Contributed by: Maryam Ayub Adia
Barbodhan women at the wedding of Hafsa Atcha. Maryam Ayub Adia is standing on the extreme right.
Maryam grew up in Barbodhan, India; it was very nice, very hot, and very poor. She grew up with relatives and cousins, and used to stay up until late sitting on the porch.
Eight people used to share the house but her dad used to stay in Burma for most of the year. It was a very big house – 3 living rooms, kitchen, bathroom, toilet, big yard + 4 bedrooms and bathroom + big terrace.
She attended Barbodhan Pratmic School for 7 years, and left school when she was 12 years old. She was one of the first women to sit exams at 7 grade (12 years old). Schools were small back then; only 3 rooms with 7 classes, each class had 20 students, so roughly 100 to 120 pupils in total. In Maryam Adia’s class she was the only girl, studying with 10 boys, learning Gujarati and Hindi. Her mum was a housewife and father was a salesman in Burma – later he bought his own pottery shop.
Maryam used to entertain herself in the weekend and holidays with various craft activities like embroidery, sewing and knitting. Once a month she used to go shopping to Surat with her mother, and sometimes brother and sister. She would leave the house at 7.00 am and come home after shopping at 7.00 pm using public transport. Bus ticket used to cost 4 Anas, which is equivalent to 5p.
Back in those days Hindus and Muslims used to live in harmony.
Her grandad (Mum’s dad) was very rich in Burma. He used to have 2 cinema complexes and 2 shops and owned his own boat which they used to import and export goods.
She used to play katera (playing with stones and a ball) at school. Her job at home as a child used to be to clean the house. Sometimes she would wash clothes, and go to collect drinking water from a nearby well. She would also sew and do embroidering for people.
She got work after leaving school but never went, parents told her she was not to go to work because she was a woman.
She got married by telegram to Ayub Adia in 1961. She came to England in 1968. She had their first son in 1969, and second son in 1972. She got a part time job as a cotton winder in a mill in 1974. She has worked full time in Tootal.
In 1998, she retired and is now a housewife and a proud grandmother of three grandchildren, with a fourth on the way. She is currently 67 years old.
Nowadays, she does a bit of cooking, a bit of cleaning, napping and a lot of socialising and getting together with friends and relatives.