Does Anyone Know What I Am?

In the beginning there was me

When I read any nationalistic, or emotionally heart-warming poetry to do with Homeland or Homesickness or Patriotism or any of those other rousing Abstract Nouns, I think, “Yeah right! What about me and all the other Sticky Out People?”

I don’t mean people like Christopher Reilly’s Mr Sticky, or adhesive or even semi-adhesive people. I mean people who just don’t fit into that, “We’re-All-from-the-Same-Country-and-It’s-the-Best-Country-in-the-World” group.

You know the ones I mean. The ones that I’m not: The ones who stand up to attention when their National Anthem is played; standing up ever so straight with tears in their eyes.

I’m not knocking them at all; far from it. I would stand to attention if they were playing my National Anthem… if I could work out which one it is.

Look at it this way: Some people base their National Loyalties on their ethnicity; some base it on the place in which they were born; some base it on the place in which they are living... or where they were brought up.

When I say Living In or Born In, I’m talking about Countries, of course.

I mean: it would be silly if Mrs Valerie Hawkins from 23, Acacia Terrace, Streatham got very emotional when the Acacia Terrace National Anthem was played… I mean; there isn’t a National Anthem specifically for Acacia Terrace, is there? I don’t think there’s even a national Anthem for Streatham, come to think of it. I may be wrong, and please let me know if there is, and I’ll adjust this hub.

It's my hub, so I'm going to choose who it's going to be about

OK. So let’s base this treatise on me.

OK, so it’s not a treatise, because it isn’t long enough, and I don’t have a supervisor.

So let’s call it an essay.

OK, perhaps it isn’t clever enough to be an essay.

I’m calling it a hub. That’s my final word. And as it’s my hub, and I’m writing it, I get to choose who it’s going to be about…

And it’s going to be about me.

OK?

(Sorry Mrs Valerie Hawkins; just wait in line, or write your own hub).

Ethnicity

If we start with ethnicity, it’s not as easy as it looks. I mean; you can’t just wander over to a mirror (or looking glass, if you’re posh) and have a quick look and say, “Right! I’m this or I’m that”. It’s not as easy as that. That’s where Family History comes in.

First of all you ask your Parents, and if they’re not too sure, you ask the Grandparents.

If you have to go further back than that, then it could be a little bit more difficult.

Cross of Saint george - the Flag of England
Cross of Saint george - the Flag of England

My Father

Source

There's no such thing as English ethnicity.

My Father would probably have said he was English. But there is no such thing as English ethnicity.

The English are just a crowd of invaders and immigrants. For a couple of thousand years or more, people have been wandering into England and settling down. Sometimes they came because they were being oppressed or persecuted in their own countries (wherever that was) or they came over on the ferry for a day trip; liked it, and decided to stay. My father was English, so I shall have to go back and look at what was his ethnic makeup.

My Great Uncle Charles knew all about my father’s family, so he was very useful. He did a lot of research for some reason or other. Great Uncle Charles; very useful… barking mad, apparently, but useful.

But we have to go back to my Paternal Grandfather to sort this bit out.

According to Great Uncle Charles, my father’s family were Huguenots.

Huguenots? What are they?

Huguenots or Flemish Weavers came to England in the 17th century. They were refugees fleeing religious persecution. By the end of the 17th century, roughly 200,000 Huguenots (mainly French and Flemish Protestants) had been driven from France during a series of religious persecutions; one of the worst incidents being the

Massacre of Saint Bartholomew’s Day, which was instigated by Catherine de’Medici, mother of Charles IX of France.

These “Flemish Weavers” relocated primarily in England, Switzerland, the Dutch Republic and parts of Germany where they established clothing and linen trades.

Some of them (or even lots of them) were apparently my Grandfather’s, and consequently, my Father’s ancestors.

Nobody liked them very much, for some reason, and were always asking them to go home. But home was where everybody liked them even less and wanted to kill them and do nasty things to them, so they stayed in England.

When I say."them", i don't mean just my ancestors, I mean all the Huguenots.

An easy bit

The next bit is easy. My Father’s mother was Jewish and that is all I know of her.

If only I had asked questions… but it’s too late now.

So we’re getting closer. My Father was half that Huguenot business and half Jewish.

And as his mother was Jewish, by Jewish Law, that made him Jewish too.

That's all a bit complicated, and I don't really understand, but let's press on, shall we?

The Red Dragon - The flag of Wales
The Red Dragon - The flag of Wales

The Cambrain bit

My Mother was Welsh, and naturally her Father and Mother were also Welsh and the whole family had been for as long as anybody cared to remember… and longer.

So, if my Mathematics are correct: If my Father was half Huguenot and half Jewish and my Mother was entirely Welsh, through and through, then I am a quarter Huguenot, a quarter Jewish and half Welsh.

Or if that Jewish grandmother bit holds true, then I'm half Welsh and half Jewish.

But I like the Huguenot business, so I'll think about that later.

