Singh Nandra moved from India to England in 1981. In the 1980s the
NHS were not encouraging foreign doctors and for a number of reasons
Kalambir was unable to complete British registration. He moved from
London to Sheffield in 1988 and ran a grocery shop. Since 1991 he
and his wife Bobbi have managed Ellesmere Post Office. Kalambir
is an accomplished musician, and plays both the Sarangi and the
violin to traditional Indian Music. He has two daughters aged twelve
is your idea of happiness?
Happiness is something you can find anywhere. You don’t have
to chase happiness – you find it inside. Some people never
find happiness, wherever they go they always find fault in the system.
We try to mix with everybody here and respect them – they
respect us back. That’s where I find my happiness.
is your greatest fear?
At the moment I have different fears. My fears change. I fear the
way government is attacking the Post Offices. The Post Office is
the heart of the community. Older people, people who speak all the
different languages, people come in and look for me because I can
talk in Urdu or Hindi – I can understand them better. I want
to carry on but if all the services end up with the banks, our business
goes down and down.
do you dislike about yourself?
Apart from my appearance, I have a disappointment. I qualified as
a doctor and it is very hard work to get this degree. I can’t
do this work, not because I’m not good enough to do it, but
because I was branded ‘not good enough’ because I came
from a different country. Working in India you see so many diseases
and so many patients – there is a demand to diagnose quickly
do you dislike about others?
I don’t think I have a disliking for any other people. I think
everybody is living to their own ability, whatever their own cultural
and social background. So if anybody is doing anything good or bad
it’s probably because they have been pushed into that. I don’t
think crime is their fault. I think it’s the way they have
been brought up in this society and they can’t see any other
makes you sad?
Sometimes in the Post Office you are helping somebody, and they
end up shouting at you.
is your earliest memory?
When I was 3 and a half I fell down the stairs, (concrete stairs
– they are not carpeted in India). I fell right from the top,
about fifteen steps, and cut my head. I still have the scar on my
forehead. About six months later, on 15th August, (the Independence
Day of India), we were going on the parade. Because my dad was the
Director of Archaeology we used to get special seats for the parade
in New Delhi. I woke up feeling really dopey and went in the kitchen
where my mum was boiling milk. I tripped over something and put
my full arm into the milk. My whole arm was burnt really badly and
all my fingers were individually bandaged for months. I have a lot
of good and bad memories
or who is the greatest love of your life?
Obviously, my family and my mother and father. As I am a musician
I have a few musical idols: my teacher Pandit Ram Narayan is one
of the highest-ranking Sarangi players in India. Whenever he comes
to England I try and get some more lessons from him. He is my idol
and I love him.
is your greatest regret?
Only that if I’d tried harder for another six months or so
I would be a successful doctor earning a lot more money.
do you relax?
Very easy – I just sit down, pick up my violin and play it
for one, maybe two hours, and this is complete relaxation.
single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A very successful career in music.
you could change one thing about Burngreave, what would it be?
I would try and bring the communities together, try and break down
the barriers so people understand each other. This would bring an
end to the clashes and the hatred. It is the single thing I would
like to do for Burngreave.
would you like to die?
I’d love to die in my own home. I wouldn’t like to die
on an aeroplane because they couldn’t trace my body. I’d
like my family to take care of me.
is the most important lesson life has taught you?
In your career, when you are choosing, you should have one track,
not two or three things in mind. I missed it with the medicine –
if I’d concentrated a bit more… although it worked well
for the music side. It was money – I didn’t have enough
money to concentrate on my medicine.
is your favourite journey?
In childhood, when I was in India, my journeys were entertaining.
My father used to have a jeep from the office and we would visit
monuments like the Taj Mahal for his work. We used to stay in guesthouses.
Getting in the jeep, stopping in villages, cafés at the side
of the road – interesting journeys.
living person do you most admire?
Alongside Pandit Ram Narayan, there is also Jagjit Singh Ghazak
– another legend in India and a famous Ghazal singer. He is
the best that Pakistan or India has ever produced.
would you like to be remembered?
As a musician.