think so 33 years, ya. I got three children, two son and one daughter. So children is grown up. One son and one daughter is work. His live in Birmingham. His live, work Birmingham. And one son, he is doing apprenticeship, like a [pause] something like computer apprenticeship– youngest son.

I: So all the children live in England?

B: Ya [pause]

I: And how old were you when you came to England?

B: 22 year.

I: OK. Do you go back?

B: Ya, some time, like some time go three year back. In India, my … in India, my family, like my sister, mother and aunties, so I see family. I been last year [pause].

I: And apart from your family, what do you miss about India?

B: My family in like a … in the state Gujarat. I am from Gujarat.

I: Are there things about the Gujarat that you miss?

B: Ya, some time I like there so I live I been holiday .I live 5-6 week so there is…very weather is nice…no cold. Here winter. I go winter time here like November, December. Winter there is a cold but not… just like here summer, there is winter like that cold.

I: Yes, so you miss some of the English winter?

B: [Laughs] ya [pause]

I: When would you next go?

B: No idea [laughs]. I saying one year after I go [laughs] because before I work. First time I work, like factory job, line operator, my children small and I work after [wards] another…I done packing job as well and after make buggy. That one is line operator job, factory job. And after I did cooking assistant but like Indian chef, Indian cooking…

I: And when you came to England were there any nice surprises?

B: Because the first time I came here, you know, cold. I find very cold [laughs].. very cold ,little bit different. There the weather is…not too cold that’s why I see here a difference.

I: So that was a nasty surprise. [B laughs] Were there any nice things about England when you came?

B: People is good like friendly and after I come here and I live in Rugby. Rugby is a …I like Rugby. Rugby is good. People is good, very good. They’re like someone help as well and here Rugby small town so many peoples helpful, ya, like I come here in centre and Maria come here like friend, we’re friend like friendly community, little community. People make friendly…

I: And help each other?

B:Help each other, ya!

I: When you were doing this project, I think you each brought in an object?

B: Ya, she’s brought object. Me brought object my like some wear something, like Bengal and something, in India we wear different-different clothes. I wear…

I: So what was your object that you brought in?

B: I have object my I wear my Bengal and some different like sari, ya.

I: What colour? What’s the sari like?

B: I like pink and green and yellow because I’m I [throat clearing in the background] I just used to wear clothe trousers and some salwar but when I go somewhere special programme, party or some special, I wear my special sari [laughs].

I: And what is your special sari like?

B: Pink colour. Ya, and blue as well…

I: And where do you buy your saris? Can you get those in Rugby?

B: No. When I go visit to India I take from there. Some time here Indian shops as well but not often go like…Leicester there is a Indian area called …but cheaper in India [laughs] so I buy from there.

I: Do you usually cook Indian food?

B: Ya, ya. We eat at home Indian food, ya, but sometime English food. Children like weekend time English food sometime [have] takeaway. Weekend buy English food takeaway.

I: Do your grown up children eat Indian food as well?

B: Weekend time English [laughs] weekdays time Indian [pause].

I: Did you have a garden in India?

B: Ya, ya. So …my…auntie and my mum house, ya, Mango tree as well. The garden Mango tree, Guvava tree, big, big tree like here Apple tree. Did you see Apple there is like Mango tree in front, like Kiwi Fruit big tree, but not Kiwi Fruit but looks like Kiwi Fruit, but we call different name, Cheeku, so there is like ….vegetable very fresh Aubergine, Tomato.

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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