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Showing posts from April, 2012

Home Away From Home

Prem Phakey was walking down a street accompanied by his wife clad in a colourful sari in a suburb in Melbourne when an Australian couple walking by asked where they were from. It was a warm exchange. Phakey told them they were Indians at which the couple quipped ‘Oh plenty of food here’. The year was 1966. Australia still had its white policy, not many Indian faces were visible in the streets of Melbourne, and an image of India probably conjured one of starvation and poverty.
Dr Jasbir Bedi, an orthopaedic surgeon, was doing his rounds of patients at a hospital in Perth, when his 88-year old patient asked him who he was. When he told her he was the doctor who had fixed her hip, she asked him if he was educated. He explained to her that he was indeed a specialist who had studied in India but was met with more questions. “Did you have any books or anything to write on?” That was in the early ‘70s.
Thirty or more years later, the curiosity about Indians in Australia has more or less be…