Wednesday, 2 March 2016

The Patels and the Asanis - Family Friends for Life!

The Patels and Asanis in Mombasa where we made some amazing memories!

We celebrated lots of birthdays in Mombasa.
Both my sisters and I as well as Michelle and Uncle Ramesh have birthdays in April.
One year we took this delicious chocolate cake from the Hilton bakery all the way from Nairobi to Mombasa on the train. and while waiting to put it in the dining car fridge, one us sat on the box.  It did eventually get to Mombasa, a little smashed, but still delicious! 

Swimming in the Indian Ocean.

Sheena and my mum

Ramesh, Tina, Solomon, Michelle, Sheena and Tiku are names we will hold in our hearts forever. We may not have seen each other in years, but our friendship is forever!

Our parents, Amin and Sully met the Patel parents, Ramesh and Tina before the Patels were married and my mum says the friendship was forged then.

My first memory of the Patels is at Sheena's first birthday party in Nairobi in a maisonette on Waiyaki Way. It was a big party, with lots of people and they had the famous magician clown, Rodrigues. I also remember their Alsation (what German Sheppards are called in Africa), Kira and her pups.

They moved to Mombasa shortly after because Uncle Ramesh's family owned a salt mine and factory, Fundisha Salt works and he went to run it.

Their first house in Mombasa was Madhvani House. It was in town, very close to the tusks and it was huge! I remember celebrating Christmases there.

Posing with Sheena in front of the famous Mombase tusks! We loved sharing each others' clothes!

Their next house close to the railway tracks. That's where Tiku was born. I think one day Soly was playing on the sofa above where Baby Tiku lay and rolled over him. He got in big trouble, maybe a beating too!

Sudi, their cook was the cutest little Swahili man. He was always laughing and always smelled of alcohol. Auntie Tina would never let him go because she had a big, caring heart. My mum said when Michelle was little, he'd dress her up like a doll. The tall, skinny Elvina was their house help who looked after the children for many years.  They also had a cook, Peter who cooked delicious Indian food!

The Patels were wealthy, they had lots of businesses and lived in beautiful houses and went to private schools. As kids it was amazing living their lives or a short period of time. Can you imagine seven kids (three of us and four of them) about the same age spending holidays together with not a care in the world? Those were amazing times! Our holidays were every four months (April, August and December) and we'd hop on the train from Nairobi and make our way to Mombasa to spend our holidays with the Patels.

Taking the train from Nairobi to Mombasa for the holidays.

Farah and Tiku on the train

They had a driver and a pick up truck that were at our disposal. All the kids would hop into the back of the pick up.  In the Western world, you would need seat belts, but in Mombasa, it was perfectly fine for a bunch of underaged kids to sit in the back of a pick up with no seat belts and no adults. Mombasa is hot and humid, right on the Indian Ocean and so the breeze in the back of a truck was amazing and of course we'd stick our heads out in the traffic! The driver would take us all sorts of places; swimming to Reef Hotel and Nyali beach, to the lighthouse for cassava crisps, to BR (Blue Room) for ice cream, to the market for mahamri (mandaazi - jelly donuts :)), to Husseini Bakery (HB) for biscuits. My heart sings when I think of those times. We were like brothers and sisters!

Cassava chips at the Lighthouse
We were scared of Uncle Ramesh, he was the strict one, so we'd go crazy during the day and as soon as he got home, we were quiet and very well-behaved!

Uncle Ramesh. He looks just like we remember him, except for the silver top.
They then moved to a beautiful house in Nyali. They had a swimming pool and a huge terrace and lots of rooms and they were closer to the beach. We didn't always go to the beach because we just  had fun hanging out and goofing around!

Goofing around! Looks like we raided Auntie Tina's cupboard and had a fashion show!
Yes, that's me in a fur coat!
Tiku photo bombing!

On the balcony at the Nyali house!

The Patels kids went to Mombasa Academy. They had lots of other friends and we got to meet some of them over the years. In fact Soly and Sheena both ended up marrying childhood friends! Soly married Rakhee who was their doctor friend's daughter and Sheena married Paulo who she went to school with.

Auntie Tina was an angel. She was beautiful, kind and fun and she had a heart of gold. She called everyone 'Dahling'. She was a singer and had sang professionally. When she sang Malaika, your heart just melted. I can close my eyes and see her!

Miriam Makeba singing Malaika. I wish we had a recording of Auntie Tina singing Malaika!

The lovely Auntie Tina! RIP Dahling!
Auntie Tina, like my dad loved spice. So one day they set out to have a pili pili ho ho (tiny chillies, so spicy that they could fly you to the moon!) competition, to see who could take the most heat! I don't know who won, but they each ate 20!

The Patels are back in Mombasa again and we are a world away, but Whats App has brought us together again, reliving all those beautiful memories from years ago!

Auntie Tina and my dad, two beautiful souls passed away but I have no doubt that they are sitting with their feet in the sand having a smoke and talking about the next pili pili ho ho competition!

Both Auntie Tina and my dad in this picture along with my mum and kids - from left Michelle, Faiza, Auntie Tina, Soly, Farah, my mum holding Sheena and my dad.
Tiku probably born yet and I don't where I was - probably taking the photo.

March 3rd, Day 13 of 50 would have been Auntie Tina's birthday. 
This blog is timely and in honour of her and this great friendship between our families. 

Meeting Sheena after 21 years in 2010 and it was like we had never been apart!

Sisters! Michelle and Sheena.
The Baby, Tiku all grown up!

Soly and Rakee

Sheena and Paulo

The next generation:

Antonio, Kahzmir and Christian playing in the sand as their mums (Sheena and me) would have years before!

Michelle's kids, Shania and Shahir

Soly, his son and daughter, Tara

Uncle Ramesh, Sheena, Rakhee and Michelle's son

Farah's kids, Omar and Iman

Thank you for sharing Day 12 of 50 with the Patels and the Asanis!


  1. So cool! I hope that you will get to see the Patels again soon!

  2. Great! Tears rolling down!So glad Kahzmir got to meet The Patels!

  3. Joyous tears!! Memories of lifelong friends! Mombasa - lighthouse and fresh cassava chips Yummy is one of my favourite places and the tusks!

  4. Love love love the pic with Kahzmir and the kids.