My Parents and Siblings

About My Parents. I was born in Mumbai, India, on February 28, 1939.My father, Shakoor Hasham Patel, had been a farmer in the western Indian state of Gujarat before we migrated to Mumbai. My family consisted of 7 brothers and 4 sisters and I was the second youngest. Growing up in such a large family meant that if you didn't hurry for your lunch, you would miss getting any. There would be no fish or mutton pieces left. It taught me very early on to be on time!

My father became a very successful businessman, one of the richest men in the city. He was known as the King of Caps, on account of his cap manufacturing business. His factory manufactured millions of Gandhi caps, Nehru caps and fez caps, and distributed them all over India. Then came Partition in 1947.My father decided that my brother and I should move to England for our education. I was a little over 6. We boarded with a Scottish family he knew. They soon became 'mum' and 'dad' to me as I stayed with them until I turned 12. My Scottish upbringing impacted on my personality deeply. Living with the Scottish family, we learned how to be thrifty.

When I was 13,my father moved us to a boarding school in London. It was more convenient for him as he frequently visited London. The school was not as good as my Scottish school, but it compensated with its sports. I represented Sussex in table tennis and cricket. At 16,I decided to return to India to meet my mother, who I had not seen for all those years. It was an astonishing meeting because we did not know how to speak to each other. She could not speak English, and I had forgotten how to speak Hindi or Gujarati. We both cried and held each other.

I was Known as "Cascar Patel"
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