Maya Malhotra

Born: 27th January 1937

Agra, India

Date of interview: 7th June 2006

Map showing where Maya Malhotra came from

When you had the baby ... were you?

Em ... the baby having the baby and that was another experience because ... baby first child, I did not know about all this labour pain though my doctor was very, very nice, he explain to me all this and how the labour pain will start. I spent all night at home you know turning tossing and in the morning my husband asked me 'You haven't slept all night, shall I go to work or shall not I go to work?' I said 'No you go to work.' And because a week before when my doctors checked me, only a week before he test me, 'Don't bother if you don't have your baby on the date we are telling you.' I said 'Why not?' He said 'Because your baby is not developed enough.' So he went ... so I packed up my bag and everything the week before. And then my husband left home, gone to work, if I ... his office wasn't too far so he was just walking to work.

And as I recall I went, very few minutes I went to the loo and I can see some ... blood coming out. I thought 'Oh my God, now I have to go.' And I remember in those days we used to use old sixpence for the phone so I have two sixpence piles and told the lady who was in the same house, living in the same house. I say 'Can you Margaret do a favour to me?' She said 'What?' I say 'Can you ring my husband please.' So I gave her two sixpences, I said 'One you can use to ring my husband and another for the ambulance.' She said 'All right.' She took it, and went to make a phone call, because he was already on the way so she couldn't, she couldn't get hold of him at the work, but she used the second sixpence to call the ambulance, and come back and tell me that 'I call the ambulance, they will be here in a few minutes but I can't talk to your husband.' I said 'Please' and gave her another sixpence, said 'Will you please ring my husband.' She said 'I will do it now when I take my children to school' ... it was early in the morning, so 'Fine.'

And the ambulance people came here in no time ... so, we, I ... ask me 'How are you?' I said 'Fine.' 'So are ... can you walk down?' I said 'Yes I can walk down.' So when the ambulance man was there, he was very cheerful man, he said 'Isn't anybody coming with you?' I said 'No, there is nobody to come with me. [laughs] At that time I really wanted to cry, for I come from a big family like this and nobody to go with me, so ... Then he said 'Don't worry, we are with you.'

So I went in the ambulance. So they took me to Dellwood Hospital, and I was greeted by a very very stern nurse and who tell me off that she said 'Why do you spend all that time at home?' And I couldn't tell her why I spend all that time I was at home ... She should have understand that's my first child, I don't understand. And she said 'You spend all that time at home, you will have ... baby in no time.' And in my mind I was glad that I have baby in no time, what's the problem? And she says to me 'Now you go and have a bath' and she send me to bath and at that time I don't want to take a bath, and she made me go in the bath. I say 'All right.'

The baby was born in hospital ... So that was a different ... that is I think the first time I really sorely missed my home because ... though I want to be brave and not to say anything to anybody, but I can come from a family like this, and here at this time nobody's with me. I'm all by myself, nobody's going to do anything for me. And that was a difficult time ... But after the baby is born I found everybody was very helpful, the nurses and ... once they knew that I could speak English their attitude have changed.