My Paternal Grandfather and Grandmother

Source

Language

Does the language we speak help in deciding out National Loyalties

Not really

My Grandfather didn’t speak a word of whatever language my ancestors spoke when they came to England. They had arrived in England after the Persecution of the Protestants, specifically the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre ordered by Catherine de’Medici And you may not know this, but French wasn’t spoken in most of France then; apart from at the Royal Court or in the posher parts of Paris. Or perhaps they spoke a form of Flemish, Dutch, Walloon or some other language or all or any of these. My Father’s father spoke not a word. He came form Essex, and spoke English.

My Grandmother may have been Jewish but her family had been in England for yonks so she would have spoken English. Her family, it appeared, were also victim of persecution somewhere in the world, but when and where, I have no idea.

So my father spoke only English when he was growing up in Essex.

My Maternal Grandparents - Mamgu and Granddad

Source



My mother only spoke Welsh till she was about sixteen. My mother, her sister and two brothers spoke Welsh and so did my Mamgu (Pronounced mam-gee) my Maternal Grandmother. Also everybody in the village used Welsh as their First Language, but English (the language of the United Kingdom) as their Second Language… (That means if there were any non Welsh speaking people about).

 

 

 

 

Baluchistan - Traditional Flag
Baluchistan - Traditional Flag
Baluchistan National Flag
Baluchistan National Flag
The Flag of British India - India the Jewel of the Empire
The Flag of British India - India the Jewel of the Empire

I was born in Baluchistan.

I was born in Baluchistan.

When I was a very little boy, my parents employed an Ayah (Indian nursemaid) who was in charge of me and did everything a good nursemaid does. But what my parents were not expecting; my Ayah and I became very close, and as she was a Baluchi, she spoke to me in Barohi (the classical language of Baluchistan) and Baluch, and I picked up the language so well that soon I was only speaking in Barohi, and some Baluch

So my parents took me away from her because they worried that I wouldn't speak English.

“My God, we don’t want the little blighter ‘Going Native’ on us”.

We lived in Quetta, the capital city, I was surrounded by the Indians who lived and worked in the area: postmen, house servants, soldiers from the barracks, Aunties and Indian friends.

No matter what my parents attempted, they could not prevent me from speaking in the local languages (Barohi and Baluch) and most probably Urdu. I spoke to my father in English and my mother in Welsh and English.

"Come and see the little black boy." (Said in Welsh)

When I was about five, my mother returned to the UK and lived in the village of Crynant, Glamorganshire, South Wales with her mother and family for six months of the year, and then with my paternal Grandfather in Colchester, Essex, England, for the rest of the year.

When in Wales I went to a Welsh speaking school and spoke Welsh, fluently. At home I spoke Welsh as we were living in my Welsh Mamgu's (Grandmother's) house.

In Colchester, I spoke English exclusively at school, with my mother, with my Grandfather and with my friends.

When I returned to Wales with my mother, the people in the village made any excuse to come and see me. Although they had known my Mother since she was a little girl, and knew that she had married an Englishman, they were convinced they were going t see their first black child.

I was born in India! Well I had to be black, didn’t I?

My Mother and I - Dehu Road, near Poona (Pune) India

Source

My Mother and I returned to India, to be reunited with my Father, shortly after World War II.

We lived in the Cantonment of Dehu Road which is near Poona (now Pune) in Maharashtra Province.

I spoke Marathi because Krishna, our bearer, was Marathi speaking, and I spent as much of my time with him as possible. I adored Krishna. He was the one most important person in my life.

I think our Khansama (Cook) was also Marathi speaking and I liked him, and of course the other Indians I met were Marathi or Hindustani, Urdu or Hindi speaking.

I spoke Urdu and Hindi (Basically the same really) because I lived in India and most of us spoke this language, or tried to, where possible.

Before the Partition of British India, the terms Hindustani, Urdu and Hindi were synonymous; all covered what would be called Urdu and Hindi today.

Maharashtra Province - Pune, Dehu Road
Maharashtra Province - Pune, Dehu Road
The flag of India
The flag of India

Some base their National Loyalties on the place in which they are living… or have lived

I am an Anglo Indian (My father was English; my mother was Welsh) because I was born in India, of British parentage.

But when, after Partition, we went to the cinema; at the end of the movie, when they played the new Indian National Anthem, “Jai Hind” (Great India) I was one of those Indians who stood up so proudly and sang along, although I most probably didn’t get the words right… but it was my country. i was an Indian. I didn't think of myself as anything else.

To lend some confusion: the part of India I was born in (Baluchistan) became part of Pakistan on Partition in 1947, so I am officially Anglo Pakistani. But I was born in British India and lived, on and off in the years since my birth, before Partition, in what now is India so I am an Anglo Indian.

But Anglo Indian or Anglo Pakistani, when the Quit India people decided to throw the British out of the Sub Continent, they threw this baby out with the bathwater. I was left with little; no homeland; no Krishna, the bearer who was the person I loved most in the world... No feelings of belonging; just a mouthful of different languages that I had learned in the first eight years of my life.

The Southern Cross on the Australian flag
The Southern Cross on the Australian flag
The West Australian flag
The West Australian flag

Am I a foreigner?

So my parents and I landed in Perth, West Australia where I spent the rest of my growing up, until coming back to the UK when I was twenty-five.


