My parents didn’t tell me what was going on. Trying to hide the precariousness of our situation, they did their best to turn it into a game. It didn’t work. A flash of memory here. A recollection there. The inside of an empty flat. All glass windows and darkness flooding in from the cold outside. We were there with a man whom neither of my parents knew. He was white. I can remember wanting to sit down. Dreaming of sleep.Winter time, quite possibly. There was most likely rain. This was London, after all. It felt very late. And then the fear hit me. For I learned, though no one told me, the reason for us being there. With that man. We needed somewhere to live. Permanently. I looked once more at the black sky that contrasted so severely with the harshness of electric light. Time was running out. Though I had no idea what would happen if it did. Just that it would be something bad. Enought to almost make me wish that we could just stay there. In that space which was not a home. Not ours, at any rate. My mind went back to Teeto’s room. He was the young man whom both my parents knew. Brown. From ‘back home’. Possibly one of my dad’s former students. I can recall wondering what he was doing here in this other man’s land. How it was that he was explaining to my white mother the way things worked ‘over here’. Of course, I was too young to formulate such thoughts. But sometimes the mind feels what it can’t yet understand.It was there that I had my first biscuit in England. Yellow, sort of octagonal and salty. And just like that, my childhood self would forever know them as Teeto biscuits. His was a rented room in a house. It was all warm and toasty. There was a small electric bar heater. And maybe tea for the grown-ups. The next and last time that the three of us met him was here in Lahore. It must have been quite a few years later as, by then, I had started school. Sitting in a hotel lobby as, to my great delight, my mother cajoled him into trying a new beverage that was all the rage back in England. Lift Lemon Tea. Mrs Mono. Her reluctance at allowing us inside was palpable. Or, at least, that’s what I learned when I happened upon my parents chuckling over their encounters with her. My dad found it hilarious that she would forever be ‘commemorated’ on the street as the first person who made way for darkiesIt is funny to think of these snatches of memory and colour after so long. Especially as my conscious mind soon grew accustomed to telling my story as if it had only begun in England. But it couldn’t entirely bury snapshots of Pakistan. The odd glimpse of a beloved family pet dog. A person. Bougainvillea. But more than anything, the pungent scents. These I took with me without even realising. I became wont to tell my mother that I liked this or that because it smelt of Pakistan.Our first and only house in London. Gants Hill. Beechwood Gardens. Number 35. It was somewhere that my parents bought and would be ours. Still etched in my memory is the little old lady who sold it to us. Mrs Mono. With her white hair pulled into a bun. She wore glasses and had crinkly blue eyes that belied her sternness. And she paid me absolutely no attention. We ended up visiting her two or three times. Always the longest conversations were held on the doorstep. With us on the outside. Her reluctance at allowing us inside was palpable. Or, at least, that’s what I learned later on; when I happened upon my parents chuckling over their encounters with her. My dad found it hilarious that she would forever be ‘commemorated’ on the street as the first person who made way for darkies. Inevitably, it was my mother who ended up winner her over. On the only occasion whereby I recollect us being invited over the threshold, Mrs Mono began showing us the crooked walls in the bedrooms upstairs. The house, she explained, had been bombed by Nazi warplanes. And the underlying message may have been something along the lines of how she was only selling us the property since she had already suffered enough. In truth, her husband may have died in the war. That was when my mother started doing most of the talking. It was most uncharacteristic. But there she was, sharing with Mrs Mono childhood memories of sitting terrified in air-raid shelters; waiting for the sirens to stop wailing. Of being evacuated, as most children were, to the countryside. And then the rationing, the powdered eggs. That was when Mrs Mono began to thaw, ever so slightly. For what she chose to see was this: that my mother, despite her ‘lifestyle’ choices still understood what it meant to be English. Whatever that might have meant. To any of us.And just like that, our small bi-racial family made London home. We were droplets in the Rivers of Blood that Enoch Powell had cautioned against. Today, it saddens me beyond belief that that the Windrush generation are being told to get out to keep Britain tidy. It simply won’t do. The writer is the Deputy Managing Editor, Daily Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets @humeiweiPublished in Daily Times, May 13th 2018.