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Sobhag Haria life story

my life story

The reason of this write up is to inform the readers the reason of starting this website and where it ended up. I always had plans to write up my life history informing the audience about when we moved places, how we moved, my businesses and the houses we lived in. I
gathered collections throughout the years.
This is very similar to what lots of people do and I am not any different than them and I did the same thing. A time came where I wanted to write a book about me. Then I realised that people may not have time to read the book. The idea was to write my biography book about my life history, but the 2nd thought was from my experience that not many people will be interested in reading the book.
I realised having pictures with small captions in the bottom would be better from my knowledge at the Gandhi exhibition. Hence, I decided to do a photo biography. It would be nice to have a website where it can be easily accessed and seen. Easy to distribute, still can go on updating with times. Someone else can continue updating in time to come.
People can see the categories that they are interested in. This was my idea to establish my website. I had the intention to do something about my biography, but it was getting very prolonged. It happened to be last year, my grandson Shrey really asked me dada I understand you have done a lot of things in your younger days and I would like to come and listen to about your history and how I can things I can work on and how can I be like one of you. It made me realised it was an important point and it encouraged me to be serious about the website. For the last 1 year, I have been trying to set up the website. It has been difficult. I took help from several people in India, but it was still difficult. It happened recently during the lockdown where Jay, “my Sadhubhai” (Brother in-law) best part is that he is prepared to help me. It has given me a boost that lets get started and get it over and done with It is decided that every time we should be complete. The plan was to lounge the website last week, but it was not fully complete hence we delayed it by a week or two. Every time we are getting new ideas to make it better, thus delays completion. In my life when I talk to people, I find that they get great interest because it may be is something different done by me, the way I express it and tell them. I thought that rather than a few people getting an idea, why not pass my experiences and knowledge on to a larger crowd. The most important part is from the time I was born in Kenya, I have got lots of contacts in India and the now spent several years in the UK. It is not as really young or old, but 70 years of history. Life was completely different 70 years ago, in three different countries.
The younger generation will benefit by knowing what it was in older times. Going back to the people whom I left in Kenya, for them to know what I am doing now here which is very important. Through this website, it becomes much easier for my children and my grandchildren, all of them to see my accomplishments (dada has done). My bibliography will include my friend circle, from my childhood, the places where we moved, the experience I had and what encouragement I had. This could be beneficial for relatives and others to read. In this website, I thought of getting other people’s opinion of what they think of me because sometimes I feel I, it would be better to know myself from others rather than knowing it from myself. As I told my wife sometimes I have not shaved but I wouldn’t know it because I can’t see myself till I go and see in a mirror, she would tell me that I need to shave. In the same manner I would like people to talk about me, what am I and it’s not necessary to give positive comments, it can be negative too but this will give me an insight of what king of person I am. Another example, I am working and listening to a recorded program which I was involved in. I heard the recording and realized that I was speaking very fast. I would not have realized myself that I was talking too fast until I heard my own recording. I’m sure it must be the same thing applicable with the majority of people. They do not realize what they are doing until they are told by someone or they can see/ hear their recording as I did. This story is not something that you can see in pictures but it’s a personal experience of what I went through;

The begining

My life starts from 1950 when I was born, and I will try to explain the surrounding. The place I was born was a very small village called Meru in Kenya. My village was a very small one with only one street. There was no electricity, no gas, no running water. To get water, we had to go to a stream at the back of the buildings. To make fire, we used to burn timber to heat up the water for a shower. For cooking food we used charcoal. For heating the building we used cow dung and pieces of charcoal leftover and combine them into ladoos and burn them overnight. Prior to my birth Muktaba was present, because during those times ladies would not go to the hospital to give birth. The delivery would take place at home. They would try to get help from relatives at the time. During my birth, Muktaben (Babu bhais eldest sister) came to help my mum to look after her during and after my birth. Soon after my birth at the age of one and half months, my elder brother Navin and my Motibaa Muriben came from India. I was lucky to have my first younger sister Bena and followed up by my second sister Surbi in 1954.
Around 1957 we moved into a stone house, it was a privilege to move from the timber house into a stone house. The stone house was a double floor building with a shop underneath and the flat at the top. This is where I got a chance to make friendship with Sudha and Vipin who was older to me and they were our neighbors. In 1957 at the age of seven, I started school, unlike the modern times that the children would be getting their potty training at the age of two and a half in my case, up to the seven years old, still was not potty trained.
The studies these days the children use computers and mobile phone and know everything. However, when I started school, I had a board (patyu) that we used to write(gutwa) the letters and numbers. The next most important part of the first two years, standard 1 and standard 2, I did not have a classroom, I had to study under the tree and that was by classroom. When it rained, we had to go to the corridor of the school. During that time, our school was made of metal tins which later in the years, moved to a stone building. When I was seven years old, I attended a relative’s marriage and I found out that my picture was captured within that particular marriage ceremony. This was my first picture captured and that’s my first picture since birth at the age of 7, unlike modern times, pictures taken with half an hour of birth. I would like to write about my achievements and disaster in my life. I want to inform you about what made me stronger and how I found solutions to come out of these difficult times. I was only the age 12 years when my mother passed away. During those times, 12 years is a very, very young age not compared with now. Currently children are more mature at the age of 12. I found it very difficult to live without my mom.
I tried to seek love from others wherever I got affection I would take it For my secondary education I was enrolled in the Duke of Gloucester hostel where the students were much older than me. I was in form 1 coming from a village. There were elder student living in the hostel too. I found it difficult to stay with older students especially with the head prefect. This made me stronger. Duke of Gloucester was one of the best schools in Nairobi. It was a very good and large school and I made lots of friends. I was a shy person during that time. After completing 2 terms at Duke of Gloucester, I moved to Visa Oshwal boarding school. I was keen to go to that boarding because of the food served there. I was in more familiar food and friends surrounding back from home. My father gave me limitation of finance. He gave me a book to calculate my finances. For three months I was given sixty shillings which is not even a pound in this modern time, and I had to keep a record. I used to smoke at that time so I would have to buy the cigarettes. But how would I write it down in my book? To keep it hidden from my father, I had to calculate exactly how many packets of crisps and peanuts are required to make it balance. This indirectly taught me how to do accounting. In 1965, while I was in boarding, I had an opportunity to go to India when I was in form 2. I went to India with about 40 students from Mombasa via a ship to Seychelles, to Goa then to Bombay. From Bombay, we took a train going all the way up to North Jamnagar, Srinagar, Delhi, Kolkata and Kanyakumari and back to Bombay. I remember that I had spent about 600 rupees which is more or less six pounds in the modern times. I’m sure the value of the rupee was much, higher during that time. It gave me the opportunity to meet with Radha Krishna and Indira Gandhi as well. I was only nine when Babu Bhai came from Karathina or Nairobi to come and join us in Meru to work with us in the shop. The good part was in 1966, Babu Bhai got married to Kanta Bhabhi. They stayed with us for at least two years during. Having a female figure in the house really improved my upbringing taught by her that I had missed out for many years. She taught all the good qualities of how to be courteous, kind and not to get angry or upset. I will never forget that. The next most important part in my life was My brothers Navin got married to Nimu. I was in boarding at that time, Nimu would come and visit me every now and then which made me feel so nice as we used to always wait for relatives or visitors to come and meet us. It is difficult for modern children again to understand, but while leaving she might give me 20 shillings which at the time was 17 pence or 15 pence of the modern times, but I would really, really appreciate the 20 shillings that was given to me At the age of 17/18 I thought of joining my father in the shop rather than going for further studies. After joining the shop, I realized I needed the skills of typing and bookkeeping hence after 1 term I went back again to Nairobi to learn typing and bookkeeping at New Era college. It’s very surprising that I took interest in typing but bookkeeping was not much of an interest as it was very easy for me. I asked my teacher if I could skip some of these exercises and she refused. It became very boring so after finishing three months, I went back to Meru and told my father to teach me how to do bookkeeping. He taught me in Gujarati. “Jamma Udhar” means debit and credit which was written on the cash book. This is how I learnt the easy method of writing books which helped me later on when I went to Nairobi. In Nairobi the bookkeeping in English is the same except the only difference was the direction of writing. The information written in the right was now written in the left and vise versus. I did not attend a special college or university to learn bookkeeping, but I leant it myself. Being self-taught over the years. In September 1968 my nephew (brothers’ son) Nishit was born. There was so much excitement as he was the first child in the family after many years. We as a family made sure he was brought up well. We had a big celebration for his first birthday in 1969 while we were in Nairobi. In those times it was called a big celebration. We made the food at home and took it to Mahajan Wadi for the guests to come and enjoy. The most upsetting part or disaster in family’s life occurred in 1968, where we received a Quit notice. A quit notice means we were noncitizens and we could no continue with the business in Meru. Hence, we were asked to close the shop. I was born there, my father started his business there, it was our origin hence It was very disappointing to move. We had to close down and sell everything and move to Nairobi. It was one of the biggest disasters at that particular time or we felt it was not that easy. But I will tell you later that whatever has happened is for the better. Each and everything in my life as I think of it has happened for the better. This is the attitude that helps us to the next goal. In June 1969 we moved from Meru