My name is Jay Patel, I am third generation in this country. My background; I have being educated up until university, after that I worked for a pharmaceutical company for about 10 years, and after that I started my own IT consultancy working for various contractors.
The first memory I have, funnily enough, is not putting the jelly to set in the fridge, but putting it out side the door, because the snow was like two foot back in those days, in the early 80’s. That’s the first memory I have, yeah.
What I can remember is his long hair, and he had a little Mini (car) at that time and most of the time he would be waking me up coming back from work, or wherever he was coming back from at that time. Waking me up to play with me, because he didn’t have time throughout the day. That is something I used to look forward to when I was younger.
When they went to India it wasn’t, how shall I say, as cohesive and friendly as it was in Africa, and so they decided they needed a change. And there mind wasn’t set because the eldest daughter passed away. So they moved to England, to Preston. My Dad was studying at the time, he had various jobs, even my Grandmother, everyone was working at that time. From what I have found, that is when they really started to build a life for themselves again, even though it was alien to them, the surroundings, it snowed etc
My relationship with my Father is … it wasn’t in the beginning when he started his business, he was always busy till late evenings, at that time there wasn’t really much competition compared to now, we were compared to now mega busy at that time. From 8 or 9 o’clock (am) he worked till 1 in the morning, so he was working very long hours and hence I didn’t have that much Father and son time at that time, but when we did we made the most of it. It might be 11 at night, he used to come home, he used to wake me up and we used to play, he used to bring me food etc. Because we were pure vegetarians at home he used to bring the odd shami kebab and whatever for me to have at home, we weren’t allowed at that time, but he used to bring it and not mention it to anybody.
“My own identity I would say first I am British, proud to be English, and I have also got a rich heritage with my Dad coming from Africa which I am very proud of. The Kenyan mentality is very cohesive and friendly. Totally different than with people coming from Indian where my Mother is from, but again my Mother is excellent, she is the rock in our family. I am very proud of those two influences. Especially the Kenyan influence as well”
My education started off at St Johns school which is just down the road. Very fond memories of St Johns, been in the choir in the church across the road, then I was the head of the choir until my voice broke. From there I went to Hall Green school, from there I went to Solihull collage, and eventually to Staffordshire University to study IT. During this process my Farther was helping me all the way through, giving me a lot of support because he didn’t have that chance, at his time he was studying to be a pharmacist at that time and my Grandfather pulled him out to start this business, so he wanted me to go all the way and get the degree. I was the first of our family, we were a very small family, to get a degree and then get a good job with an American pharmaceutical company in Chester, where I moved, so I moved away from home in 2000, and I worked for the pharmaceutical company for 8 years. It was brilliant because we went all around the world; to America, and New York, most of the main countries in Europe, just to implement IT systems. It was a great experience.
In the beginning it was obviously being Asian, so it doesn’t matter, as long as your Asian your going to get called the P word and etc. We got that in the beginning. But then it slowly started to change, then it started to get more religious. In the beginning there was nothing like that, at St Johns school there was nothing like that at all. Then suddenly everything started changing, and up until now it is more of a religion type of thing. The white community, for me being in Birmingham I don’t see any of that, its more the Asian community being racist against each other, which is starting to pull up a lot of barriers within communities; so that’s how it has changed.
I think totally you should respect your elders. Obviously it depends on the upbringing and your Parents, if they are very strict then obviously it is different, you might not respect that, but in our family we have always been respective of our elders, even my cousins who are maybe only three years younger than me, they will call me by Bhai, never by my name. That spans across our family. So even when were are out and about, maybe in a bar or somewhere, they won’t say Jay across the bar, they don’t find it embarrassing to say Bhai Bhai, ‘what would you like’, ‘it’s your round’ etc. There not embarrassed about it my family, not embarrassed about giving respect out in front of people; a lot of people are. So we have got that mentality, respect your elders and always keep them close.
Me and my son, and my daughter, have got a lot more emotional attachment. I support him all the way and he supports me, because I give him that freedom to express it brings out that personality in him that I don’t think my Dad saw in me. And I think it is the same thing now, my Dad is spending that time which he missed with me, with my son and daughter, and giving them all that warmth, which is great to see and what that does now is make me forget about all that time I have missed with my Father. It is brilliant, we have got a nice little thing going at the moment.