Life was like playing hide & seek with Hemma’s family. Of course I maintained my husbandly status but it wasn’t comfortable. No matter which room of what I thought was our house alone, that I would go into there was always at least one of them in there; here or there.
When we escaped to our own room more often than not, there would come a knock at the door. Really? I remember when we lived at my family’s home (prior to our son’s birth), the one thing which was sacred was a closed bedroom door. Clearly it was not practiced within this family unit.
So now let’s get on to the planning of what’s next. In the Southern Hemisphere, it was about the beginning of winter, 1956. I had heard before from various sources, that there were many individuals heading out to England, as a life-change move.
One could migrate there easily as we [Fiji] were already a British Crown colony. While migrating closer to say New Zealand, or Australia, a visa was still needed. As holders of a British passport, getting into a life in England was not at all difficult, other than securing transportation.
A big push, a tempting plus was the memory of my father telling me to use my government sponsored trip to India. The British crown was sending each one of us kids, one-way to India if we wanted it. “Go and see your father’s homeland, if you can.” I could still hear him telling me this.
Now I could feel the wheels turning in my head. My brain was starting to formulate the way it would go down. If I take the free one-way passage to India, then it should be easier to get over to England from there. From where I am currently positioned in the South Pacific, the journey would take me north-westerly and I would hit Bombay first.
I went into town one day and made an inquiry at the Labour Department. Could this really happen? Of course, this was absolutely a service they could provide for me! To open this chapter up, they supplied me with the necessary forms and the requirements. This would be my birth certificate and expected date of departure.
Can you even imagine how this re-sparked the 🔥within me?
That evening when I returned home, I made sure to have a private conversation with my wife. I told it to her like this: ‘Once I get settled down in London, I’ll call for you. I’ll have a job and a place for us to stay. You can travel to me on your own or I will come and get you myself, whatever you need.’
Hemma said she would have to think about this very big change. She then also said to me, “Why are you always trying to leave Fiji?” I responded quite calmly to my surprise, ‘There is no future or happiness here for us. The memories here are becoming to painful.’
She seemed somewhat confused. ‘Once you go away from here you’ll see what I am saying.’ I told her with great confidence. It took some time but Hemma finally agreed later that evening; yes you can go she told me and seemed to mean it. I mean the part about migrating to England.
I submitted my birth certificate, my requested travel date and the filled out forms to the Labor Department the next day. It was all rapidly processed and my airline ticket to India was booked for Wednesday, the 18th of July, 1956 – Nadi, Fiji to Bombay, India.
Of course you understand this had to go in steps. Of course!