to Nairobi. My father was in partnership with Paper Bags Ltd, so he had to go and join in. It was decided for me to go to UK and I applied for the visa. I would get £17.50 a week and I would be very well settled by going to UK. For the visa, I must have kept my passport in a very secure place which I did not remember it myself and I lost it. It was very difficult for me to tell my father that I have lost my passport as I would get a beating at that time. I had to go through the whole process of getting a new one, from filling the forms and taking it to the police station and taking it to the British High Commission to get it sorted out. It took me six months. It was a benefit that the process for me to move to UK was delayed as we got an opportunity of starting a shop which was of my father-in-law. We started the shop by the name of Jaytex. Jaytex was a clothing shop for ladies’ gents and children wear. We did not have the slightest idea of the different types of clothing like what a cardigan was and what sizes are required. I had no knowledge from universities like in the modern times while going into this profession. Each and everything in my life I have done is with critical experiences going to it, learn it, and then get on with it. When I started the shop in Kenya, there was no self-selection store. I was the first person to start this change in all of Nairobi. In Kenya it was uncommon for people to have Denim. I launched Denim in a big way in Kenya. I came to UK and got large quantities of denim jeans, jackets, dungarees, skirts, waist coats. I advertised the above and made a sign board that displayed that we had denim at Jaytex. I started with music in the shop as well which was not common to have music in a shop. I got a Normandy tape recorder which had 8 tracks from Germany. At the age of 18/19, I was running my own store without any experience. You will see that my whole life, it’s just full of practical experiences with no education, no training. From running the first shop Jaytex, I got an idea. As it was getting a bit difficult to look after people, customers to do the marketing, to motivate the staff for the sort of things and I thought of starting my own system of keeping stock control, I divided 1,700 square feet by number of staff who would look after them. They were initially very reluctant, but I had to force it. I kept a record such as if a member of staff was given 100 shirts if they sold two, they should be 98 remaining and after certain time when you find out it should be 55 shirts remaining and if they were not there then we would deduct it out of their wages. At the same time, to encourage them we would give them commission as well, so they are responsible. This is a modern system currently utilized in the supermarket. This keeps control of stock and what needs to be replaced and gives an accurate number of pieces sold. For example, if someone’s says I am selling so many shirts, it is difficult to calculate the specific number. If it’s 200 shirts sold, it is numbered. It also gives me an idea of the time required to sell the shirt. 200 shirts would take roughly take 3 months to sell. I was no longer needed to be in the shop, so I had time to invest in other shops. I bought Tito, Titbit, Wonder Wear. I had a fifth shop as well, but it ended up being not materialized. I had the capacity of running all these shops starting from scratch. Setting it, fixing the furniture, stockings. I had more power to buy the materials whenever anyone would get anything, I was able to buy the total quantity from them to make my products unique withing the country and make it easy to market and sell it. In 1973 at the age of 23 I got married to Bena and within 11 days of my marriage my brother Navin had to leave from Kenya to UK due to some immigration disputes. I was left on my own to run the shop. Once again having a positive mind is imperative. Imagine having 2 people to run the store previously and suddenly one person leaves make it difficult especially when its 11 days since marriage. In 1975, at the age of 25, I become a Kenyan citizen. Becoming a Kenyan citizen gave, me a lot of encouragement to expand my potential further. In 1975 at the age of 25, my first son Dip was born. In 1976 at the age of 26. I bought my own property which took me only five minutes to negotiate. 4th Parklands and I got the property. On 28th of December 1976, we celebrated our first son Dips birthday. That was again the biggest joy. Now I can understand why majority of the time we celebrate the children’s 1st birthday. In 1977 at the age of 27, I got my second son named Beju. It was another big excitement for me. At the age of 27, I was running 4 shops in the city centre of Nairobi. Those people who have lived in Nairobi may remember it was called Government Road. It is one of the greatest achievements to have shops on this road. It is as good as saying that we had 4 shops running on Oxford street in the modern times. That was not enough! I decided to go for industry. I decided to start an industry of metal tins. I decided to make metal tins like Coca Cola, filling juices or fruits and particularly supply to Thika. This is how I went for a trip to UK, Germany, USA and Canada to look for the machinery. We found out the machine was very expensive. It was difficult to start in the industry of metal tins. And that’s how the company was registering under metal tins. I did not give up because I made up my mind to go for the industry. When we came back, somebody told us that there is an industry for sale for manufacturing of plastic, which is going to be manufacturing of crates, so we decided to go for it. We were told it will cost 16 lakhs at that time and as it was a reasonable amount. We made an enquiry that we were interested that’s when we were told that the company is no longer for sale. I would not like to really boast but a thought came into my mind that it was for sale now it is not for sale so what could be the reason? Why don’t we meet them? Thinking about it now, what would you think if somebody tells you that is it is not for sale. Straight away anybody would say, since it is not for sale, let’s try to look for something else. But it’s only me who thought about going to talk to the sellers and identifying the reasons for not selling. My father in law Bhagwanji bhai, had given me a very small advice, that is stuck in my mind and that’s what I try and apply everywhere. He’s point was if we just moves around and don’t do anything you will not get anywhere, till you start something and that’s the time when you will get somewhere. Secondly, he said “Have a very big vision”, don’t think small. Just to give an example, somebody might think 500 square feet is enough for me and there’s what their start with and then in six months’ time the 500 square feet is not enough but they can’t do any more expansion because there is no enough space. So on those ground when we started this factory, I thought of getting 3 plots of 3 acres each which is nine acres, nobody would ever dream that you can have such a big piece of land and that’s the thought that came into my mind because of my father-in-law. Going back to the discussion with the people selling the plastic industry. I was always told if you want to start, get on with it, otherwise you will not get anywhere. Hence, I arranged a meeting with the people selling the machinery. The meeting was arranged at Boulevard Hotel. We met in the evening, and the discussions started with, saying that I understand you want to sell the machinery or the machine, which is 16 lakhs and they said it is not 16lakhs it’s 25lakhs. The point was, because we had that encouragement from my father in law we got to start somewhere. I started negotiating a good price with them. Within five minutes we met in the middle and agreed to 21 lakhs. To tell anybody that it takes only five minutes to negotiate for a factory and then you make a decision is over and done with is difficult, but this is then coming because of my father in law, which has moved us forward. The existing machine of this plastic was on Kampala Road on an industrial area which was in part of their own compound, where we were running this factory and where we started. We were supposed to look for our own place and that’s when we purchased nine acres of land located further on Lunga Lunga Road. We had to build a new building at a location where there were hardly any roads leading to the location, no electricity, no gas, no sewage connection going there. I would like to ask it the modern generation, would anybody think of taking a risk or going in a place where there are no facilities, you do not have experience you do not have the money and starting a plastic factory? The answer will be definitely No, nobody would think on those grounds. It must be surprising but only had that courage and positive mind that I’m going to succeed and I’m going to make it. Without the road, we struggled a lot and getting cement was very difficult. We had to use influence from Mombasa to contract to bring 40 tons of. We would use 20 tons for ourselves and 20 tons for himself. That’s how we got the building built. We did not have electricity once the building was built. We got generators to try to fix some doors and other machineries. Additionally, there was no sewage connection for the toilets. Somebody suggested for us to dig a hole and get a metal tank, which is normally you get it from the petrol station, it is worn out and they normally want to throw it away. We bought it for 3,000 shillings. We put the tank into the hole and set up the sewage connections and the toilets were now in service. Somebody came up to us and said that the tank will get filled up within two months’ time. What are you going to do after two months’ time? The important part was at least for two months, we are safe. Now, we will look into it in two months’ time. In the meantime, we were trying to find a better alternative to this concern. Somebody gave us an idea to make several holes in the tanks so that the water gets absorbed into the ground so the tank can last longer without any problem. The important part is that move forward, rather than putting problem first and continue with complaining about the problems, get on with it, and that’s how things had been happening. After one machine was bought for Kenpolly that the time we were building a new factory we needed more machines. We came to UK and found out that these machines can be purchased from anywhere else at a much cheaper price. We got an opportunity to learn a lot from this machine. We gradually built contacts with manufacturers in Sheffield and the secondhand machines. We went to Germany to buy secondhand machines. It was very surprising to ask the question, if there are an industry and we are buying secondhand machines then why are they selling the machinery? This is when I found out, that the company moves forward with modern technology. In four years’, time, the machine gets replaced, the machine still works but new machinery has better productivity. Additionally, the cost of the Labor becomes less, and the times is more efficient. The machine uses reduced electric power and becomes more economical. Due to our situation in Kenya, we were happy to purchase a slower machine even if it consumes more electricity still that was fine as the price was much, much cheaper. I designed the factory myself. I did the architectural scale drawing on a squared sheeted paper. I planned that the office block should be at the front and there should be the car park and after that there would be three halls. I left extra space empty at the rear for the future extension so that the existing building does not get disrupted. It was design in a way that the raw material enter the premises from one end of factory exit at the other end. I organized to manage the staff. To manage the payroll, I tried to get them on the Kalamazoo system, three or four other systems in place. I designed my own system, choosing the best from all without any education without any experience without going to university and purely practical. A transformer is required in the factory. Straightaway I planned to install one transformer but in future we might require additional transformers hence we allocated extra space next to the existing transformer. For electric supply, we fitted additional pipes for cables so that we don’t have to go and do it again after many