When we arrived in West Australia, although the same colour scheme as the rest of the children in my class and school when in Perth, I was subjected of “Racial Discrimination” (or was it just teasing? It hurt all the same) when first in the school in Victoria Park because I was an Indian.

My teacher had introduced me on the first day with, “This is Ian. He’s the new boy in the class. You must be nice to him because he’s come all the way from India”.

Great!

In the playground the other children surrounded me and did the “Woo! Woo! Woo!” sounds obligatory for American “Red Indians" as people referred to Ethnic Americans in those days..

“Red Indian, white man’s enemy” .

So when she tried to diffuse the situation by telling them that I wasn’t a Red Indian, but that my Daddy came from England and my Mummy came from Wales, they decided to charge around the playground shrieking, “Beware the Whale will get you. The Whale ate Jonah, Blah Blah Blah”.

It’s not easy fitting in, I tell you.

The Union Jack
The Union Jack

Where do we owe our loyalties?

Some people base their National Loyalties on their ethnicity.

Am I Walloon? French? Welsh? English? Jewish? Flemish?

Some even base their National Loyalties on the language they speak, usually based on their ethnicity.

English? Welsh? Marathi? Urdu? Hindi? Barohi? Baluchi?

Some base their National Loyalties on the place in which they were born.

Quetta Baluchistan. Yes, that’s right: but Quetta, Baluchistan in British India, in Pakistan, or as an Independent State, as some Baluchis want?

Some base their National Loyalties on the place in which they are living… or have lived:

Quetta? Crynant? Colchester? Dehu Road? Perth? London?

Extract from the ‘Lay of the Last Minstrel’ by Sir Walter

“Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,
As home his footsteps he hath turn'd,
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;”

Just a thought...

As I said earlier: I would stand to attention if they were playing my National Anthem… if I could work out which one it is.

More by this Author


Comments 78 comments

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 5 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

Bugger!


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 5 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

Excellent work TL... I know how you feel... If you saw a pic of my 'home' you would know that I know how you feel. I believe many of us are expected to establish a 'new' home within our life times.... isn't that a challenge!


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 5 years ago

Wonderful hub, Sahibji. At the end of the day, we are a sum of our experiences, aren't we? And about loyalties, can relate to your difficulty - it must be quite an experience being you :)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 5 years ago from India

That's quite a lot of places you've lived in - and Dehu Road is just outside Pune where we live :)

I don't think you need to worry about the 'unwept, unsung' bit, TL. On a more serious note, I've always felt that where you at the moment is the country you owe allegiance to - just my take :)


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks for visiting, Pearl Diver. Not my usual, but it has been on my mind for a very long time. Maybe home is where the heart is.

I'm intrigued by your first response: "Bugger!"

An expletive?


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Shil, I love the "Sahibji". You obviously are very much in tune with the me that IS me.

But it is true; there are less and less people on this planet who can honestly claim "Nationality" or "ethnicity", and all those other things that rub their neighbours up the wrong way.

Let's all just be part of the Human Race... I think I like it that way.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Shalini, my dear compatriot. I have the fondest memories of Dehu Road and being loved there, and feeling safe there; more than any place I have been. We used to go from home by tanga to the station and then catch the train to Pune (old Poona) and on the way, my father would point out different places.

I remember especially passing a little village called Shivaji Nagar, and my father would tell me that that was where Shiva fought.

Some day I would love to write more of that wonderful time.

Thank you for your comments.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 5 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

In NZ we use the word light heartedly when there's nothing that can be done to alter an outcome or situation. I meant to explain but it (the comment capsule) loaded before I could complete the message.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I use the word frequently. I have a friend (Someone I taught, actually) who I have told, "When the situation becomes intolerable, use this little mantra, which always works: 'Bugger! Bugger! Bugger!' or the other one which works just as well: 'Bugger off'.

The latter is most useful when used against a boss or an ex lover or whatever.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

I totally enjoyed your life story, and totally relate, since I have ended up far away from where I started. That said, I enjoy traveling and experiencing other cultures. Funny thing, is married a Tongan man whose grandmother is part English and who grandfather was born in Scotland, so aren't we all foreigners in a sense?


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Absolutely. We are all part of the whole... No man is an island (Hmm! Where have I heard that before?).

Regardless, thanks so much for ploughing through it all. I think I just needed to get it off my chest. And thanks for your kind comment.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Funny about streets... There was a song in my childhood "My address is not a house, my address in not a street, my address is Soviet Union..."

Where is Soviet Union now? Besides, what was Soviet Union or Russia for that matter? So many nationalities lived and live there still. Russians intermarried for thousands of years, there was never such a thing as preserving lines from mixing BLOOD.

I define nationality by culture - it is not your ancestry that matters so much, it is your culture. Culture is bigger than language. I am a mix by blood, Russian by culture, live in Canada, speak two languages. My Russian is still better than my English (at least I prefer thinking that way). Where do I belong?

Nowhere anymore. Not in Russia (fourteen years away from the country, we went our separate ways, I am not the same Russian I was when I left, Russia is not the same country anymore). Canada is my home, but am I Canadian enough? Certainly not.

Am I loyal? I am loyal to a point.

