Maya Malhotra

Born: 27th January 1937

Agra, India

Date of interview: 7th June 2006

Map showing where Maya Malhotra came from

So what was Reading like as a town in 1970?

It was ... it was quite nice and friendly, don't ... the real ... I think now I have seen all the changes in Reading since then and some areas you can't even recognise it now. Because that even the Howard Street area where I got my house and is all this Castle Hill area, they have quite a bit changes there.

And you know, I was booked into Dellwood Hospital, that was Dellwood Maternity Home when I came first. [pause] The first impression of that hospital ... in the hospital there. It was a maternity home not a hospital and I went to visit there, the very first time, when I moved to this town because my doctor in Cornwall said 'Whatever you do when you go to Reading the main, first thing you find a doctor for yourself. First thing you book yourself in a new ... place because Reading I know it will be crowded you won't get a place there and you are very late stage of pregnancy so you must do that as soon as you reach to Reading.' So they book, I find a doctor where I was, I was living at that time, and then he booked me to maternity home, the first ... So when I went my first visit that was very, very [pause, takes a deep breath] I should say at that time, I felt very bad the way the nurses have talked to me.

Well my husband have started a new job as I told you so he couldn't take time off to go with me and anyway, from the very beginning he left me very independent, he said 'You can do it. You can never go anywhere with me, you know even to go to' ... When I came, in this country when we were in Cornwall he gave me his first cheque of his scholarship and he said 'Look this is my money I get and ... now it's up to you how you manage it, you go and open account wherever you want and this is the, you know this is my income, is all right.' I asked him 'Will you come with me to your bank to open account?' 'No you can do it yourself.' I went and opened the account and he never bothered me after that. 'Cause what you get what you haven't got, you know what I get, all right.'

So, going to visit the hospital first time, I went on my own. I didn't have ... a car at that time so where I went, find out where which bus goes there and I went, I clearly remember it was winter evenings when I be there, the snow was everywhere and I would get down from the bus walking to the maternity home. And when I reached there greeted by a nurse to give her my card that I had, 'It is my appointment I came for that.' And the very first thing she said 'Can you speak English [crossly]?' I say 'Yes.' 'All right, that's all right then' she says and she took me inside and show another nurse. And she says to her 'This woman says she speak English.' And I felt so bad about it. I said 'What does this mean, this woman says she speaks English.' [laughs] And the nurse asked me 'Where do you learn to speak English? [laughs] I said 'No don't you worry I just come here for check-up, you just check up, I'm not going to talk to you after, where I learned from.' I'm not a person like that but that day I felt like it.