years. That was again forward thinking is what was suggested by my father in law, but he had not gone into the details, telling us about each and everything, how you deal with. But it is understood that when you apply the formula you apply it everywhere. That’s what you will see in my whole life. That’s what I am trying to do. I have not learned anything about marketing, everything that came to my mind, I try to put it in practice and that becomes marketing. There was once upon a time, a truck that was being loaded, and I could see from far away that there was a bundle at the top of the truck fell down and straight away I thought that whole of the bundle, the plastic basins must be all broken into pieces. I went and checked, and I couldn’t see any sort of damage in any of the plastic basins. That’s when I told the staff, can you give me a measuring tape I would like to see what was the height and till today when I still remember it was 12.5 feet so I started marketing saying that you can throw our basins from 12.5 feet, and you will see none of the basins are going to be damaged. Another experience was we were travelling in a car, and I saw my basins sold on the side of the markets on the road. The color of our basins (green color) was very distinct and we know it has been manufactured by us because from the color we can make out that particular shade of green. In the market, there was other companies (our competitors) basins next to our basin and we could see that their color has become faded. This gave me an idea that we can talk to our shopkeepers from where we supply that goods that our basins are of good quality and the color will not fade out compared to our competitors. During those years it was very common for me to travel upcountry once in a month for trading. I hardly used to take orders from the shopkeepers. Most of the sales were done upcountry as I would communicate with the people well and try and understood what they need. The shopkeepers used to get upset with me as I would just order things for them, did not even talk to them but soon after that they would say, Can I have some more of those buckets, basins and the mug cups. It was a good relationship and faith built between customers and me. I did not have to scream and shout that I need my money back when I went for collection. In situations where the shop keepers did not have enough money, I would say it’s not a problem, I’ll come and collect the money next time. While I was in town, somebody would look for me once they have got the money to give. At the age of 30, I got my last child Sheena. As we normally say that a girl is the form of goddess Laxmi, I was very excited. In 1980 I changed my name from Sobhagchandra to Sobhag. The reason was, the name Sobhagchandra was confusing for me, was is Chand or Chandra. People might write is as two separate names as well as I got rid of Chandra part of it by deed poll. During 1980 at the age of 30, while running the factory, I wanted to do expansion, expansion and expansion. I travel from Kenya to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi up to Zahir and had to come back. At that time, it was difficult times to travel but at home I could tell that I’m going to Kisumu and I had gone to these countries. While I was in Uganda, I went with Bhatt of Africa Samachar and Amubhai of Globe cinema. Three of us traveled by car to the following countries. In Uganda, I formed a company named Ken Poly Uganda Limited which never took off, but there was intention of starting the plastic there. In 1982, I recall that I went to far East for 6 days. I travelled from Nairobi, to Bombay and from Bombay to far East, and then coming back. We spent one day in Hong Kong to buy machines. And I had negotiated 27 machines at one go within one day. I knew exactly the detail requirement of the machine such as type of machine, size, capacity and other items to be manufactured in those sorts of machines. This is all coming from practical experience, it’s not coming from any university, nor coming from any education what I had or the background or help from anybody else. A few years later, the intention was to start another industry instead of hard plastic like beer crates, toilet seats, basins, and thermos. The company was named Packaging Industries Ltd, in short PIL. We would manufacture plastic bags, carrier bags, bread bags, wrapping bags and milk containers. It was a polythin company. We got the name registered Packaging Industries Limited, in short it was called PIL. We found out there was an existing, longstanding and well-established factory named Meta Plastics limited, which was under receivership. We decided to bid for it and luckily we managed to get it. The Meta Plastic was situated on Funzi road in the industrial area. We had some more licenses to get some more machines. After a month we decided to expand. It was planned that we two partners would go to Italy to get some more machines. While we were at the airport, we heard the news that our factory is on fire. We had to cancel the trip and immediately make our way to the factory. At 2 o’clock in the morning four of us were standing opposite to the factory and we could see the factory burning into ashes. In the morning we realized, all the machinery was gone all the raw material was gone. The building was gone. And everything was gone. It was all ashes. That’s the time I told my three partners who were crying, that tomorrow we will have to decide are we going ahead with it or are we going to forget about it. Next morning the insurance people came in to have a look at the factory. I remember one of the insurance guys told me that you must be very lucky your factory has been burned down. And I got very upset on him that how can I be lucky if my factory is burnt down. I will tell you later on what he meant by this. Finally, we decided that we are going ahead with the factory. Since we had the license for the machinery, we just needed to find a suitable place. We found a readymade place off Lunga Lunga where a few Godowns were already built. We needed to get a building and purchase more machineries and restart the factory. After 9 months we were settled at the new premises with the new machinery, everything new. And it started in, in a very nice way compared with all the old machinery we previously had. With the old machineries we were always worried about the efficiency and productivity such as slow speed or breaking down. With the new machinery, they worked very well we knew exactly how much production we expected, and the qualities expected. For example, if there is a bundle of hundred, it could be 100 exactly and not 99. All the customers were very happy with the quality and the delivery. Within no time we built up our relationships and reputation with our customers without any problem. In a year or so of running the new factory, there was situation where we were four partners and we were not able to continue because of difference of opinion. We had to decide to either take it over or leave. It just happened to be that we had to take it over. The two partners were asked to leave and replaced by my own family. I involved my father, my brother Navin, and my nephew Mahesh. With my support and my experience from Kenpoly, it would be easier for them to come and settle here. In May 1986, was the time we bought the Lavington property. Again, this property was negotiated or discussed within a couple of hours and it was just decided and confirmed. And we went on with it. It was one of the best properties in our community. It had 5-7 in-suit bedrooms. It had a swimming pool, garden and river at the bottom. It was a quick negotiation, we did not take few days to think over and decide what to do, it was done there and then it’s over and done with.

Move to the UK

On 2nd July 1989, I left, Kenya permanently to come and settle in UK. And that was a decision made after 54 previous trips from Kenya to UK. Sobhag Haria life story Part 2 – Now in UK On 2nd July 1989
I came to the UK from Kenya. I had a home in Southend-On-Sea. It was a bungalow of two bedrooms. From the time I shifted to the UK, I was keen to do something in the UK. If I stayed at home, I would not do anything hence to start, I decided to get an office. The aim of getting the office was that I can give anybody a visiting card to come by, I can dress up and go to the office. I would like to give advice to anybody to do the same thing because if you’re not careful about these things yourself, there is a good possibility that you will end up having a late night watching movies as there’s nothing more in the morning for you to do so you sleep until 2pm. If someone calls you at 12 o’clock, you will be sleeping, and the person will stop calling. This is when I decided that it should be very disciplined. I started looking for renting an office. It was initially a bit difficult to get it. I found out that the lease was different. Some offices needed to be renovated, which was a long procedure, because everything was new for me coming from Kenya, I did not know how the system works. Finally, I think I came to a stage where, there was offices in a building, five or seven offices each and every room was converted to an office. Downstairs, would be a secretary, and there will be a coffee machine. There was an Office Admin set room, whereby there’s a desk, there’s a chair. And there’s a telephone line, depending on how much usage of telephone you have to pay it at the end of the month, and you have to give a one-month notice and that becomes easier. It becomes much easier as there’s no investment, no furniture to be looked into. You can come to the office with your files and your laptop and get started. I started going to the office, got the cards printed in my name that included my South end on sea address on the card. When someone asks me what I am doing, I would say I’m going to the office, I’m reading the newspaper and drinking coffee. One day, one of my friends wanted to go to visit his nursing home, as he had some decorations to be done in one of the bedrooms at the weekend so a client would be able to come the following week for the admission. They asked me if I could join them, which I thought was a good idea. When we visited the nursing home, I thought it was very interesting. After the visit, we went to the manager’s office we had discussions. On our way back to Southend-On-Sea from there I asked that person that maybe I would be interested in starting this type of business. I knew that it would be difficult for me to start on my own so I asked that person If he would be interested in being in partnership and he said he would be. I waited for two weeks for his response, but I did not get any response. I came to the conclusion that he was not interested. As I had seen the nursing home, I started making enquiries of how I can start the business of nursing homes. Somebody suggested for me to purchase Daltons weekly which is printed every Thursday. It includes adverts which I started to follow. I took a keen interest of the procedure required to start the business, number of beds, the fees, the income, the profit expected, repayments, and the calculation for the loan. I then started taking appointments to visit different nursing homes, showing that we are extremely interested. I did not have the slightest idea what goes in a nursing home. The very first nursing home I went to, I did not have any questions to ask as I did not have the slightest idea what to ask, or what was expected. It just happened to be in the first nursing home they showed me how the laundry is being done. That when I realized that we are required to do the laundry. I observed how they did the laundry and how they distribute the resident’s clothes. I was told that the clothes were kept in the plastic trays which go to their bedrooms. The next day I had another appointment, they did not talk about the laundry, but now that I became more intelligent, I knew about the laundry so I would ask them how would you do your laundry. That’s the only question I could ask. Secondly, they gave me all the account of last three years. I was not aware that we would need an account for three years and that’s where I learn. Overall, I visited about 40 nursing homes, one by one, everyone gave me different opinions and different ideas. This is how I practically learned by visiting the nursing homes, talking to people about the nursing homes and learning