This March it was forty years since I came to England.
It was the 5Th of March, 1970. A cold and bright morning,there has been a snow storm the night before and the tarmac had mounds of snow,where it had been shuffled back to clear the runway and the walkway.
Those days you got off the plane and walked the whole length to get to the terminal at Heathrow.None of these covered walkways,the sort we have now. And I remember noticing the sheer brightness of the sunlight as it reflected the white snow.
I was just out of my teens, slim, naive and full of expectations and hope.
And am trying to think,how I compare today with that girl who walked tentatively into a new country, just with her dreams and ambitions and a desire to make this place her home.
And wondering as to how will I cope with a culture I only knew from my fathers stories and the books I have read.
Forty years on am older,wiser and fatter! I have learnt a lot and consciously have shed my prejudices and set ideas and opened my mind to my adopted culture.
In the East everyone has an opinion about everyone else`s business.Friends and relatives are always ready with advise and criticism. It was such a relief that here people respected your privacy,your business was yours alone.
I learnt a lot from my children who were born here,for example the Indian way of forcing food in an others plate. It is considered the duty of the host or the cook,not to take no for an answer! it is considered mean not to make sure that your guests/family eat well and a lot.
My children quickly put me right on that score, no meant just that. I was not to add any food to their plates,or they will and did put it in the dustbin.
There are some very good practices too,which I still adhere to,looking after family and friends,and making friends for life and being loyal to them.
I have also learnt that men are so very different too! The Asian man is a bit too full of himself! women are there to please him in every way.Men are brought up to feel superior. Mothers and sisters wait on them and they are given priority in everything,so wife is expected to follow suit.
Children are constantly patronised, do not speak unless spoken to, and of course women rarely have a voice.
I have learnt and adopted a lot of British values,especially the sense of fair play,being impartial and that one is innocent until proven guilty.
So here I am, forty years later,where edges have blurred, I have children who have purely British values,with an Indian heritage, their spouses who are natives and have become part of of my life.
So these have been very enriching years.