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Biography by Shashikant J Shah

My name is Shashikant J Shah and I live in Edgware, London

Me and Sobhag Haria, then Shah, first met in January 1964 at the start of our Secondary Education in Form 1 in Duke of Gloucester Secondary School (now known as Jamhuri High School), Nairobi, Kenya

We were all together in one class from ‘Form 1E’ to ‘Form 4 E’ for 4 years (1964 – 1967) as we had opted for Gujarati as second language.

I have fond memories of our secondary school days. It was so much fun, were all so happy go lucky and had many hilarious moments in school. I vividly remember his regular excuse of not completing his homework due to his exercise book being full all the time with his classic line ‘Sir new book please’ 

We were also good at naming teachers. Mr K.M Patel, our Gujarati teacher as ‘Kilometre’ and students used to spray ink on his back when walking in the classroom.

After finishing school, I joined my father’s business in 1968 and Sobhag went to Meru to join his father business.

In June 1969 Sobhag returned to Nairobi to start a clothing retail shop called Jaytex. This gave us the opportunity to meet again. In December 1969 during Christmas holidays we decided to go to Mombasa for a few days. We were joined by my friend Rohit. We travelled by Coach to Mombasa. 

I remember this as being a fun holiday. We went to Light house to have the delicious Madafu and its ‘bari’ (Coconut water and its white soft copra) and Mogo Kachri (Cassava crisps).

After spending one day in Mombasa we decided to go to Malindi with a taxi via the Likoni Ferry which took us 2 hours to reach and straight went to its beautiful beach.  We swam in the ocean and enjoyed. 

During these years I recall coming from Industrial area to the City Centre, where his Shops were, pick him in my car around 11.30am and we drive to Maru’s Café for tasty, hot Bhajia’s. Then I used to drop him back to the shop. He used to mention that his family were complaining that he was not eating well at lunch time, they did not know about Maru’s.

At weekends we used to get together with our other common friends like Anil Patel, Hema Patel and Rohit Shah and went for drives or visited our favourite place Westwood Lodge.

Due to our friendship, my brother Pravin came to know about Sobhag’s sister Surbhi and they became friends and eventually got married on 15 August 1974, so we became Vevai, according to relationship.

After Sobhag settling in UK around 1990’s, I remember once when he came to Nairobi for a visit , I asked him to come home for Lunch or Dinner and to my surprise he said, will come for a special breakfast – Parathas with Mango chutney and masala chai (Indian style). We had a lovely catch up of old memories and good old days. I also gave him some photos of our schooling days.

Then I came to settle in UK, and we continued meeting at functions and occasionally at gatherings of our Old School friends. We have long friendship still going on. Wish him well.

I understand Sobhag’s representatives are planning to prepare his Biography on a website and this letter would be part of it including a photograph supplied by me.

June 2020.