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Odysseus, the Patron Saint of Foreigners?

Odysseus takes so long to return because, maybe, he is not sure what home is. In the light of this, Mona Arshi tells the story of her parents' odyssey from the Punjab to Southall.

Mona Arshi, who was a human rights lawyer before following her vocation as a poet, takes us through her own parent's journey from Northern India to Britain in the 1960s. Her piece is partly the poetic narrative of first her father's journey, and then her mother's, who followed later. It is, too, a meditative essay on what arrival and settlement means. How do we create home, and what happens to that which we have left? Arrival can be signalled by an event as much as a journey's end - her father in a queue of recently landed Sikhs outside the barbers, waiting to have their long hair cut for the first time because, now they're in the West, they will no longer wear their turbans.

The actor Vincent Ebrahim tells Mona Arshi's father's story. Her mother tells her own which, as she follows her husband, is the opposite of Penelope's, the wife of Odysseus. And there is poetry in English and Punjabi, about the next generation, rooted and growing here.

Producer: Julian May.

15 minutes


Role Contributor
Writer Mona Arshi
Reader Vincent Ebrahim
Producer Julian May


  • Wed 19 Apr 2017 09:45
  • Thu 20 Apr 2017 00:30