My dearest Komal, Anjli and Amar,
Our lunch date with RasikUncle a few weeks back reminded me of my horoscope predictions made the day before I left Uganda. Whenever we meet RasikUncle, he always tells us of his experiences of the early seventies when he left Uganda. Did you know that he was made stateless when he was ousted from Uganda in 1972? Just like myself he was born in Kampala and therefore a Ugandan citizen by birth. He spent six months in Austrian and Swiss Red Cross camps until Switzerland gave him asylum. Unfortunately being over 18 years of age he couldn’t accompany his family to the UK.
Of course I left Uganda voluntarily, eight months prior to the official Asian expulsion. At the time of the expulsion I was a minor, made stateless in ‘exile’. Sounds dramatic doesn’t it!
The day before our flight to London, Lalitaba took me to meet this fortune teller from India who was visiting our neighbour. Many Indians, especially of the older generation, have deep faith in these psychic gurus. The Indian fortune teller comes in all forms, the palm-reader, the horoscope reader or even the plain old psychic guru who can predict your future just by feeling the vibes around you. Of course a few basic facts like birth date and place of birth are also vital ! You know what a skeptic I am…and of course, when he did give us the details of his predictions….my skepticism rocketed sky high.
His first prediction was that I would never return to Uganda! What nonsense, I thought. I, a Ugandan citizen, leaving behind a huge extended family that had lived in this country for the past 65 years, a family that had established businesses and therefore home and roots….I would not return? What nonsense. Well to this day I have never returned to my birth country! Of course there is still time to change that status and I nearly did that last year when Kiranmasi was working in Kampala. Alas it was not to be.
His second prediction was that I would attain higher education. My reaction again was,…what? I, who was travelling from this ‘backward’ country of Uganda to that ‘modern’ city of London, had no chance to further my education. At that time I felt this was the end of my studies. How was I ever going to fit into that advanced education system? In the summer of 1978, almost 7 years later I collected my Bachelor of Science certificate at the University of Aston.
There were many factors that made that day possible. The excellent British education that I had received in its former colony was one. The support my family and I received as Ugandan refugees was another factor. The fact that I was able to attain my degree at no extra cost to my parents was also advantageous! For me, Idi Amin did a great favour in expelling me and my kin from Uganda. The greatest disservice he did was to his own native citizens.
Coming back to the predictions, perhaps these days my skepticism for fortune tellers is not as deep as it used to be….and I would rather enjoy the uncertainty of my future than try and live up to the ideas of a whimsical guru!
What are your views, would you like someone to predict your future or your fate? Do let me know! Perhaps during our next visit to India?
So how are you getting on with my recipes? I know Amar hasn’t tried any of the cooking, but what about you girls? This time I have added the Gujarati daal recipe and also a gallery of the different lentils and daals essential for the Gujarati kitchen.
Until my next letter,
With all my love, hugs and kisses,