…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menosukhi moments...Knowing Nigeria - the departure

Time to round off the Nigerian chapter and this is best done by now looking at the family situation...hence it fits into menosukh.

As mentioned early in the piece, the family was divided due to this move.  Literally. Mac1 and Mac2 were placed in an Edinburgh boarding school. Their stories cannot be told by me.  I do know that having them come and stay for the school holidays was always a high point.

It is pehaps a telling fact that amongst my scanned photos, a heavy portion is devoted only to family portraits. Whenever the girls were with us there was lots of quality time spent together.

We learned, as a family, how to be together after being apart. It could be tricky. It was essential though and there is no doubt that an essential part of the 'glue' was our mother.  What it cost her to say goodbye and send the girls back to school each time only she can ever have known.  We learned, as a family, how to say goodbye and know that it was not an ending, that we would come together again.

A bit like a concertina of love and hugs.  We learned, as a family, that separation is not necessarily akin to loss.  No matter how it can feel so at times.

During this time Mac3 was home-schooled; mostly by mother and occasionally by myself. Even this had to end though.  There came the time of further separation.  He had to be placed in boarding school also.  This was when I also returned to Scotland, as his guardian. It is interesting that I cannot recall much of this particular event.  Don't know that I had any say as such, but am also fairly sure I didn't kick and scream.  It just was what it was.

In the early summer of 1978 the big move was made.  An Edinburgh flat was purchased as my base and a centre for the family to gather.  It had not been our home till that time, but it proved to be a good place to establish. 

The parents continued their 'tour of duty' in Nigeria.  During my time there we had been through one minor and one major military coup, complete with curfews and guns, and death of the Oba of Benin, involving another three-day curfew, machetes and a lot of blood-curdling sounds. The new capital of Abuja was still under construction... and the vast majority of Nigeria's citizens simply wanted to live life as any human being on this planet wishes to do.

Africa was not done with us though.


  1. I wonder if the great sense of family responsibility came to the children as a result of living in that compound, or from your mother's "glue."

  2. I love family histories. Such stories.

  3. Interesting family history, living in so different part of the world so much more interesting than mine but still I enjoyed my childhood too.

  4. I always wanted to live at a boarding school. Most likely to an overdose of Enid Blyton! But I guess that if I would have had to, it would have been a different matter!

    Was there no international school at the time that your siblings could have attended?

  5. This is an enthralling series of posts, Yam, opening a window into such a different way of life. It can't have been easy for your parents to have such divided loyalties - family responsibilities versus work commitments.

  6. Hari OM
    Thanks, all, for your interest. International schools did exist, Mara, but they never popped up on our radar!


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