I think you are YOUR HOME. You are like a snail, you carry as much luggage as you can from place to place and that luggage is your mind - omnia mea mecum porto - everything that is mine I carry with me.

But to understand it all, you have to go through a lot, speak different languages, move, live in different countries, adjust and then understand that we belong to the same home, same race, same humanity, one and only...

And to find enemies? Your neighbours,... completing the circle... if you want to find enemies they are always conveniently - just around the corner.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

What a brilliantly intelligent and deep comment, my friend. I challenge anyone to disagree with a word you have written. I know that when you comment on anything it is going to blow me over with its eloquence. Thank you so much for reading my hub and speaking so nicely (and I use the word in its correct definition)about its content.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 5 years ago from India

Hi Twilight Lawns - we live in that very same village :D It's now a concrete jungle with traffic jams any hour of the day or night. We cling to our little patch of land though but we realise that sooner or later, we just have to let go and go the way of the other bungalows - apartment blocks - how I hate them!

You must revisit your old haunts here - one thing that's stayed pretty much the same is the University at Shivaji Nagar - the old Governor's House - it's still an oasis of green.


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 5 years ago from Virginia

Interesting, funny, very enjoyable read!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Shalini, I can remember Shivaji Nagar from much earlier. I can remember looking out of the windows of the carriage and seeing people sitting outside little huts and cows and goats, and my father telling me that they used the cow pats on the floor of the hits. And he told me that the floors were so hard "like concrete" and how the Indian ladies cooked lovely curries on those little fires.

I felt quite emotional when I read your, "we just have to let go and go the way of the other bungalows - apartment blocks - how I hate them".

If you look at the hub, you will see that my mother and I were standing on the front step to out bungalow in Dehu Road. Happy days.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Pam, welcome back. I've wondered where you had gone. Thank you for taking the time to read all this and thank you for making that nice comment.


tonzofkids profile image

tonzofkids 5 years ago

So well written and entertaining. what a wonderful life you have had.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Yes, but when they dragged that silver spoon out of my mouth, it really hurt. Only joking!

Thanks for reading this little story. I appreciate it when someone reads them; let alone comments!

You are welcome any time.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

I empathize, Ian. Somehow there is some sort of thread of kinship we share. Not as varied a thread on my side of the weave, but akin, anyway. It is a jacquard weave, and allows for variation!

I need to clarify that I fully agree with Kallini that one is one's own home, as well as that it requires much experience to realize that. I suppose each of us harbors some memories of confusion and sense of exile. We are born from where we felt at home into a foreign world! May I share a little of my own oddity?

My father's folks escaped from Berne, Switzerland in the 1600s, driven out by religious persecution. They were Mennonites, not so far afield from Huguenots, I understand. My Dad spoke only German in the home in northern Indiana till he started to school and simply picked up English. When my parents ended up in Southwest Texas in1920, Dad learned the Spanish spoken by the Mexicans so easily, fluently and fluidly, they thought him one of themselves in spite of his red hair and ruddy complexion.

But at home, I hardly got a word in edgewise, with two very vocal parents and three nearly grown siblings, so writing was always my best choice. I learned Spanish in classes and even though I played with Mexican children at the ranch, where neither of us knew each other's language, I could only excel at the vocabulary and grammar of their language. Speaking was painful enough for me in my own language! I believe we had a sort of children's unverbalized understanding. We played together and knew what we wanted to do without saying much - at least not that the other understood very well.

Mother's heritage traces back to the "British Isles" as she always referred to it, but they arrived here sometime before the American Revolution, in which some of them fought.

I too had features which other kids mocked. For one - my glasses. For another, my name, the surname of which was Holdeman. The jingle-like mocking went "Nellie Anna Holdemana - can you hold a man?" Also there were references to Nellie-the-horse and other quaint connections. Even then it was an old-fashioned name. I'd have loved to have been named Tiffany or Jane or Valerie - anything more modern than Nellie.

I was always the odd one, I think. One of the worst times was when my family moved from the town of my birth to another SW Texas town, in order to obtain a farm for raising feed for the livestock at the ranch. My ophthalmologist was in Austin - in the center of the state, so we didn't make frequent trips there, back in those days of Model Ts and narrow 2-lane highways with 35 mph speed limits.

I was 10 and had stayed with my eldest sister and her husband on their ranch while my parents were buying the home and a farm in the new town, and I'd broken a lens of my glasses when they fell on a rock, - but it was the lens on the "good eye" side. So the urgency to replace it was on back burner. Actually the "bad eye" received no benefit from its lens anyway. The purpose of it was to try to force the eye to try to align with the good one. I also had to wear a patch over the good eye at times to further force the muscles in that bad one to try to aim toward what I could barely perceive, as though through the dimmest of peripheral vision. The patch "exercises" were devastating, especially when conducted at mealtime, so that I had to chase my food around the plate to capture it, virtually blindly. But the eye muscles were strengthened as hoped and usually it is imperceptible that it is virtually blind.

My glasses frames were round thin gold rimmed. Ugly and I felt I looked odd enough in them at best, but the missing lens invited the kids in my new school to walk up and stick a curious finger into that side (barely short of blinding it too!) to see if there were a lens there. I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. No such luck!

