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3 Oct 2014
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From India with Love

Sabina Ahmed grew up in the south of India. Her father had spent most of his formative years in England, and wanted, in fact, to marry an English woman, for which he was 'sent down' from Cambridge. He talked longingly about England, and longed to go there...


Sabina finally came to England aged 19 in 1970, arriving in Kent. Snow had just settled and she found it icy but wonderfully beautiful- just like a picture postcard.

Sabina felt at home within six months of being in Britain. There were not many brown faces about at that time, and though people were curious she did not encounter hostility.

She met and married her husband in Britain. He is also Indian, and still feels firmly attached to India. He goes back every year for a 'top up'. Sabina by contrast didn't go back to India for ten years. Her father was furious because she'd gone into nursing.

Sabina with her children
Sabina with her children

But Sabina had feeling of freedom here. She loved the way of life, the camaraderie with other nurses, and Brian Redhead on Radio 4.

Her children were born in Britain and she's brought them up to think of themselves as British.

Sabina with her husband
Sabina and her husband

Ironically her husband now realises that his very Indian attitude of leaving all the child-care to his wife has meant that he has two very English children.

He talks about going back to live in India which is not something that Sabina wants to do.

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