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Sushma, Bhavini and Nidhi Gajjar

       Sobhag is my brother-in-law, married to my sister Anju. We had first met in Nairobi around 19 Oct 2000, when he had come Nairobi to sort out Anju’s home. He also went to Zanzibar to see my parents on 24 Oct 2000, to get their blessings and invite them to UK to join in their marriage during December 2000. Visa and arrangement were assured by him for the trip and they made it to UK on 26.11.2000 and attended the marriage of their daughter, Anju.

      However, I and Rajesh were not able to attend their wedding later that year of Sobhag and Anju as we didn’t get our visas in time. Around 22nd December 2000, Sobhag had kindly given me, Rajesh and Bhavini tickets to London for a holiday; we had stayed for a few months thereafter. This gave us a chance to be all together, four sisters and parents with our children. Within this holiday, we had celebrated New Year’s Party, Valentines Party at Tycoon, with the whole family being enjoyable but the coldest birthday of my life at Ruislip Lido. Unfortunately, once our visas had expired, we went back to Nairobi in February 2001.

      Our daughter Nidhi was born in Nairobi on 19 October 2001. 

      On Sobhag and Anju’s trip to Dar-es-salaam around 17 Aug 2003 to attend Bindi’s marriage, we had come from Nairobi and were there and spend all seven days together.

      The next time we met, was when Sobhag (In his two crutches), Anju and the boys had come on 04th-20th April 2004, on holiday to Nairobi and took us to Mombasa with them for a holiday, in Chandrakant’s Matatu. Stayed at Sun and Sand. On the way back stopped at Voi and Makindu. This is where I remember that Sobhag asked me and Rajesh if we would like to move to London, as Bhavini was almost 7 and Nidhi 2.5 Years. Explained that it would be better for the future for the girls and he gave full assurance to support the move and getting us settled in UK. 

      On our agreeing to come to UK to settle, Sobhag immediately started the most difficult process through his legal contacts to process the applications for work permit, which he managed to get it on 14 January 2005, which was a lot of hard work and we are forever grateful. Rajesh was asked to go first to UK, start his legal paperwork and job as per the conditions and we three joined him later on 09 May 2005. Before we had moved to London, Sobhag had everything ready for us, such as our home, doctors, the girls’ schools and many more things. 

      On 10.12.2005, first year in U.K. Sobhag arranges a family Flight to Bombay. With Sobhag, Anju, Vrush, Shanil, Sushma, Rajesh, Bhavi & Nidhi. Mumbai to Bhavnagar. To Div in the hotel, Sasangir in a tent, visited the national park, (Most amazing experiences in the Tent, Jeep, National Park, Lions, in the evening with a rare Tribe Living there since last 600 Years, originated from our country Kenya in Africa, speaking Gujarati). Later to Jamnagar in the hotel, to Kajurda (Sobhag’s home village), met Harkhubhai & Kantibhai, visited the farm, had tea (milk from the goat taken out in front of us), back to Jamnagar, met Jyotiben. Travelled to Rajkot, Shanil had injection. Met Trevedi who did traditional portraits and printed on canvas mainly of Anju & Sushma. Arranged to get together of all family members (My father’s side of families) at Regency. Celebrated few birthdays Vinodbhai, Manisha. Attended by Vajukaka and Jyotsna kaki. Travelled to Jetpar to meet Kanta fai and family who could not attend. Travelled to Ahmedabad. Visited interesting places in the city and kept gathering to meet all Raju’s relatives. In Hotel Champa fai’s son and his family came to visit us. From Ahmedabad to Mumbai travelled in Satab Din AC train (another experience). In Mumbai visited Chopati, Riksho restaurant, Taj, Boat trip, Victoria ride, Chote Miya, Bade Miya behind Taj. New Year’s party at Gymkhana.

      Back to London on 03 January 2006. All 24 days organised full of activities and meeting with families of their side and our side (never met before) by Sobhag for our family.

       On 05.11.2010 Rajesh, Sushma, Bhavini & Nidhi Issued with a Residence Permit, Valid until “Indefinite”. Indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

      On 29.11.2011 Letter of Citizen approval from an Agent, organised by Sobhag Haria to attend Ceremony to collect British Citizenship Certificates of us all four.

      22.12.2011 Rajesh, and all of us Issued with Certificate of Naturalisation as a British Citizen. The Ceremony attended by Sobhag & Anju.

       05.01.2012 Nidhi Issued withy British Passport – 5 Years

       20.01.2012 Bhavini Issued withy British Passport – 5 Years

       28.01.2012 Rajesh & Sushma Issued with British Passports – 10 Years

      Extremely thankful for everything we have now, all due to his kindness. Throughout knowing him, I have gained a lot of knowledge and experiences. He has allowed us to explore the world by taking us on many holidays and allowing us to see the world. He has done so much for everyone not only us, throughout his many years that it would fill up a whole book. Can’t think of anyone that would be so kind, helpful and giving as much as Sobhag. – Sushma 

Sobhag is mine and Nidhi’s uncle (masa), I was very young when I first met him, but I do remember my 3rdbirthday which we celebrated at Kennedy Close, that masa had organised; inviting all my cousins. Distinctly remember having a pink cake, with a pink dress that him and Anju masi bought for me. This was when we came on holiday to London in 2000. Once we had moved to London permanently in 2005 all thanks to Sobhag masa, he had done many things for me. I remember him dropping me to school and helping buy my school uniform. In 2005, when we first moved to London masa had taken us to India for the first time, where we met many family members and gain many experiences. Throughout my whole life, due to Sobhag masa I have always felt like I have everything I need and want in life. I am very grateful for everything; my life would be completely different if we were still in Nairobi. Masa has made me become more independent, a mere example of him teaching me how to drive a car at 17 and buying me my first car at 18! Each and everything masa has done for me, dad, mum and Nidhi will never be forgotten; eternally thankful. – Bhavini

There are several memories with Sobhag masa, my first few memories are when he taught me how to make all kinds of foods such as, Paratha and Bateta nu shak. Me and masa used to be very close when I was younger, I remember spending my weekends doing yoga, taking walks and spending time with him. He gave me the confidence to speak to people, an example would be when me and him used to go drop ladwa to people’s homes for when there would be a celebration. One thing I am most thankful for is that he gave me the opportunity to travel with the people I love the most. My favourite holiday was when we to Africa in 2011, which allowed me to see my homeland as I was only three years old when we moved to London. All the holidays we’ve been on have created treasurable memories in my heart and will never be forgotten. During the holidays he made sure to teach everyone something about the different cultures, environments and lifestyles. Sobhag masa is a very knowledgeable person, always trying to teach everyone something new and always there to help whenever needed. I’d like to thank him for the person that I have become, without his help things would not be the way they are today. – Nidhi

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