Gods must turn the page, by Tejbai Naran (Sept 2013)
The 1970s we came:
1970 in January, came down the worst winter
from India, we didn’t know snow
didn’t know Oldham, snow in street, bath in cellar, outside toilet
went to school me and my sister
Dad dropped us there the first eight weeks
then we knew the way
21 bus, or 27 bus?
catching it we confused
don’t know the language, Manchester, buses
the driver stopped
somewhere strange and he pushed us off
Asian man asked - are you lost
took us to police on Manchester road
we don’t know police station, don’t know words they speak
- thought they were thieves looking through our bags
in my bag, our address
took us to the police car
we know we don’t go in cars with strangers
us crying, coming home with police
me mum opened the door
they said “Are these your daughters?”
she didn’t speak English
shook her head – what did they think?
she pointed upstairs
then me dad came down, sorted it
dad picked us up another 3 months after that
he worked nights, tired, I felt so sorry.
Thinking now of 40 years before
wellies with snow inside
the crying and the police - did that really happen?
it did – we must tell our children
our stories for
they never know when their days may change.
India, 5 years old in Baladia I was working
one day eating one day not, wishing
the gods turn the page to good luck.
My children have a good life now
Our first poem from our memory box project, Making Memories, written by Tejbai Naran during our session at the Indian Association in Oldham.