The whole journey, getting to Perth until today, has been amazing. I still look back at us getting here and think ‘how did we do this’. It has only been possible because of the culture here.
We are all the same human beings. We do sometimes get labelled before people get to know us. That will only change if people engage with each other. We speak the same language, we understand the culture pretty well, and we are doing our little bit to improve the community.
We’re from Goa in India, so it was a Portuguese colony, so we have all of the D’Souzas and Pereiras and Fernandes’ – they are all Portuguese background names. My great, great grandfather moved from Goa into other parts of India, so we landed up in Bombay. But my home town, it’s another place called Pune. Bombay was a fast paced city, it’s a city that never sleeps. And Pune is much more quieter picture, something like Perth.
The problem with being Anglo-Indian in India is that you can’t associate yourself with any other part. It is a secular country so there are a lot of religions in that one place, and every area is based on a certain religion. So we were neither from Goa, because we were not born there, we were neither from the same state we were staying in because we didn’t have surnames or names that would match that kind of criteria. The worst thing for me was I didn’t even know the native language because my dad was a Goan, mum was an Anglo-Indian and we only spoke English at home. So I was, like, in between.
I used to stay in the Gulf; I was working in the Gulf for many years – so I was there for about 7 years. And that’s the time I realised that ‘there’s something wrong here.’ I would not fit in any of the groups because I didn’t know the language, my own language, correctly so I could not fit in that group either way. OK they could recognise me or they had a connection with my name but then when they will talk to me I will not be able to answer them back so then, OK, they didn’t want to be much with me.
So basically I am the sole flag bearer of the country - I have nothing – no caste, no creed – associated with me. Yea, but I did feel that that was an issue and I needed to move to a place that can address, where I don’t need to be known by my name or by my caste or creed.