the process of how it works. I had knowledge of accounts, so it was difficult to understand the figures of the nursing homes as I was unsure how the business was running. When I tried to talk to the bank manager about the poor figures, he agreed that it’s difficult to do this business. Sometime later, I got an offer. There were three nursing homes to be sold by one party, which was based up north. There were located in Liverpool Manchester, and Wigan. According to the figures, I thought they were adequate hence I made the decision to purchase three of them. It might be surprising for people these days. Everybody is asking me the question of why I bought 3 nursing homes. Normally a person would start with one. My thought at that particular time was that I have one car and if I visit one nursing home then why not three. I don’t need three cars so proportionate wise; it will be much less burden in each nursing home if I was running three at one go. If I had a secretary and a computer, whether the secretary looks after one nursing home or the accounts of three nursing home, it would be the same hence financially it becomes more economical to go for three rather than just going for one. I know it’s very difficult for anybody to accept my thinking. Now when I try to recall 2nd July 1889, I came to UK and on 26th of August 1989, I signed a contract for three nursing homes. It makes me feel it’s hardly two months, in two months I signed a contract of a business without any knowledge, without having the proper finance without anything, I decided on that. I had signed a contract on 26th August on the condition that I was liable for 10% of the deposit and 90% I would get the loan. That’s what I was told by a broker and that was all acceptable by me. In Kenya, we don’t know what a broker is. The way the broker communicated with me, I thought he was helping me. I later found out that the broker works for commission. I did not have the slightest knowledge that it would be. It was becoming very difficult for the broker to get the 90% loan. He would not say that it is not possible to get the loan. He told me that he’s trying, he’s getting another person, another bank is getting a better rate, and I should not get involved myself or else it would be a big problem. Hence, I to stayed out of it. It was sort of a catch 22 situation. Finally, I realized it’s going to be difficult for this broker to get a loan for me of 90%. Luckily, I started working on my own and I tried to find out the procedure. I found out that if I pay about 20% as a deposit, I should be able to get a loan of 80%. I finally had to do it on my own, but I was getting reluctant from this person as well because at the end of the day, he was only interested in his commission. If things had gone wrong by that time, I could have lost 10% of the total value, which would have been a lot of money at that time. Before I even started the business, I would have made a loss before starting the business and I could have gone bankrupt in other words. After the signing of the agreement I had four months to start taking over of the nursing homes and it was planned that in January 1990, I would take over the position of Manchester nursing home, February would take over the position of Liverpool, and Wigan nursing home was still under construction so it would be expected to be complete in December of 1990. I had some breathing space for me to learn about how things were working. In the evening, I would have a stopover at the Wigan nursing home which was under construction during that time to find out what happened during the day. I would get information from the security guard based there about what happened during the day. For Manchester, and Liverpool, I took over the existing staff. This made it much easier that I don’t have to look into the new staff. In terms of Wigan, I had to start looking for new staff. It was originally supposed to be 56 beds, but then I did my own planning and found out that we can to 62 beds. At this point we finally came to the registration of 62 beds. I started looking for a manager which used to be called matron during those times, then looking for a secretary. Initially, when I started looking for the secretary, I found out that secretary had worked as a personal assistant. I did not know what a personal assistant was. When I finished the interview, I thought that person could do the job and I thought I can employ that person. Before she could take over the job, she told me that she would like to interview me because she could work better with me. She wanted to know what I am, what are my interests, what am I planning to do, hobbies and my lifestyle. That’s the first time I had the experience. Luckily, I got the personal assistant as a secretary, as one of my staff and second person I got the manager before starting the nursing home. They both helped me in taking over the Wigan nursing home building, and start of the home. We had prepared a list of items pending to complete consisted of 76 pages. After one week, we were told it was done, on checking find 36 pages still remained. This went on couple of weeks and finally 7 pages left. Both parties agreed to let it go. Finally, three of us working together we started the nursing home, and it happened to be the best nursing home setup, starting from scratch. Within three months’ time it was almost full. That was very quickly. And we had a very good reputation for that particular nursing home that was the biggest advantage. During early times meetings would go on till night. That’s the time when I start looking for bed and breakfast. I could not get any place to stay so a few times I had to sleep in the car and that’s how the life was at that time. I think that was more or less the beginning of the mobile phones. I managed to get a large size of Ericsson phone, compared with today’s, but very posh at the time. I got cordless wiring to be able to speak while driving fitted in my red Mercedes. In June 1990.

Life begins at 40

I was 40. At that time, we had a big celebration of my birthday. At Sapna restaurant in Sudbury. It doesn’t exist anymore. The whole restaurant was rented by us and it was a big celebration. Even in the topic of purchasing these nursing home businesses you may find it most surprising that without any knowledge, without any background, without any idea how to run a place, how to do that business. I still went into it and did it. The same formula applies with the previous business I had, with the factory and the shops. It would be very difficult for anybody to think how you can start a business like that but that’s what I’ve done each and every business is like that. I bought two properties and brought it in more in the same manner as well. When it comes to buying a car if I go looking for a car, I make sure I purchase a car and come back home with the one. I have learnt from my early days to make quick decisions about everything. Nobody can guarantee the price and we cannot be 100% sure of that but the most important part is that you got to be about 90% sure of that and you can take a gamble of 10% and make a decision based on that. That is a formula I always used. For example, when we go and buy a car, somebody would say £10,000. You have to start thinking, I’m sure, it must be worth minimum £9,000. If it’s £9000 it’s okay you can take the risk of £1000, somebody might come up and tell you have been conned, this was £9000, you have paid £10,000 no problem is fine. You can take that much risk. That’s a formula, but it should not be the other way around. If some car is worth 1000 pound and you will pay 10,000 pounds. That means you are taking 90% risk. All this time I was more or less based at the nursing home. Only for the weekend I used to come to London and going back on a Sunday night, or Monday morning. That was the life! and gradually and gradually once I was getting used to at the nursing home, less time was required so I start thinking of starting an office here in London. In those days, I started looking for a place and found a place in North Harrow, where I started office with two rooms. This is the time I employed Sandeep to work for me. He had been more or less, graduated at that particular time being an accountant. In the rented office in North Harrow, the previous tenant must be doing business of some furniture or something of that nature, so they had white boards which was 8’x4’ fixed on the wall. I had never thought of it but I started making very good use of it by sitting in an office, while I’m talking to anybody on the phone, and straight away I could see what was written on the board. I had a plan for the month of January February March up to December. Within that planning it will tell me when my MOT is due for my car and when the road tax is due. On the19th of the month, I am supposed to pay the tax, the payee. That gave me a lot of ideas as It was all in front of me as a reminder compared with the modern technology what we can talk about it is in a computer but in a computer, who would remind you to go on a computer. I still find it is very difficult and that was the most practical thing I can say that, even today. I missed that particular board. I’ve practiced it in so many places, in hospitals with a lot of people as well. To make a successful plan, put it on a board and it will work. That’s again my formula. How would I remember car due for MOT, next instalment to be paid? If it’s written in front of you, it becomes less on your mind to carry. Next month this is January is fine coming February date is what is expected. On 4th May 1991, I rented a house in Hatch end at 2 Oak Mead. That was just to get a feel of the area before making a decision whether to buy the property or not, in that area. That helped to make a decision that on 31st March 1992 we bought the property called Kennedy close. Kennedy close has been always very lucky for me as a great home. There are plenty of friends and visitors coming to visit and it has been very good memories of all these years since then. On the 15th June 1993, we did the official opening of the extension of the Liverpool home, which was 48 beds, extended to 60. For the official opening, we had all of our friends and relatives from London to show them the nursing home and we went on a river boat. The mayor was invited, and it was a big function. In December 1993 I started Sheena’s restaurant. The restaurant was started as a hobby but unfortunately it didn’t last long but the important part was that it was a unique restaurant. That food was served in a completely different style, the drinks were unique and that is how it was all connected with as a hobby. On top flour of the Edgware property, my office and the middle floor was for friends get together and that’s how we started the Thursday club. Idea of Thursday Club came on inviting 52 couples to come for the house warming of Kennedy Close, almost all of them attended. I realized that we need something of this sort to get together particularly people who have come from Kenya to get used to this environment in the UK. On those grounds, it was decided we would start a club, which I offered to friends of ours and that’s how the club started. There was no charge for it. Within our own friend there were people who were able to do the cooking and we do the cleaning, so it was easy to maintain. At the same time, we could invite a lot of guests, and it made it very lively for all of us, it went on for a few years without any problem till I thought of selling the property. On 12th May 1996, I bought a flat in Bombay, which was one bedroom flat, with a hall and a kitchen with the intention that it could be used by all the family members from Kenya or London. I think the first trip was done by my sister Bena, my father. I recall later that even my father-in-law had visited. Being a small place, we were making use of the kitchen as a bedroom at night and we would ask my father-in-law to sleep in the kitchen. It was a very good part and experience talking about staying in five-star hotels and then coming to this part of the living was the best thing. On 21st of August 1995, my cousin Kantibhai and his wife Laxmibhabhi came from India. During that time it was his birthday, we had organized a party with food on a boat on river Thames. While the boat was moving around, we would have dinner, music and dancing as well at the same time. This was something new at that time.