My parents were regarded as "damnyankees" in Texas, - the good Old South scorned those blue-coats as if the Civil War were still in progress. That they settled in southwest Texas and forged roads in a wilderness and were among the first families to settle there "made no nevermind" to those others who claimed longer roots. They lived here from the 1920s till they died in the mid-1970s and never lived down the damnyankee identity. I was conceived on the ranch and born in Del Rio, but I was "one of them". My elder siblings also, though only the eldest was born anywhere outside of Texas. Texas itself has a fragmented heritage. Was under 6 different flags, including The Republic of Texas, you know.

The same year of the lens-poking, our house caught fire and we had to live in the garage while the repairs and renovations were being done. That added little to my acceptability with my peers!

The deepest of my foreignness, though - was within my family, in which my three siblings ever regarded me as an interloper with questionable rights, coming along so much later and complicating their own positions. They loved my curls and sweet docility but kept a wary eye on me, lest I shine forth with any kind of glory and usurp theirs. I kept it well hidden under a barrel! I was nearly convinced it was as it should be, hidden there. I still feel a bit timid in bright light.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I think that comment was longer than the hub... but fascinating.

Strangely, you mention that you spoke to the other children in Spanish and there was the barrier between spoken language and learned. When I returned with my mother to Wales after leaving India the first time, I met my Welsh cousin Morlais (Male) and the rest of the family. He would speak in English, although he was Welsh, whereas I would speak in Welsh. We completely understood each other. I don't know what the structure of Welsh grammar might be, so I can't say whether it would be difficult or very difficult.

Interestingly enough, I went to a completely Welsh speaking school, but was top of my class in that language within six months.

The very sad thing is that I can remember none of the languages I spoke when I was ten, apart from the odd nursery rhymes that my Ayah taught me in Baluchistan. I have found out, recently, that one of them is in Urdu, but my Urdu and Hindco (spoken in the former North West Frontier Province – now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province) speaking friends cannot recognise it, so maybe it is in Baluch or Barohi.

Oh how I wish I could speak in those languages again... Imagine writing in half a dozen languages, How pretentious!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Sorry about the length of my comments. I almost just hit "delete" when I realized how lengthy they were. But it is a fault of mine, I have to confess.

Oh my! The last thing I would think you would be is pretentious! But literary mastery of several languages, especially some of them so remote from English and its etymology , would be quite a feat and a feather in your cap! You could carry it off, too - with flourishes and flounces, I'd think!

Sadly, according to one of our mutual Hub friends here from Bangladesh, though, writing and reading has diminished in popularity in his country. There are many conditions there, he says, which surely put the higher need of literature (a la Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs) too far out of sight, I suppose. Sigh.

Your background is fascinating. The languages you spoke so naturally as a youngster are amazing. Perhaps their nuances remain to flavor and color your English compositions.


Jellybird profile image

Jellybird 5 years ago

Humorous -I have a similar French Huguenot/blah blah beginning and I revert to the Martian National Anthem because I believe the new hypotheses is that we originated from Mars.It goes some thing like Dum dum tee doo rabba doosha bing balla shoop ta ling ... and the rest I forget. I guess to answer the question - you are fortunate. Try that anthem.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you for stopping by, and reading through my scribbling. It is refreshing to read that someone else in this world has thought on this subject. I went to my local library, where all the deepest thinkers congregate and sang, " Dum dum tee doo rabba doosha bing balla shoop ta ling". Would you believe, it, everyone there, to a man, turned towards me and said (or sang), "Shhh!" Obviously that is the part you have forgotten. Go to your local library, and try it. You will get the same result as I did.

Thank you for coming here on the way.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Don't push that delete button. I love reading your comments. I tend to be scricaeous as well, but do not think it a curse, but rather a blessing. Of course I can trim where necessary, but words are words, and I love them when they are used correctly.

I have also heard from Shuvo that the respect for poetry is diminishing in in Bangladesh, but from what I have heard, it is strong.

I love that guy, his passion is so endearing. I am amazed that he can write, in English, such lyrical stuff. OK, so he makes some mistakes, but he knocks spots off some of those who churn out the most deplorable rubbish; forced rhymes, bad punctuation, horrific spelling. I have seen your comments on one of his poems, Nellie and that is what drew me to looking at your hubs.

So he has done two things; brought me a new and amazingly talented friend and brought me to admire and love his youth and passion.


winepress profile image

winepress 5 years ago

I can't put my finger on the exact words.... you are a genius!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you so much. If you could see me now; smiling all over my face, you would realise how happy that comment has made me. Thank you again. You KNOW you are always welcome.


rcrawford profile image

rcrawford 5 years ago from NE Ohio

This is an amazing piece. Imbued with humor, you found a way to examine your heritage, in detail, without it being

pedantic and full of "begats." Always a pleasure to read you.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you, my friend. And as you know, I am reading you and enjoying it immensely... if with a little trepidation!


Lovingu profile image

Lovingu 5 years ago from London

Golly so many places you have been to - unbelievable.


The Ponderer profile image

The Ponderer 5 years ago from Scotland

Very interesting and thoughtful hub. As Samuel Johnson put it, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel".


