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Black Brother and White Master (standard:travel stories, 2457 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Nov 18 2010Views/Reads: 1483/1119Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A brief biographical sketch
 



Black Brother and White Master 

By 

Subba Rao 

Patricia or Patsy for short was a native of a small Caribbean Island
known for volcanoes and is situated near to the island of Trinidad. She 
was of mixed race with white skin, curly hair and thick lips. While 
studying in England, she married Keith, a short, dark skinned native of 
Trinidad of African decent with a physique of a boxer. They both 
returned to Trinidad after receiving bachelors' degrees in England. 
Keith spoke with a typical Trinidad accent while Patsy spoke with an 
accent of Queen's English that baffled everyone including the British 
students at the campus. She continued using her acquired accent as a 
symbol of her overseas stint. 

On the very first day at the university, she inspected the laboratory
with authority and made comments about its untidiness. Then, she pasted 
little, neat notices everywhere in the lab that read “Keep the lab 
tidy,” “Clean up the desk after you finish work,” “Put all the pipettes 
on the rack,” “This is an analytical laboratory not a pigsty,” “The lab 
refrigerator is not for your personal use,” and so forth. These notices 
gathered much attention, and became the object of fun, and ridicule. 
After few days, Patsy removed the notices when she noticed obscenities 
written on them. She suspected the two East Indian lab technicians for 
the nasty scribbles on her notices. 

One day with no expression on her face, Patsy casually said to me “did
you know, there are lots of Indians in England, mostly shop keepers?” 

“No, I did not know that, I never visited England, I would like to visit
one day,” I said as if I was not paying too much attention to her 
comments. 

“Indians are everywhere, they spread fast like fig trees popping up
roots everywhere.” 

“There are lots of fig trees in India, but I didn't know they could
spread all the way to England,” I said, trying to be funny. 

Patsy perhaps came across for the very first time a wide variety of
immigrants in England, including scores of Indians from East Africa and 
India. These Indian immigrants in England were relatively self-reliant 
as traders, shopkeepers, professionals, and some even occupied affluent 
positions in the society. Back in Trinidad, the East Indians, native 
sons of the Island are self-reliant as small traders. Patsy came across 
as a person who never had the opportunity to observe this trend of 
self-reliance among the Indian diaspora, and perhaps this made her to 
remark about Indians spreading like fig trees. 

Patsy couldn't put up with the two East Indian technicians in the
laboratory as they mocked her phony British accent. She moved to an 
adjacent laboratory to continue her work. I saw her husband Keith 
several times on the campus, and he looked at me suspiciously as if I 
were responsible for his wife's move from the laboratory where I worked 
along with the East Indian technicians. 

With her educational training in England, Patsy could have contributed
more to the society in her small-impoverished Island nation. Instead, 
with her husband she chose to settle in prosperous Trinidad. On the 
Campus, she was more at ease with white students than native 
Trinidadians particularly of East Indian descent. Her remarks on Indian 
merchants in England and Trinidad, and her treatment of East Indian lab 
technicians showed that she considered her fellow blacks, and few 
whites - the former masters as true native inhabitants of Trinidad, and 
the others such as East Indians as transients interested in only making 
money. 

Tommy Towamba and his wife were happy to be in Trinidad as graduate
students from an East African Country. They both were from an East 
African country ravaged in internal turmoil. 

Tommy behaved with utmost respect towards me, I was not sure whether it
was because I was senior to him as a graduate student. 


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