Bit Personal

This is a bit, personal, but on the 9th September 2000, I met Anju and within 15 minutes I made a decision to get married to her. As far as I’m concerned it was only five minutes, but she is claiming is not five it should be 15. From 9th of September till 9th December was the time. We had to plan to go to Kenya, Zanzibar, to meet my in-law’s, to get their blessings and invite them to attend the wedding. I had the intention for in laws to get settled in UK. On 26th of November 2000, they arrived from Zanzibar both, and did not have to go back to Zanzibar and they’ve been settled in the UK since then. Sushma and Rajesh were not able to make it for the wedding because of the delay in getting the visas so they arrived on the 22 December 2000. Around April 2004 I was suffering from lower back problems and I visited the specialist and was told it needs to be operated. I think at that particular time also I had the intention of visiting Kenya. I was on crutches at that time and I decided that we go to Kenya before I get operated. The intention was of going to Makindu to eat paratha, arad ni daal, athanu, peaches, plums and pears that you do not normally get into Kenya. Having the feeling of Nakuru, Jalaram mandir. As soon as we landed in Nairobi, the plan was to go to Mombasa but not in a plane. The reason was to have a stopover in Makindu to enjoy and the same thing applies with Nakuru to Kisumu. On the 25th of April 2004, I had my spine operation L4 and L5 at Bupa Hospital in Bushy by Dr. Sullivan. It was decided to bring Anju’s sister Sushma in this country, with their family (Nidhi, Bhavi and Rajesh) and then we got the work permit for Rajesh to come and settle in the UK, and on 14th of January 2005, we managed to get a Work Permit for Rajesh. 18th of December 2003 was when Anju and I took Papa and Mummy to Mumbai, and we stayed at our one bedroom flat in Ashoka. We had a meeting with my relatives in Mumbai. We travelled to Rajkot and Jamnagar to meet Papa and Mummy’s relatives in Rajkot. We had organized a gathering at Kaveri Hotel. This is the time all Papas and mummy’s relative came to meet them in Rajkot. This was our first occasion that was very nicely organized. The food at Kaveri hotel was the best. We made sure they caterer from afternoon till evening. They served tea at 4 o’clock for all the guest. We had organised with a photographer to captured photographs and instructed to made 4 sets of albums. On 02nd February 2005 we purchased the new flat in the Bombay in Varsova and we got a possession on 24th of February 2005 which was on Sheena’s birthday. It is almost 15 years now so we have been enjoying this flat for 15 years and prior to that it was the flat in Ashoka building, which was one bedroom flat so indirectly for 26 years we have been enjoying the facilities in India, with a driver, and with a car. It was kept all these years for our family, whether they go from Kenya, or whether they go from UK and in some case, it has been with friends as well. Mostly used for relaxation, Shopping for grown up children’s weddings, medical treatments, stop overs. We can guide where to do the shopping, medical checkups treatments. 09th of May 2005, Sushma, Bhavi and Nidhi came from Nairobi to join with Rajesh and settle in UK. On 10th of December 2005, Anju, Vrush, Shanil, Sushma, Rajesh, Bhavi, Nidhi and I went on a trip to India, particularly Gujarat. We planned to visit Sarsangir and live in a tent and visited the National Park then we visited to Jamnagar. During the trip of the National Park we came across the tribe Habsi that have been living in India for last 600 years, speaking Gujarati, originally from Kenya. Nidhi at that time was very young and it was memorable experience for her. The second experience while we were at the National Park, we went in a Jeep early in the morning at 5:30am to see the animals. We saw six lions at one go and we could see after that 2 of the wardens in green uniform were walking alongside with the lions. This may be something new for majority of the people to understand. The same thing applies with Habsi living in India for so many years and they’re identical to Kenyan people, but they speak Gujarati language. Luckily, we got a chance of see, meet and talk to them. On 01st of January 2006, I took Anju, Vrush and Shanil with me to Kenya Nairobi and from Nairobi, we went on a trip Meru to show them my original. it just happened to be become very interesting for I’ve taken the video of Meru town which was new for me, I took all the pictures of all the shops around that as a reminder of how the setup changed since 1969 since we left Meru. We stayed at Rasik’s house. We had all the details about Meru. On 09 Sept 2006, we arranged a gathering on Meru people living in UK at KP Hall. During the gathering presented all this information, looking like exhibition. On the13th Of March 2006 we joined into a family trip to China with Baba bhai, Kanti bhai, Babu banevi, Bena, Vinuben, Sushiben, Lalubanevi, Kilu, Kirti, Dipak, approximately 70 passengers and 14 known and 20 relatives on a tour to China which become very interesting. Manisha is originally from Bombay; she had come to UK and she wanted to settle down and I tried to help her to get a work permit. From the work permit, she was given a task to look after my father in law. She started looking after my father in law and we built that relationship as if she was a daughter. The time had come where she found the right partner to get married. On the 26th April, Manisha got married in Bombay. We had the privilege of doing her Kanyadan. After that we have 5 more children taken as part of the family. On 9th of April 2006, we invited all the people that we went to China, at Kennedy close. it is always been most exciting part of life to see birth of the grandchildren and even if my two sons are in Kenya but their children are born in UK in our presence that has given us the most exciting experience. Shrey, Pasha, Tanya and Khian were born in London and we had the privilege to be present. Sheena’s two daughters Samara and Sanaya, they are born here and that was a great excitement. Vrush’s daughter Khiana which was a big excitement. All 7 of the grandchildren were born in our presence has been the biggest excitement. The end of December 2007. This was a trip to India again. This time, we visited India and Papa, and mummy had gone earlier. Vrush and Shanil joined us on 17th of December 2007. We stayed in Bombay then we went to Rajkot and Jamnagar where we stayed at Jyoti Ben’s house. We had organized a gathering in Rajkot similar to what we had done previously at Kaveri but this time it was at Imperial Hotel to meet the relatives. It was a very nice occasion of meeting with relatives for the purpose. In this trip, with the help of Hakubhai, we managed to go to Momaimora in Vagad district. This is our place of Kurdevi in Kutch. On 4th January 2008, I changed my name from Sobhag Shah to Sobhag Haria through dead poll. The reason for the change in the name was because I found out Shah is not out original name and it is an adopted name. All our relatives in India are originally called by the name of Haria so I decided to get back to my original name of Haria. On 22nd August 2008, staff from the nursing homes coming from Liverpool and Wigan were invited to visit London for the bank holiday weekend (4 days and 3 nights). An organised plan was made. We invited all of them home for a certain number of hours to see how roti is made and inform them about the different types of bread we have. We took them to VB and sons, Sunrup and Kingsbury to show them the Indian type of vegetables. We also took them to the city to watch the play. On 3rd of Sept 2008, we were invited by Vonna to go and attend the wedding of Kristy (Vonna’s friend). We stayed at Vonna’s house in Romania. This was one of the exciting experiences that we flew to Romania at midnight. We hired a car to drive to the destination. The journey time was 6 hours. The navigation was not working, and we did not know the language however we made it. The next day we cooked vegetarian meals for ourselves and for everybody. We used the hired car for several purposes during the wedding like the car for the bride, going to the wine fields to get wine for the wedding and returning the left-over wines back to the farm. We went on a tour to Bracho. It was very exciting to drive the car on the left had side in the new place and strange country. On 5th November 2008 we went on a trip to Egypt, Cairo and Niles cruise. It was very exciting. We tried to help and encourage a lot of elderly people who came with us. We took several pictures of the tour. When we came back home, we invited all of them and made a CD of the pictures to give to them to share with their families. On 13th August 2009 was the 1st exhibition of Gandhi at KP Centre. All the materials were gathered lots of items of Gandhiji to be displayed at the exhibition. We did not like professional would, it was a trial and error process. With the help of Jay, all the layout and printing took place. At the end of the exhibition lots of people wanted to know the name of the person who created the exhibition. What motivated the creator of the exhibition? On 16th Oct 2009, it was the second exhibition. The previous exhibition was done on the 13th of August 2009 at KP centre. This time, we did exhibition at Oshwal Centre as it was a bigger and better place. We now knew more about how to organise the exhibition. I think at this time, there were a lot of people wanted to know why I thought of doing the exhibition, which I had not thought of it previously. It came in the newspaper at Garvi Gujarat and Gujarat Samachar. What initiated me to do the exhibition was the interest I had from my primary school, I then visiting India, and meeting the Gandhi family. Additionally, I wanted to share knowledge to people who are unaware of what India is, what is the size of India, the flag of India, and lots of other things connected with India. Around 27th of March 2010, we did the last exhibition at Sai School and that was requested by the Sai people as they wanted to encourage, the children from the Sai school that were going for Gujrati classes. At the same time, it could help other people who had missed out on the previous exhibitions. After doing these three exhibitions, we were confident of taking this exhibition abroad as well. To a certain extent the planning was to take it to my place where we were born in Kenya. Then it would be easier to take it to South Africa because there is a lot of links connected with us in South Africa. It would have been nice if it were connected from here to Kenya and from Kenya to South Africa on one trip. I had the knowledge of how to organise the exhibition, there was about one and a half tons of materials to be transported and we were prepared to take all that to Kenya. We had the volunteers in Kenya to get it organised and get the venue. Due to some technical reason we were not able to perform that and because the exhibition did not materialise in Kenya, the idea of going to South Africa got cancelled completely. It is sad. On 27th October 2009 Jiya was born. This relates to, we talked about, Manisha earlier, who came from India, and we made her part of our family. Her daughter was born so we became her Nana and Nanny for Jiya. It becomes our responsibility which we are happy to perform and take part during the birth of Jiya. Anju looked after Manisha, prior to the birth and we took part in baby showers. 11th of December 2009 Anju and me had a trip to India where we exhibited the family tree at Dadar wadi. We were so fortunate to meet Nilamben (Gandhi’s great granddaughter) (Mohandas’s eldest son Harilal’s daughter Rami’s daughter) and Yogendra Parikh (her husband). We invited them to our apartment in Mumbai. Anju prepared lunch for both, and we took some pictures as well. On this trip we met with Tushar Gandhi (Mohandas second son Manilal’s son Arun’s son) at his house in Mumbai. On 23rd of December 2009 we visited Mani Bhavan and that is the time we met another granddaughter of Gandhi by the name of Ushaben. Ushaben is a daughter of Ramdas Gandhi (Mohandas’s third son). On 24 December 2009 we travelled with Jayshreeben and others to Puna. This time we visited Kasturbaa’s Samadhi. It was an important trip to meet all the famous people from the Gandhiji’s family. In this trip we visited Aurangabad, looks like Taj Mahal, and we also visited Elora World Heritage Site of 34 caves, going back to fifth century, showing of Hindu, Jain and Buddhism. On 30th of March 2010, Anju and I travelled to Mumbai. This was a special trip, both exciting but very upsetting at the same time. The trip included Anju, Vrush, Shanil, Vonna, Roxy (Vonna’s daughter), Divya, Fagu and Harin from UK. Chandni & her mum from Dar. In this trip it was really exciting to be with family and friends big group. We visited interesting places in Mumbai. During the tour of the city, we sat in a Horse-Drawn Carriage, unfortunately the carriage tumbled, and Anju was critical. She was admitted in the “Bombay Hospital” where it was found five ribs and collarbone broken.

