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Mansukhlal Virpar Shah – London

My name is Mansukhlal Shah and Sobhag is my Uncles (Mamas) son.

I remember when I was Young my Sister went to Meru when Sobhag was born to help my Mami, as in those days the birth was at home and families depended on near one for helping.

I had been working in Nairobi after I left my School in 1957. I was working in Nairobi and living with my Masi. But in 1958 my Masi’s family moved to Meru to help my Mama with the business as it was getting very busy over there and my Mama could not cope on his own. In the year 1959 I was called to Meru as my Mamas business became the sole agents for East African Tobacco Company. I used to run that side of business. I used to go on Safari from Monday to Thursday all over Meru District to sell cigarettes over there. On Fridays and Saturday’s I used to help in the shop. In those we were very busy and all the small run by Meru People came to buy goods from us. My Uncles business was very busy, and the local people used to trust us. They never asked the prices but gave us the list of their requirements and pay cash for them. The following year my Mamas son Navin joined the business after we became agents for Madhwani Sugar. The following year we became agents for Mehta and sons sugar business.

I remember one day when Sobhag was about eight years when my Masi’s son Harkhubhai caught him smoking cigarette and he was thrashed very badly by him.

We in Meru were free on Sundays and used to go to farms and eat sugarcane and Maize and pick some oranges and take them home.

In the afternoon we used to play Rounders or Nagel with friends and families and after that in the evening I used to go for a long walk, and I took Sobhag with me.

Also, we used to see films together.

In December 1965 I was going to get married to Kanta, but that wedding was postponed as my sister Kantaben was killed in a train accident while coming to my marriage. I was married to my wife Kanta on 6ht May the following year. After staying in Karatina for couple months she joined my Meru. As she came to Meru, she was surrounded by all loving family members and became friendly with all our friends and families and settled very nicely in Meru. In October 1968 my Mamas son Navin got married to Nimu. My wife and Nimu are cousin sisters and both of them have a very close relationship.

In 1969 I left Meru and came back to Karatina and came to UK in August 1971.

In 1972 I and my brother Kanta bought our own house at Belmont Road, Wealdstone, Harrow and at the end of 1972 my Mamas son Navin and his wife Nimu came to London and stayed with us. The following year he and his brother in law Ramesh bought a shop in Camden High Street. I remember Sobhag furnishing the shop and getting it ready in a weeks’ time. I used to help out on Saturdays.

In 1977 I went to Nairobi for Holidays and had a very good time visiting Samburu Safari Lodge, Voi Safari Lodge and Taita Hills and Saltlik. At that time Sobhag started Kenpoly Limited and was busy in building the premises and starting the factory. As a result of which he could not concentrate in his shop Jaytex Limited. I used to help his wife Bhanu on Saturdays and also doing her accounts during weekdays.

 In 1976 we started the shop in Wembley and that is when I joined Navin in the business. Since then we have been together in business.

We have been very close with both Sobhag and Navin and our relationship is like real brothers. I and Sobhag have gone on so many Holidays together. We have been to Dominic Republic, Kerala, Goa and Kashmir and so many times to Bombay. I remember his 60th birthday which was celebrated in great style at Langley Hall in Watford.

I wish him all the success in his life.

Mansukh (Babu).

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