I've just come back from my parent's and I think I have to off load a bit - well quite a bit actually because they drove me mad. Or rather my Mum did but they both did too because of their situation. My Dad just sat there being nearly eighty nine and dozed a lot. But no matter - I'm pissed off with both of them.
Where the heck shall I start and anyway do any of you want to hear it (after all this is supposed to be a craft blog)? I do have my sisters to talk to but I find that because we're all pissed off we keep each other in the same place so I need neutrality. Before I tell you what's up though you need to know something about the mater and pater. I did write my Mum's story here back in March last year so here's Dad's now (he's on the left in the next pic):
My Dad was born in 1919 in India, the eldest of eight or nine and they were self sufficient, peasant farmers who had no education for want of a better description! In 1929 his father mortgaged their land to buy a ticket to sail to America to try his fortune. Sounds like he was a bit of a simple man and when he eventually got to Calcutta he saw the sea and took fright and promptly headed home again. All very amusing until you consider that my father being the eldest son then spent most of his life trying to buy back the land so that the family wouldn't starve.
There are stories of Dad being a bandit in rural India, of stealing, of working his socks off, of landing in jail for six months. Dad's too old to ask about all this now but this is what I gleaned growing up. Mum says he was a selfish git who never should have married but he had an arranged marriage in 1952 - meeting my Mum for the first time on their wedding day. I think he used to drink and beat her and luckily for her he came to England in 1955 to earn some money.
Once here he made his way to the Midlands and for five years he lived in a room above a cafe. He used to tell stories about how there six beds and twelve men and they would rotate with the men on night shifts. It was very hard. He doesn't moan about the English but he says they weren't tolerated. Of his meagre wages he'd send most back to India to support the wider family and for the dreaded mortgage.
In 1960 my Mum came over with my older brother and over the next ten years another four children were added to the brood. My Dad had a very basic education in India and to this day he still can't speak English. He had very menial and physical jobs here and always worked with other Indians so never did manage to learn the language which always frustrated him. For twenty odd years he worked in an iron foundary shovelling tons of sand day in day out. So I can see why he was always angry and frustrated. He retired due to ill health (unsurprisingly) in the late seventies and from then on he refused to lift one finger as he felt he'd done his lot. So my Mum took cleaning jobs to make ends meet and always resented it.
None of us had a relationship with Dad. We were too scared of him. He was very strict, drank a lot at weekends, shouted even more. He and my Mum seemed to tolerate each other and sometimes we felt that they could neither live with each other nor without each other.
For about the last fifteen years he has mellowed and I have had lovely conversations with him in my limited Punjabi. Our children love him despite the fact that he can't say anything to them in English. He in turn loves them and Tom and four years ago we went to India with both of them which was very healing for me.
These days I do really sympathise with both of their plights. My poor father has had such a hard life of drudgery (there must be so many regrets there). He's worked his socks off for both families - his own and his paternal one and on top of that he's been stabbed in the back by his siblings when it's come to inheriting that very land that he bought back (sounds like great stuff for a film doesn't it). Like my Mum he's been through so much and I really do admire him in many ways.
Gosh I should stop now. I'm sorry I've gone on for soooooooo long but it's been very cathartic. Sadly, the floodgates opened as soon as I started typing! Next time I'm going to tell you a little bit about our upbringing which will explain why I/we feel as we do today ............ bear with me?
PS I have actually deleted bits here and there so forgive me if the sentences don't flow.