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The following article was published by the BBC last year.It stirred all sorts of emotions in me and I asked David if I could publish it on our Barnes site.I was so impressed. I know you will be..Fyrefly

David King from Canada reflects on growing up in India.


Above: A photo of me taken by Rev Goodman

  " As I look at my children and see their quality of life in today's world in Canada, I wonder which quality is better; the one they have today or the one I had growing up in India.

  Yes, I was born and grew up in India. I belong to the small and diminishing community of Anglo-Indians. My parents were teachers in an old, very respected, boarding school (Barnes High School in Devlali). Since it was a boarding school, far from any cities, we had most of the faculty living on campus. That gave us an instant group of friends - other teachers children!

  My memories of growing up were of clean, fresh air, friends and games that we invented or modified. We had few toys - teachers were not very well paid, certainly nowhere near the value that they gave to their students - and so were necessarily innovative. And we had a blast!

  My best friend was Chris Lal and we were inseparable. He moved to Australia and I still have the last picture that he sent me, holding Timmy his dog. Chris was killed in a motorcycle accident. He'll never know that I still miss him.


Above; My best friend Chris...I still miss him

  We moved from Devlali to New Delhi. The big city was different. Fewer friends. Asphalted roads. Vehicles. New Delhi in those days, was green, clean and safe. How different from the city that it has become today - crowded, dirty and unsafe.

  My sister and I went to boarding school in Lucknow. La Martiniere was a school with a long history behind it. Discipline was tough and tight and administered ruthlessly. Today the western world would cringe at the brutal treatment that was handed out.

  The warden at my school welcomed us with a brief speech which can be summed up as: "We expect you to break the rules. We expect you to be smart enough not to be caught. If you're caught, take your punishment like a man." It was really a very fair approach. And a delightful challenge. Of course, not all the administrators of this system were fair and just. Some were bullies, others sadists. We learned to cope. We learned about injustice. We learned to stand on our own two feet and take what came our way. And we're none the worse for it.

  Twenty-five years later, here in Toronto, Canada, I have met up with others from my school and the trademark influence of our years there is a fierce loyalty and love for the institution. We are none the worse for all the rules and discipline and punishments that we were at the mercy of in school.

  I've had the opportunity to travel to a few parts of the world and everywhere I've gone people ask me how I got my name, how it doesn't 'sound' Indian. I am proud to tell them that I'm an Anglo-Indian. There aren't too many of us around, certainly in India.

  My parents made sure that I had a good education - La Martiniere College, Lucknow and St Stephen's College, Delhi are two leading educational institutions in the country. They prepared me for life.

  As a single parent and relatively new immigrant to Canada, I've told my children that I will do my best to give them an education and a foundation for life. By the time they are working and out in the world, they will not be able to say that they're Anglo-Indian. We'll be proud Canadians. But in my heart, deep down inside, I'm a proud Anglo-Indian.