60th Borthday celebrations

On the 28th of June 2010, we celebrated my 60th birthday. It was a grand birthday that took place at “Langley”, Watford. All the planning was done by Anju and Sheena together. It was extremely different, exclusive and quite a few people from abroad had attended. Deepa and Hiten, Shailesh and Deepa, Kanti Haria, Chandrakant from Nairobi, Rakesh and Rupa from Rajkot, friends from Thursday club, Club 25, Nursing Home Management Staff, Solicitors, Accountants, relatives and friends. On 1st August 2010 It was slightly unfortunate that Papa, Mummy, Vrush and Shanil shifted to 4 and 12 Greyholme Court. Soon after on the 1st Sep 2010 Khyati and Chandni moved to harrow and Wealdstone. On 9 October 2010 Anju and I shifted into Regents court. This is how our family separated and we started living more or less independently. It is very surprising and totally debatable. There were advantages or disadvantages for what happened, but we will take it in a very positive way that’s the only way of looking at it. It is very unfortunate on 12th of March 2011, Anju’s sister, Fagu passed away. This was the biggest loss we had in the family. She was really the pillar of the family. That is the way I look at it. Unfortunate for us on 19th of June 2011; Khyati finished her studies and moved back to Dar-es-Salam. It is better for her future but as far as we are concerned, we definitely missed her as she lived in the same house with us. She became closer to us, and she has gone a bit too far away from us. Even if you are in contact with her but it is not the same. On eighth of November 2011, we were privileged to attend Kanti Haria’s 70th birthday celebration for two nights and three days in a resort out of Mumbai. On 9th of December 2011 we celebrated Anju’s birthday. We hired a limo to the city for the family. It included Mummy, Sushma’s family, Jay’s family, Vijay’s family, Jeet, Manisha, Jiya and Chandni. Then we went for dinner at Port De Indus. Sheena had ordered a cake. On the 22nd of December 2011, it was one of the biggest days of joy for me, particularly because Nidhi, Bhavi, Sushma and Rajesh got their British citizenship. We attended and watched them being awarded certificates at Civic Centre in Harrow. It was the biggest joy as from the time they were in Kenya; the intention was to bring them over to improve their life. Particularly, starting from Bhavi and during that time Nidhi was not born. We were getting success at each and every step we took into making their life better and that was the joy for us that we are getting successful in what we are doing. Another similar joy was on 12th of July, 2012, that’s the time when Manisha got her citizenship. She has been more or less been in this country with our support. Her marriage and having a child. Now it’s the joy of her becoming a British citizenship. On 28th of September 2012 finally we managed to sell our most precious, loved, cared and remembered home, 1 Kennedy Close. This is not just what we talk about is all the people connected with us, friends, relatives all are connected with that particular home. One way it is sad thing that we had to let it go but something else which I have to mention to all the readers is that this was the most loved house by all. It was such a great home; it has got lots and lots of memories with everybody connected with it, being such a nice house, it was impossible to sell it for a long time. We tried quite a few different Estate Agents and we were not able to sell it. And the final Estate Agent who happens to be a good friend of ours straight away told us that we would never be able to sell this property because we got our minds and hearts put in it. You all are not letting it go. That is what it is, is very difficult to imagine these sorts of situations can arise. But this is our experience and he was being so blunt to us about this. And I think finally we had to abide by what he said that made sense and then decided to let it go and that is how we were able to sell it. Our wish was that the people who buy this property would be very happy. Person or a family who ever buy this property would have three to four generations living together, be as happy as what we were. That is the quote we would like to make. In this write up it would not be right if I do not mention about on 26th of November 2012, my Kaushik mama passed away. He was not just a mama; he was younger than me. How can a mama be younger than you but that is how it was but at the same time more than Mama was a great friend, great colleague we used to work together on a lot of things. He is really missed by us. Another tragedy again to add on 12th December 2012 Babu Banevi passed away at a very young age and really miss him as well. He was such a nice lovely jolly person. He is being missed a lot. On 15th of January 2014 It was nice to see Sheena and Sahil got possession of the Elstree property, it was beginning of their life in a new home. It was again a very good feeling as well to see the next generation coming up and settling down well. On 25th January 2018 we had placed order with Dips Caterers to make Motia and Dhosa Ladoos to take them to India this must be interesting for the readers that why do we have to take ladoos to India when people buy from there. This is what we want relatives and friends in India to taste what sort of quality we produce in UK. This is origin way of making from Kenya. They are with much less sugar, which gives the real taste of it. This was commented by all. On 27th of October 2018 Shanil, our son and his girlfriend Rekha wanted us to take them to Goa to show them or to be with them to Goa and at the same time show them around Bombay. It is normally expected from children of this age not to go on holidays with parents. On 22nd of December 2018 this was my long awaited dream of taking my family and particularly my wife to far-east and it turned out to be true that we planned to go to Thailand. On this trip that was me, Anju, Jay, Divya, Sushma, Mahir, Ansh, Nidhi and most surprising of all my Sasu too Kantaben,82 years of age. It was one of the most interesting trips for all of us. I had a lot of things to learn as well because I went there after ut 30 years. Very interesting about this trip was the floating markets, the train market, which is very important, if possible when you go to the picture part of it Don’t miss out on the train part how the train goes through the market which has become a tradition over a century. Long necked women in Chiang Mai. Bangkok, Pataya, Chiang Mai and Phuket we Thoroughly enjoyed. And there is an island which has few scenes from my favourite movie “Kahona Pyar Hai”. Hritik Roshan in it, which I watched that movie eight times On 26th of January 2019 just two days prior to that it just we decided to leave London to attend Praful’s birthday on 28th, to make it a 60th surprise, for four days, return on 29th. We took Praful and Shilabhabhi with us to Zanzibar stayed at Hotel Hideaway. Met with Mustafa for lunch and Chandni on Khyatis birthday, high tea at Jitals and at night we come back. Within four days we did all that. This is just one example of the different things that we do in this sort of manner. We are hungry of people and for people we will do anything. That is what it is. On 6th April 2019, Anju and I went to Mumbai. This trip was specially to assist Manumasa and their family to do Khusboo’s wedding shopping and at the same time taking them around Bombay. This is just one of the samples of what we are talking about this sort of situation has been dealt with lots and lots of families. Lots of people have got faith in Anju’s choice of shopping which she can help. She is very used to with Bombay, knowing the shops, the people around there and it becomes much easier for relatives or friends to stay all together in a flat in Bombay. This has been going on for the last 30 years, we have got a driver there to drive the eight-seater car which becomes very convenient. We try to find interests and the needs of each person. We have got a few mobiles to take away from here as well. That is how we make this trip successful and assist our relatives and friends. When it comes to Bombay as we are aware of the interesting places, we take the people from UK for a personal tour. We take them to the sandwich shop, Vada pau shop, Ram or Sham and Khichdi. This is the street food which people would not think of going on their own. You could be more surprised what is so important about McDonald’s, In India, it is all different. Then we take them to PVR theatre, which is completely a different theatre compared with UK. At the PVR theatre, you get a blanket, go to bed, and while eating/drinking you are watching a movie. In this trip, we took a Metro train to Ghatkopar. This gives them the idea of how good quality the trains in India are and how well maintained it has been since last five years. There is not a single piece of rubbish or garbage thrown on the platforms, or in the train and how nicely behaved people are giving a different impression of India, compared with what people have been told what India is. We give them a chance of going on a rikshaw. On 29th November 2019 till 8th of December 2019 we left London to Mumbai then Jamnagar to attend Raj and Rushina’s marriage. The marriage was a function of a few days which included Sagai, Hawaiian night, mendi, mandva, pithi, Ras Garba and the marriage. We took full part in the whole marriage and thoroughly enjoyed. And we try to do as much as possible connected with the marriage part of it. And it was very interesting. On 9th December during the same trip of India It was Anju’s birthday. So, it gave us a chance of celebrating birthday, at Ten One restaurant with Nilesh and Mamta and the whole family came to Mumbai. This gave a chance to celebrate with our Bombay family of about 45 to 50 people. To continue this trip, After Anju’s birthday on 9th so starting from 10th Nilesh, Mamta, Sonali, Raj and Rushina now. the newlywed couple we were all together It gave us a chance for four days five days to be together to show them around Mumbai again give us as usual that whoever comes with us to Mumbai who would like to take them around and we get a lot of pleasure out of that and hopefully they get the same as well. Just to end something special about this trip on 15th of December we came back from Mumbai to London and this time we made sure we brought pau bhaji in a thermos which was a request from Shanil. On 20th December 2019. This was second part of my dream because previous here we went to Thailand. This year it was decided to go to the Far East, which would cover, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bali. Ubud is one part of Bali. My dream since many years to take Anju too far east because I used to go there 30 years ago and I used to really like it and that was the intention to take her to far east and to make it even better. We were able to have Sushma, Jay and Divya joining us to make it even much better. We had a lovely time as all new for us. And we thoroughly enjoyed each day of this tour and that is going to be part of lifetime memories. On 19th January 2020. It was really a pleasure to celebrate Shanaya’s second birthday at Sheena’s house. Shanaya and Samara were dressed in pink and blue like princess. We captured beautiful picture, attended by the close relatives and it turned out to be a fantastic party. On 14th February, Anju, Divya, Ansh and I went on a trip to India. We did a lot during this trip. On the 4th to 18th we were joined by Krutin, Shilabhabhi, Rishi and Dher. We had a great time together to see things around Bombay. That is what it’s explained in the photographs. Second part of this interesting trip to India was that on 19th till 20th for two days, we planned and managed to go on a trip to Vadodara and from Vadodara to the Statue of Unity. It is the tallest statue in the world, and we got the privilege of seeing the statue. It was very nice that we were all together and we enjoyed it thoroughly. The last part of this trip was after seeing the statue of unity we came back to Bombay. From 21st till 23rd again three days we all spent together, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. On 24th of February 2020, we celebrated Sheena’s birthday at Elstree, it was enjoyable. June 2020 was supposed to be very important for me. I was turning 70. I had lots of surprises this year being a big birthday. It was expected that we would not be doing much during this birthday due to the lockdown, but it turned out to be a lot of things happen. On 20th of June, my