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you ponderer. I appreciate your comment, and yes, that epigram by Johnson is so "nice" (and I use the word with its correct meaning). I wrote with levity, but it really is a case of me wearing my heart on my sleeve. Thank you for coming to read it and thank you especially for cutting through the hyperbole and finding the soul of what I have written.


hypnosis4u2 profile image

hypnosis4u2 5 years ago from Massachusetts

I'd like to think we belong to the human race first and a country last but this unfortunately is as idealistic today as it was 100-years ago and so not much progress has been made. Standing to attention for anything these days just starts more wars, so let's try something different.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Oh my, Hypnosis, do I agree with you wholeheartedly? Think what nationalism did to Europe in the thirties, and shudder when you see it raising its ugly head anywhere on this lovely planet.

Thank you for reading my hub, and please feel welcome to come and visit again.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I know, Mark. Up down up down up down (and without any punctuation, you notice). Actually, I remembered there was one other, the flag of Amarashtra Province where we last lived in India. I asked my local pharmacist, who is Marathi speaking and was born there, but he wasn't sure about the local colour of the flag... So maybe I'm worrying too much. But regardless, i shall find it and bung it in there somewhere.

Thanks for ploughing through all that.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you for returning. I am a combination of vanity, arrogance and reticence; not in equal measures, I may add, and writing poetry and even prose, becomes a very emotional thing for me sometimes. When I have the guts, I will post, but take a long drink and your carpet slippers with you; you may have to spend a little time... a long time on it.


Jewels profile image

Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

You are a good advert for deconstructing nationalism and patriotism. If that happened on a global level we'd be in a better place.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you Jewels, for looking into it so cleverly. And than you for coming back. I have missed you.

Yes, it really is a nonsense, isn't it. But while we have politicians who are too old to fight and can pat themselves on the back for stirring up hatred, this will be our legacy.


Jewels profile image

Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

And a terribly embarrassing legacy - as seen from another far away galaxy I'm sure they are shaking their antennae wondering why we do what we do! ^\^


neeleshkulkarni profile image

neeleshkulkarni 5 years ago from new delhi

the world is such an alienated place now where there is such tremendous insecurity that we all need to think we belong to something larger than ourselves. maybe that is the explanation for the rise of all forms of parochialism including relegeous fundamentalism.it is good to see someone who is able to assimilate so much and yet stay grounded.

a good human being ( who also speaks marathi ) is a good find on hubpages .lolllll. adding you and voting you up.

(btw i am glad you do not remember what you were in your lAST few lifetimes lest we had a bit about the psyche of animals and plants too making you not just a good human being as you are now but a great living thing- a new catagory to whose national anthem you surely can stand up)

ma explains the rise of all fporms of relegeous fundamentalism


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Ah! If only I still spoke Marathi. I have even considered hypnosis to try to draw forth those languages which are no doubt still lurking in my subconscious... but remember, they would all have been with the vocabulary of a ten year old boy, or younger.

I have found a flag using a google search engine, for Maharashtra, so that I can insert it into my hub. But I am worried that this is not the flag for the region that included Pune and Dehu Road.

I have just read your hub dealing with the man who removed the hill. How uplifting and inspiring.

Thank you for reading my hub... perhaps you might also like my "short story", 'Krishna in the Morning'


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa

Dear me, I have no idea who I am - so how on earth would I know you? I really enjoyed the read though, that I do know.

I have slightly similar confusions flowing through my veins - there is Welsh and English on Mum's side, Dutch, Huguenot and Scottish on the Old Man's side, and of course we live in South Africa, which is a confusion in itself!

Perhaps that is why I don't like - no, make that "despise" - nationalism.

Huguenots settled here in South Africa in the 18th Century too. We even have a Huguenot Memorial in the little town of Franschhoek (French Corner) in the Western Cape.

Apropos the quote from the "Lay of the Last Minstrel" I also quoted from that poem in a recent Hub.

Great read - I think we have a lot in common. Indeed that photo of you with your Mum could almost have been of me with mine - she also dressed me funny like that!

Love and peace

Tony


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Jewels, you are so right. But meybe they are doing it too. Why can't we all realise that there are more things to life than being top of the pile.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Dressed you funny? I think I looked cute... a poedophile's dream come true. But my point of reference is the present, we are talking British India. People were happy enough to look down on Box Wallahs, they didn't need anybody else to sneer at.


Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 5 years ago from Scotland

Marvellous dissection of your genealogy there TL and what a rich and varied existence you've had. Very interesting reading and thought provoking.

Thanks for a great hub


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks again Shinkicker. I see you have indulged in a mini feeding frenzy of my hubs, for which I am eternally (yes, eternally) grateful.

You are always welcome, my friend.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Well twilight, now you've gone and made me feel guilty for singing two national anthems when all along i should have been singing one world anthem. I lived in England till i was twenty four and shaped my character particularly with regard to my sense of humour. I have lived in Oz ever since, including Tasmania, The Gold Coast, Brisbane, and Melbourne. I still sound like i got of the boat yesterday and have two daughters who would concider themselves pure, if there is such a thing, Aussies. They sound Aussie too. Being a sports fan i still support England in the cricket, well it's only a game isn't it.

