My father got a job in Kenya in the 80s. He moved to Nairobi and we joined him when I was 10 or 11, I did my high school there. After working in Nairobi for a few years we moved back to India and tried settling there, but failed. My sister was abroad, she’s settled in Dubai now. She suggested us to move to South Africa and we did. I really like it here, it’s clean, planned and offers quality education for kids. My whole family is here now.
In the beginning, I worked for an Indian store owner for minimum wage. Then I thought of starting my own business. I started putting my own cigarette stall near an Italian restaurant in the Cape Town. But there wasn’t much profit in it, even though I sold everything. Then there was another vendor who used to sell the traditional animal toys made from the sea pearls. His work intrigued me, I learned the craft from him and started making my own stuff. When I had enough I took it to a Sunday market where I sold everything within an hour. It was twelve years ago and I’ve never looked back. In the beginning, when I didn’t have my own shop and the Sunday market was the only option, it was difficult. Sometimes there would be rain so no market and sometimes wind would damage my stuff. Then I and my brother got a grocery shop here in Mossel. We ran it for two years, made profits and bought two separate shops. I have my own place from then on. I make more than enough, people are passionate about art here.
My partner is an African, Annoesjhka Kaur, her mother gave her the Russian name from a book she had read. I was 29 when I met her and she was 19. She was taking a stroll by the beach after finishing her work one day and I was there in my car. We started talking, we were just a few minutes into the conversation and I knew it’s going to go a long way. We were just friends for two years, started dating after that, had a fight, didn’t see each other for a year and 7 months, got back together and she got pregnant. That changed it all for us. We have a girl, her name’s Priti Kaur. I’m happy with my life, I have my own business, no one can fire me and the best part is I’m busy all the times, saves my mind from being a devil’s workshop.
Story by: Satdeep Gill
English text by: Gurdeep Dhaliwal
Punjabi translation by: Satdeep Gill