birthday starts with a big surprise on zoom, which was organised by Anju, Manisha, Sheena, and the whole group. For the first time I can say, people from Kenya, Tanzania, India, and UK had gathered. On zoom we could see in the region of 70 to 80 families together connected. It was a big surprise for me. It was a programme organised by Manisha and her colleagues to celebrate with Bollywood music programme for two and a half hours, which I understand majority of the people thoroughly enjoyed it. The good part was that the whole programme has been recorded and somebody made a note that this birthday party or programme has become immortal. That was the first part of the birthday party. The second day of the celebration went on 21st of June, which was a Sunday. Half a day was spent with three granddaughters Shanaya, Samara, Khiana and Sheena as well at home. It was great. Shanaya and Samara had prepared a cake. In the afternoon. When we came home, we got another surprise when we entered the house. We could see a big cake in the lounge and there were lots of family members outside in the garden scattered due to social distancing. They had come to celebrate the birthday and it went on great with songs of birthday singing, cake and the grandchildren as well. The afternoon party was again a surprise party organised by Shanil. Rekha, Vrush and Dimple. It was really appreciated and very nicely set up and the good part was that the birthday was attended by Nilesh and Family. On 21st after midnight was another surprise, by having a birthday video clips of wishes from all my close family and friends. I have never seen things like this before. The birthday wishes coming through in one video. It happened to be at 12:30 so more or less, it was on my birthday itself. This was all organised by Ambasana family and is really appreciated. This was one of the biggest gifts I have received for my birthday and is much more appreciated. On the 22nd of June, 2020, being a Monday, that’s was my real birthday and as traditionally for many years on my birthday my Sasu would make Puran Puri for me with Bateta nu shak, Kadhi and rice and we would have this meal at home. This has happened this time, even despite being 70th birthday because we would not like to forget the tradition, and we would like to continue with that. The good part was that during lunchtime, Babubhai and Kanta Bhabhi joined us for lunch. They were so relaxed to be with us we could feel that we were sitting in a five-star hotel or a lounge and that is how we thoroughly enjoyed. In the Afternoon, quite a few friends and relatives came to visit us for a short while keeping social distancing as well. In the evening, we were invited by our Habari group. Five couples to visit one of our friend’s house to celebrate my birthday between 10 of us. That turned out to be nice as well. It was organised by Nila and Mahesh at their house. This is going to be the summary of my life. I was born in 1950. According to modern times, was very remote, but I have never felt it was a horrible life or the cheap life or the difficult life, but that’s what I’ve been born into so in that sport I really appreciate whatever the pose there at that time. This is what makes me feel that when it comes to this type of life, I will not lie on them or get upset on them and feel it is terrible. I will accept it. That is the good part. Very surprising during those times, my times my upbringing was very harsh on me. I do not know whether during those times, all the parents and the families looked at their children in that sort of manner or was it just me being very strict on my discipline. A lot of times I had been getting the corporal punishments which is completely different compared with the modern times, so I do not know where this was an advantage or disadvantage. I do not know about my situation at the time of birth and my upbringing, whether I was demoralised for which I was very shy person. It could be part even because of my mother passing away when I was very young. I continued being shy, for many years to come. The best part was when Babubhai my cousin who used to live with us, who got married to Kanta Bhabhi, she came into our house and that is the time when things started getting much, much better. As far as I’m concerned, I got somebody to talk to, feel free, listen to a person, take a bit of note of whatever I would be doing wrong, I should be a bit quieter should not hurt myself should not get upset on myself as well. This followed up by my brother getting married to Nimu. My sister in law Nimu was from a very nice family, very nice kind-hearted people that showed me a lot of ways of looking at life, which improved me as well. Some of these qualities are all coming from them. I went to a boarding school. I learnt that hardship, makes a person do more and more on their own initiative rather than being given on a silver spoon. People must do things on their own and they do not have any experience, in my case this is all what I have learned. By staying in a boarding school, I have learnt how to relate to a lot of people around you and how to live with all of them together, rather than just being on your own. It has made me very strong living in the boarding. During boarding times, I had to visit my relatives. As I said earlier, I was a very shy person. When I visit my relatives’ home, the parents of my relatives would ask me if I wanted to eat ice cream. I would say no because I was shy person. But I really wanted to eat ice cream, but I would say no. From this I have learnt now that I would never ask a child if they would like to eat ice cream, I would always ask which flavour they would like to have. If they wanted, vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate flavour. After finishing school, I joined my father’s shop. In the shop, it was needed to go for bookkeeping and typing classes. I went to New Era College, in Nairobi. I continued working at my father’s shop. Later we had been given a quiet notice to move from one place to another place. There are lots and lots of intense incidents in my life for that moment I would think it happened for the better. But in my case, those things have turned out to be better in life in time to come. Even if things were bad at that time. I do not know whether that would be applicable to each person that things go bad, and you would say that it happened to be better for you. Could it be that it was my nature that things went bad, but then I never looked at that badly and then we have something to move on to on those ground you get a better result and many would think that this was what has happened has happened for the better. I know there are quotes about listening is the best power somebody could have, and I think that is what I have got as well. I have got a habit of listening and at the end of the day after listening you use your own brain to decide what to take and what not to take. It is not necessarily to take everything when you listen, and you try to implement without thinking. The most important part is that you put your thoughts about it, but it is very important to listen to people. A lot of people would say who has been your hero. I can say there are a few people in my life who I would call them as my heroes. To start off with my motibaa who has been a hero. She died at the age of 93 but had the positive thoughts. At the age of 14 she was married, at the age of 16 she became a widow, and despite going through all this we would say it’s the most terrible life she must have had, but I could not see anything terrible in her. She always found smiling, she had a lot of things to do, she had to look after my father, then after she had Navin to look after, after that she had me to look after, then she had our children to look after and then she had our grandchildren to look after. She kept herself very busy involved in a family and doing things for the people. Till the last minute, being 93 she would make the orange juice and the sandwiches. Have you ever heard any old lady of those times thinking of in that sort of manner? And that is what I really must appreciate about her. The next person to be a hero in my life would be my father in law, Bhagwanji Hamraj. It is not that he would have given me lectures for hours and hours and days and days, but sometimes just only one sentence, which would make a lot of difference. The time when he came to know that we were looking for something to start for manufacturing, and we were not getting anywhere, his sentence was to start something, if we just gone moving, just like that and that in looking at the piece of papers, whatever it is, we will not get anywhere. And there is how it encouraged us to start the Kenpoly factory. So, the small sentence what he just said but it meant a lot to me, which was having a very big vision for the future, rather than just thinking of today. And that is how we bought big pieces of plots during those times and when it comes to putting transformer, we put a bigger size of transformers. Same thing applies even the rest of my life, I have always implemented a formula to think very big, including when I had to buy a nursing home, I bought three nursing homes at one go. One more thing, told by my father in law was look after your staff. That is your duty, and they will automatically look after you. And I always been proved that while I was running the factory, when I was running the shop, I looked after them and they really looked after me. And it’s very difficult to talk about the relationship between the employees and me, it was great, great relationship, and that relationship has still even continued today as well. From my very young days, I have noticed that I’ve been very good with children. I do not know but I am trying to realise it now. Could it be that I had a very tough and hardship life and, on those ground, I would like to be with children, and making sure that they do not go through hardships. To help them, to divert them, to put them on the right path and to give them the right directions as well. How to do that, I know that a long time back when we were in Kenya, there’s a time when it was something in my mind that to look after children my own children and just being with children was not good enough, because they would be bored with me being with me all the time so in those situations I made sure their friends are with them, and it could be about eight of those children, and had kept their minivan which was Nissan E20. I kept a piece of music on, and every Sunday I would spend all the time with them, take them to different places, and lots of times I was told that am I a teacher looking after all the students? But that is my interest, making sure how the children had been brought up. I always wanted children to learn things, they should be able to do things, not to be what you would call a silver spoon fed. No, they should be doing things practically like talking about teaching them how to swim. It was just in my mind that any new person who becomes my children’s friends would they be with them as well I would like to teach them to being streaming within one day. It isn’t that I was a qualified tutor. In those there was nothing like qualified tutor and we would just do things like that. I think there is a lot of difference between golden times and these times as well, that we have learned everything practically. After all these years when I think about during the time of the shop, I did a lot of new things on my own. Did I learn from somewhere? Did somebody else Teach me? No, none of these things were present. Did somebody else used to do it? did I copy it from somebody else? No, I never did anything like that. This was new things which I did on my own with my own thoughts. So, when I think about it, it has been completely new thoughts without having any education. I would like to put it in the modern times. I am an uneducated person and how did I manage to do a shop, running of a shop, accounting of the shops, doing different things within a shop and making into a multiple shop as well. I also when into an industry of manufacturing plastic. Do I any degree be any qualification in that? no qualification nothing. And starting from hardship from difficulties, bringing it up, not just surviving, but making to be one of the largest plastic industries. After that, starting another industry. Within one month it burnt down to ashes and starting it all over again and that also turning out to be one of the biggest industries as well. Talking about coming to UK as well, not having any idea in UK about the