I suppose the only real test would be if invaders landed. Then you or I would be one of the allies. Like the other wars. Bloody hell this is getting complicated. A well known Aussie when confronted with a form to enter Singapore that had a section requesting 'race' wrote 'Human', which is a nice place to end it on. Wise words, well written words, interesting words. See you.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Brilliant response.

I don't know where I stand in the pecking order. It's great when the Cricket World Cup is playing, because I'm bound to come from the country with the winning team: England, Australia, India or Pakistan.


Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 5 years ago from Scotland

Marlon Brando made the same comment about 'race' when he was interviewed for the draft. When the recruiting sergeant said "No! Color?" Brando replied "Seasonal"


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

That took a bit of working out... Then again, I have just had my breakfast and dragged myslef out of bed (Not in that order) and the mind is on pause.

Thanks for stopping by.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

As an American my idea of my nation is not based as such on ethnicity as it is an idea: a self-governing people with liberty, freedom, free enterprise, the rule of law, and self-reliance. This is the most powerful idea for a nation ever. And if we can keep it, bodes well for future generations.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I can hear echoes of the rhetoric that preceded the Boston Tea party and all that followed. I agree with you in all that you say. The idea of Liberty Equality and Fraternity, from which the Americans took their ideas and ideals, are wonderful, but when Nationalism takes hold, whether "New World" or "Old World", it frightens me.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

Excuse me for noticing but "Liberty Equality and Fraternity" is the idea behind the French Revolution which was an anti-religious revolution. America was founded on the twin pillars of Faith anf Freedom. It had a religious revolution. Nearly the opposite thing.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I was making a comparison. The head of the Second Estate, the Nobility, of theAncien Regime, a French King, had provided forces to assist the American Colonies to remove the Overseas Government with a German Monarch in control. They, returning to Monarchist France had taken this on board… and this was one of the twenty-three reasons for the French Revolution.

The American Revolution and the French Revolution were fought on the basis of freedom from oppression and the right of self determination. The French Revolution was not anti religious, there were Three Estates in France and the quarrel was with the monarchy and the nobility… the eventual argument with the church was on monetary grounds.

If the American Revolution were for the right of practising one’s own religion, it was secondary to that of foreign dominance. That issue had arisen earlier when people “feld” to the Americas to avoid persecution and religious intolerance in their own countries.

As you said, “liberty, freedom, free enterprise, the rule of law, and self-reliance”. Where, or how, has the Pillar of Faith” suddenly crept into the equation? It wasn’t in your first comment. Religious tolerance has a sneaky way of entering discussions when the tasteless subject of monetary gain becomes part of the agenda. If I remember correctly, the issue of Taxation without Representation was one of the tenets and a springboard for the “civil disobedience”.


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

I loved this hub! My family is a melting pot of sorts. It takes a lot more heart to just be a decent human being. Never liked labels too much.

Sunnie


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you, Sunnie. I agree with you wholeheartedly; labels just get in the way. But some people seem to need to have an identity, or to identify the person they are talking to.

Thanks for appreciating the hub for what it is worth.


Kamran100 profile image

Kamran100 5 years ago

THIS IS UNIQUE AND GOOD INFORMATIVE HUB


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you, Kamran. Thank you for reading my hub, and thank you for your kind comment.

Khuda Hafiz, my new friend.


theseus profile image

theseus 5 years ago from philippines

TL dear,

Interesting fact of you, I should say. Sweet of you to share it.

I'm glad that you are proud of your roots.After all, the Philippines is a melting pot of many races too, and I couldn't care less.I'm proud of my lineage just like you.Thank you.God bless.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you for coming and reading my hub, Theseus. I appreciate your comments... Yes my background is a sort of soup, in a way.


theseus profile image

theseus 5 years ago from philippines

Your always welcome, TL.

You know that I like your hubs very much.They speak much sense. God bless you dear.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I do like to know that you like my hubs... that is why I always feel happy when you visit.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

I love this hub! It is so fascinating to learn about you. It is not where you are from, but who you are. I can understand when you say it is not easy fitting in. But you keep being yourself. You fit in at hubpages great. Keep sharing your stories, I enjoy them tremendously.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks TKI, that really warmed my heart. I feel really special after that. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub... and me!


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Ian,

I know I have read this before..but came back to read once more. This hub was truly fascinating. What a rich life you have led. I am curious if you ever looked up your Jewish roots since your father was part Jewish. I had read once but don't quote me if your father is part Jewish then you are on a registry of sorts. I think that is interesting. Thanks Ian. Such a wonderful experience.

Sunnie


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Hi! Sunnie. Thanks for coming back. The Jewish bit is strange, because my father said it once to me in passing. I had looked at the picture that you see here, and said to him that I thought Grandad looked like a Jewish gentleman. He said that he wasn't, but that he thought my grand mother was. Very strange. The Jewish line comes down through the mother anyway, so that would make my father Jewish, but after that I get confused.


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Good Morning Ian,

It is rather confusing..I think this is a sight that you put your name into and it will tell you. It is a huge registry. oh yes..I wrote something just for you to make you laugh out loud.."A dog name Boo!"

