Coming to Australia

Coming to Australia
Read the Hindi version of this story

Author: Siddanta Sharma
Storyteller: Siddanta Sharma
Community Language School: Indo-Aust Balbaparathi Vidyalaya-Hindi School Inc
Main School: Waitara Public school

We came seeking more opportunities

From here to there

My dwelling
I was born in the ALL INDIA INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL SCIENCES NEW DELHI INDIA on 8 August 1990 . My family lived in the capital city of India which is New Delhi. I was born in a joint family where my grand parents, uncles and my parents lived in the same house. We had a small white dog named Sheriff. I always teased Sheriff all the time but he was very nice dog and always avoided me. I was only one & half year old when I once tried to snatch Sheriff's food and he could not tolerate it any more and bit me near the eye. I remember going to the doctor and getting injected. I still have the pictures showing where I was bitten. I do not remember much of New Delhi but I remember that there were lot of people there. My father owned a scooter on which we travelled across New Delhi. My Mother would sit behind my father and I would firmly perch in her lap. My father rode the scooter through the crowded streets of New Delhi but never did he let us fall down. Boy he must be a good rider. My mother did not work in India so she had plenty of time during the day to play with me or take me to her friends house with children of my age and we had fun.

My grand father had just retired from the post of executive engineer from the public works department and he had all the time in the world to play with me as I was the only child in the family. My Uncle Rajeev was working as a teacher in one of Delhi's prominent school and to me he looked quiet and reserved but my other uncle Praveen, who had just finished his studies was very funny and he used to play with me and take me to his friends places on his scooter. I remember standing in front of his scooter. Our house was always humming with activity because my grand mother was very popular in the neighbourhood and always one or more of her friends would be visiting our home.

Our house had four bedroom, one living room or drawing room as they call it in India, one kitchen and a courtyard. My grand father and father were fond of flowers and they used to plant a lot of potted flower plants. Our house was at the end of a very narrow lane and our neighbours were actually my grand father's cousins and their families. There were a lots of children of my age who were actually my cousins. I fondly remember playing in the lane with all my cousins during the day while my mother and aunties from the neighbourhood chatted or occasionally sat in the winter sun peeling and eating peanuts.

A Typical Day
A typical day would start with every one trying to beat each other to the bathroom or toilet. Lucky that I was in no rush to go out of the house in the morning as I was very young but I remember my father banging at the bathroom urging my uncle to come out quickly. When I woke up my mother would be in the kitchen helping with my grand mother prepare breakfast for the outgoing members of the family. Breakfast was actually a complete meal and demanded cooking skills. A typical breakfast would be Aloo ke Paraathe or Naan bread stuffed with spicy mashed potato eaten with plain yoghurt and mango pickle. Aroma of the breakfast cooking would fill the whole house. Somewhere in the house a radio would be blaring typical hindi movie songs which gave way to advertisements very often. I always wondered if any one was listening to the music but it sure made the atmosphere lively.

One thing is for sure that food was always Indian. I did not even know if pizza was square or round. There was so much of variety of the food that no body ever thought of venturing into international cuisine. But food was not my priority and I remember I was always force fed by either my grand father or my mother as I would find it hard to stop playing and start eating.

India is a country of festivals and if you care to celebrate, every week there was a festival of some sort which was either celebrated with a quiet fast or some major festival like Dusshera and Diwali were celebrated with millions of loud bangs of fireworks. I remember clearly about celebrating Diwali because Sheriff would bark himself hoarse with every burst of firework in the house or the neighbourhood. I remember going to the temple with my grandmother and some time with the whole family. The festival I liked most was Holi because that was the only day when I was at the liberty of throwing coloured water or water bombs at all the adults and other children while they tried their best to drench me as well. We smeared the coloured and scented powder called Gulaal on each other's faces and ate a lot of sweets.

I was two and a half years of age when we boarded the plane and we flew to Australia. I did not know where we were but I seemed to like it. My father said that there would be more opportunities for the whole family here. On the way here I was sitting near the window gazing in awe as I was lifted of the ground but I wasn't scared for long as I began to enjoy the flight. I watched movies and saw the world flying by and before long we had our feet firmly on the ground once more.

When I first arrived I lived in Mt Colah in Hornsby. I lived with my cousins in a giant two story house. Australia was bigger than India but there were less people living here making it less crowded. It wasn't too difficult learning English because I used to speak it with my grandfather. In Terrigal I was on a trip with my cousins and family I bought an inflated guitar and heard that there was some music playing in the background. I followed it and was separated from my family. The music was playing in a square filled with people. I thought the guitar was real and tried to strum it. I believed the music was coming from me and went crazy strumming the guitar like anything. This was when my family found me. Hammering crazily at an inflated guitar. The incident ended with a whole group of people laughing and a seriously deflated guitar. On arrival a quarantine officer took one of my toy cars to examine. As he took it out of the suitcase I started screaming, yelling and crying. He very kindly gave it back but my parents had a headache.

Here and now
Australia has changed greatly in the years I have spent here. Firstly the ethnic community has grown and so has the population. We have met more and more Indians throughout the years. The technology has changed so much that I tell you much about it even though my friends call me a tech whiz. I have also changed. I'm still a go lucky kind of boy but my interests such as music have changed. Even though this is now my home I still wish to return to my place of birth, India.