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    Aussie values you

    by Sandy Gandhi

    In search of a better life, we applied to immigrate to Australia in 1962, our interview eventuating in 1969.

    It wasn’t our lack of English that caused the 7 year delay. A lack of literacy at the Aussie Embassy was more likely, so said the High Commissioner, giggling apologetically.

    We were at the upmarket West End Hotel, in Bangalore, India, dressed in our ‘gladrags’. My father and 3 brothers aged 15, 12 and 11 were in suits, my mother, sister and I, aged 9 and 10 respectively, were in our laciest best.

    Barefooted in a pair of shorts and a singlet, the High Commissioner complimented us on our fabulous outfits, politely excusing himself, but the humid weather determined the choice of his wardrobe.

    He noted my parents were university graduates, and my siblings and I were good students with a bright future. Dad and he chatted like mates about horseracing, beer and cricket. “I’ll waive the literacy test cause youse speak better English than I do!” he quipped – ‘application approved!’

    We got here in 1970. My parents’ uni degrees were not recognised forcing them to settle for less. They became depressed and had more than a beer, and to make ends meet, they turned to gambling, an enduring legacy for their descendants to value – but hey, we do the lingo and love bingo!

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