business about the people, how things would be settled, about the people’s employment, whatever it is. Starting 30 years back in 1989, in a nursing home business without any experience without any knowledge, talking about starting a Thursday club on my own, with my own thoughts as well. There was a time I used to join into the singles club as well, trying to help the single people out rather than some people may be thinking, it’s a most horrible thing, you had been going into a singles club. But that is not the case at that time again is how to help the singles. Talking about more recent years about making decisions on getting married to Anju within 15 minutes, making the decisions and we can see all the decisions made about buying the properties, buying the cars within 10-15 minutes making those decisions. So a lot of people would say Think carefully and take your time, before you make a decision, but most of these decisions not most I think almost all the decisions have been made, so quickly and I would still say that I have not gone wrong in making this decisions. Current situation is that I have got seven grandchildren, I would like to be with my grandchildren that is my best part of life. During many current years over a period of time, I’ve built relationships with the younger children as well, and converted them as part of my family, maybe have not yet got the exact word for it because as soon as I say, I have seven adopted children, sometimes it does not sound right because where is the legal adoption, where did you go to adopt them, it’s not I adopt in that sort of manner. It is somebody who is 15 years 17 years old coming for schooling and I meet them for a minute, only decide that can be that my child. Without thinking which cast, which is the background, what is a parent’s nothing thinking about anything I just take them as my children. Get them educated and get them married, doing their Kanyadan as well. This is not normal for people to do and I have been doing it and I get immense pleasure out of that. In my life materialistic things have never been important. Yes, they must be in my younger days, there was the gear to have a Mercedes car which I got, to get the sports car I got it. Talking about going into the big house the biggest house in Kenya, that is what I had. Here having a very, very big house as well that was the thing what we went through, but now the time has come since many years, none of this material things are important to me. The most important part is to have good relations with each and every person, and to be proud of that it is not that you have good relationships with only the people of your liking. No, you can have good relationships with a small child to an old person as well, whether it’s a male or a female, irrespective of which caste, where they are, which breed, they are, and still make good friends, and talk to them very nicely. And the good part about going into the nursing home again, it encourages us that what we would be doing, what is their life, compared with a live what we should be trying to do put it in practice as well, that whenever I go across town in the town with my wife, I would start chit chatting to an elderly person, and I would chat for 15 minutes once I finished my chat, my wife would ask who that person was and I would say I do not know who that person was. So, what were you chatting about? They are feeling nice that we have been talking to them, their support for what they need. But a lot of these things, a lot of people not even understand why we do things like that. This is all coming with experiences. There must be almost 100 families which have been assisted and settled in this country through me. In some cases, it’s a lot of assistance and guidance, even to them in some case it’s a small given to them, but it makes their life much better, or I would call them that they would have got settled in this country much easily through my help. Otherwise, they would have to struggle a bit more which is the best way of looking at it. it is not applying the formula that things have been given on their silver plate but giving them the right directions. That makes a person’s life to be much happier. Like for example, my formula is that it would take two years for somebody to settle down very well, but in my case I settle them down in one month’s time of getting things organised and what is needed. And those grounds I can expect them to enjoy their life for next 23 months without struggling. This type of nature of a person, where does it come from? I would definitely say that it comes from my father and my father in law. This is what I have been taught this what I have seen my father doing it. And my feeling again is that I have seen that is what is happening, not seeing being with him all the time. Visiting relatives, having a meal with them, having tea with them, calling them home as well, and settling all the family members with them and that is exactly what I have been doing. This no different. Because I’ve seen this my father doing it on those ground comes in me, and I practising it and that’s what I tried to do the same thing to apply to the rest of the family that’s how they would experience from me, and these things can be done in that sort of manner. I know there is a saying, leave for yourself. But, to me, the most important part is that you live for yourself. It is important, but at the same time, you make other people’s lives much better would give you immense satisfaction. Turning into Vegetarian. Around the age of 19 I started eating meat. Meat was not being eaten at home, so only while going out to restaurants. A time had come that I had tried almost all types of meat and at the same time I could differentiate between meats, not eating because of masala tasting nice. Around same time had calculated the quantity in one meal to be around 4 kg or 10Ib. Around 1995 at the age of 45 I gave up meat. I had realised at home we do not eat meat, when going out to a restaurant, if I eat meat and my partner does not means we have to order and eat different food. I realised, it’s not a right thing happening and If we have to be the same, it would not be right to ask the partner to start eating meat, it would be easier and better for me to give up. Once I gave up, I started realising lots of appreciation from people, trying to organise cooking for me, discussing menus etc. It also led to discussion of animal killing and it made me feel it was a right decision I made. From a large eater and fond of meat, I do not eat even eggs, unless they are in cakes or chocolates. This has been my personal choice and am proud of it. Turning into non-smoker. From the age of 19 I was a regular smoker, smoking around 8 cigarettes a day. I had discussion with my teacher on smoking, his explanation was taking a white handkerchief, blow the smoke out through it, see the mark it makes. This is the mark created by tar from smoke coming out, most tar must be stuck inside. Imagine with one puff, this is the result, with a one cigarette, in a day and in a year, it would be full of Tar. Around 1995 age of 45, I was a member of David Lloyd. Discussion with Trainer on giving up smoking. My reasoning was smoking controls my anger. On discussion it was found that it is in my mind but not true. It made me feel now no excuse to continue. On my trip to India, in Vrindavan garden I gave up smoking. Turning into Non-alcoholic. From the age of around 19, I started having only Beer only. Later part occasionally Gin & Tonic, Wine, Whiskey with water. In April 2005, at the age of 55 I gave up Alcohol, with my will power to support an alcoholic person to give up. Unfortunately, the person was unable to give up. Fortunate for me, that I gave up. Ever since no alcohol at all. Looking after Health for your own Benefit: Around 2007, I had medical check in Mumbai, The report indicated I am Diabetic, Hypertension and Doctor in Mumbai insisted I should reduce weight, and that was the solution. I was convinced and decided to act. Coming back to UK, went to see GP, Dietician. With their suggestion lost 7-8 Kgs, could see improvement on Diabetic and physically as well. It happened to be visiting Berlin at that time, bought New clothes, started looking smarter. In excitement gone back to old habits, put on weight again. February 2017 decided this time to reduce weight seriously. Joined Slimming World, Advise from Sheena, Some of my own, full support from Anju. This time lost 20 Kgs and seen the GP, No medication on Diabetic, Hypertension, No B12 Injections, No Iron Supplements. This time I have continued to keep weekly records and try to maintain. If it goes over by a Kilo, start action. It is being maintained for over 3years. Planner – Vision, in one of the paragraphs I have mentioned about a big white board 8’x4’ I miss. You got to have a plan. If there are no plans, it does not happen. My explanation: If you are not feeling well, common sense tells go and see your GP. You start the process to fix appointment, you get appointment for Wednesday 3.10pm. You write down somewhere, tell someone to remind you, take you. Come the day and time, you make sure to be there 10 minutes earlier. Similar situation, you are overweight, you are supposed to act, you do not plan, it does not happen. You may be talking about it for last 10 years, I assure another 10 years gone it will not happen. I was in discussion with a group of 12-year girls in Jamnagar. They told me in 15 days they are on vacation. I asked any plans for vacation? The answer was no. My comment, if you do not plan, vacation will be over, I will ask you a question, what did you do in your vacation? I know the answer now, that you did not do anything. So, they asked what can we plan? I gave them a list of things they can do, and how. First Item was, go and tell your mum I will start cooking on my first day of vacation. Your mum will refuse, you do not need to. Your response should be, Uncle from London had suggested and confirmed that if chapattis are burnt, he will come and eat them. SMART: This smart is not most people would imagine by wearing branded clothes, fancy sunglasses, driving posh cars, going to expensive hotels, restaurants and speaking stylish. This SMART stands for: S Be Specific M Measurable A Achievable R Realistic T Time I have always tried to practice these SMART meanings who would be clear in my communication with people and my belief is when we communicate, we should mean what we talk, otherwise what is the point. Most people would find out if people don’t mean something, what would be the point of continuing. May be due to this reason another point of mine comes into my nature. No gossips be positive, and work towards goals. Simplicity with Life and Happy with Basic living: From Above write you will make out that I had started with a very basic, simple life in my child hood, up to the age of 12, I always had two pairs of Khakhi shorts and 2 white short sleeved shirts. No more than these 4 pieces of clothing, one pair of stitched shoes, I mean it. At that time, I never felt like poor, deprived, complained. Those were the times. Anyone reading this would straight away jump to words mentioned above. During those times, I lost one shoe climbing a moving truck, I had to go without shoes. Still no complaints as I know it was my fault. Mealtimes were fixed. Meals were fixed, no choices. Were always hungry, lots of playing and physical exercises in the open, fresh air, climbing trees. Never wanted to miss a meal, never complained did not like food and wanted something else. As grew older and started working, at the age of 17, started knowing the value of money. Standards started rising with means available, still not complaining or comparing. Standards went extremely high to have the best cars, largest houses, travelling, shopping etc. Still no comparisons and not forgetting what we started with. This was the life in Kenya and continued here in UK, still having the title Sobhag, son of Raichand Virji of Meru (left Meru in 1969, 50 years ago). There has been no ego or showoff in life so far. Ambitions should be big, but still be happy of what you have. Now with downward life, change with times and situations, smaller car (easier to drive), smaller house (easy to look after), Simple clothes (comfortable). Still not complaining. Currently gone through Lock down of 3 months, still not complaining. There is a saying go with the flow, it is much easier to row downstream, compared with upstream. Life changes with age and you maintain the flow, be happy all the time in all the circumstances