Being of Indian ethnicity and British born, raised as a Christian with Hindu parents, I grew up with many unanswered questions and the need for a sense of belonging. At 15, we migrated to Australia to adapt to a new life as an Australian Indian, which only made my natural curiosity ask even more questions.
My parents are three generations away from their ancestral home in North India. They were born and brought up in Fiji Islands in 1930 and the 1940s, eventually migrating to the UK in the early 1960s (just when the British Government opened its doors to immigrants to fill the labour shortage.
In many ways, I lived two lives, one at home with my parents, who were very strict and conservative, the other trying to fit into the norm of British life and then later the Australian way of life.
As much as my parents wanted the best for us in a modern world, my formative years were quite confusing in an environment so distinct from my parents, creating communication gaps that go far beyond generational differences. Western norms of different etiquette and communication often govern behaviour; taking on these norms became necessary for success. But doing so also inevitably meant downplaying aspects of the very proud heritage of my parents.
Managing that contradiction came with a cost – a constant feeling of choosing between two distinct versions of myself.
My mother always told me, as a little girl growing up; I would draw aeroplanes or make paper planes. Many decades later, naturally, my career spanned across the travel and airline industries and, on reflection, stems from that unconsciousness artwork I used to portray.
I am so grateful for the enormous sacrifices my parents made to give me this life and the opportunities I have today. Leaving their families and what little they knew to come to the Western world was challenging. It’s a sacrifice that I wholeheartedly thank them for and for which I am eternally grateful.
My journey continues to seek answers through travel and to meet extraordinary people (which includes meeting my life partner from a similar background.
And together, we would like to showcase the beauty of this world.