Sunnie http://www.jewishgen.org/


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

My best friend, Judi, of whom I have written in two or three hubs, had a dog named "Barky". How’s that?


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Very Fitting..lol


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

'Let's all just be part of the Human Race... I think I like it that way.' Oh yes, definitely, that's what I say too :)

My, my, what a lot of comments this little hub drew! I wish I had more time to spend on HP, because I keep missing all of these gems. This one reminds me that I wanted to put together a hub about Britishness, but I don't think I need to bother really, because you covered all the points I would have made in your first couple of paragraphs!

My family come from somewhere where there were Vikings, though it would be impossible to trace them obviously! (that's the Rawlinsons), and from Italy as you know, and there's a branch of my family that I know nothing about because I have a grandfather that I never met (my mum's real dad, who left when she was about 5), so there could be ancestors from anywhere on that side. But I've never really moved from Lancaster, which is a great shame, but this is where all of my family is. I will probably move one day, but it's only likely to be across the country to the North-East and Alnwick or Bamburgh (two towns that I love dearly).

I can't imagine what it feels like to not have a strong sense of a national identity, because I have always considered myself to be just English - though, as you say, English is a right old mixture of alsorts! I feel distinct and different from my Scottish family though, and always knew that I was a foreigner when I was at uni in Wales.

But my goodness, this is a big and beautiful world: I wish I knew more of it.

You always speak of India as if it was your true home - is that where your heart belongs Ian?

Linda.

Xx.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

To your last question: I think it does, really, Linda.

But last night I was putting some links on some hubs to tie them together... this one to the others and I saw a message informing me that one of my pictures was pixelated (?) and I would have to replace it or else run the risk of having the whole hub removed. It was the flag of Baluchistan (where I was born). While I was looking for another jpg picture to replace it, I scoured the Baluchistan sites and only found cruelty and pictures of mutilated bodies and hanged people. This is the country of my birth; a country that it trying to escape from being within Pakistan (It is a country without borders as in Kurdistan). My parents both loved Quetta, the city of my birth, capital of Pakistani Baluchistan.


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Oh that's horrific. I'm so sorry that that's what you saw when you searched.

All I can say about such struggles is that I simply don't understand.


nemanjaboskov profile image

nemanjaboskov 4 years ago from Serbia

I enjoyed the story about your ethnicity very much. As you said, the whole story about nationalities is probably not important or relevant at all, as none of us can claim to be of one nation, right?

I am Serbian and consider myself Serbian, but I am not exclusively Serbian. From my mother's side, they were all of Serbian or Orthodox Bosnian origin, which is basically the same thing. However, my father has Serbian, German, and Hungarian origins all mixed together. Apart from this, owing to the fact that I am not blonde, I had probably had a great-great-great-great Granny who was less than faithful to her husband and strayed with a Turkish man while they were in charge of this whole area a long time ago.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Ah! The Caliphate. What those chaps got up to. eh?

The Ottoman Empire.

I saw a lovely map in one of the Royal palaces here many years ago, and on it Serbia was referred to as "Turkey in Europe".


marcia whalley opdyke 4 years ago

I spent many years in Dehu Road, from 1942 to 194, then rom 1945 to 1947. Some of my wonderful memories were made therr. I 1947 we went to England. I was b orn in Kasauli, India and spent all my years in India until I was 14. My father was Indian Army, originally from Lancashire and my mother was from hester, of Welsh ancest Wonderful life.ry.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Oh my goodness. We were in Dehu Road at the same time. How very exciting.

I know that the cantonment was large, but we must have been close to each other at times or our paths crossed.

I would love to know more about you and I wonder of you have any photographs or whether you knew my parents or of them.


momzieo 3 years ago

I was born in India into a military family. One of many children. I lived in Dehu Road from 1942 to 1944, then in Pune (Poona) for a year, then back to Dehur Road from 1945 to 1947 when we went to the UK. mI was born in Simla (Shimla) and lived in Allahabad, then Kirkee, left India at the age of 14. My memories are of a wonderful life and I am so glad I have those memories. My father was from a small town near Manchester and my mother was pure welch. So I was a true Brit. I am now an American.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 3 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

How wonderful. We were in Dehu Road at the same time. Our times there overlapped. You and I share our half "Welshness", as my mother was also pure Welsh. She used to say that she was “descended from Kith Arthur (Uther Pentagon)... and then would laugh because she said that “all Welshmen are descended from” that great King.

As I have said somewhere, I went to Dehu Road with my mother just after the war, so that must have been 1945 and we left after Partition in 1948.

Simla was (and still is) a very lovely area and I have a friend from “just down the road” in Abbottabad.

I can remember my father talking about Kirkee, but as he was in the military, I don’t know in what connection.

I loved being in India also, and I wonder of you, like me, thought of yourself as being India. I was so angry and upset and unhappy when the Quit India crowd made us leave, because I felt I was a true Indian and didn’t even realise that I was a different colour scheme.

I have written a few hubs concerning my life in India, and although we are not allowed to put our URLs into the comment section, I wonder if you would like to search out one or two (or more) and see if it refreshes some of your memories.

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