In Australia I Will Be… profiles some of the hard-working migrants who are integrating into Australian society and making a positive impact on those around them.

“In Australia I will be…” is a series of stories collected in collaboration with the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) at North Metropolitan TAFE. Four AMEP students underwent a series of storytelling workshops at the Centre for Stories to learn the art of positive storytelling to empower them for training and employment opportunities.

These stories profile some of the hard-working migrants who are integrating into Australian society and making a positive impact on those around them.

Niru Singla arrived in Australia from India three and a half years ago. She has a Bachelor of Arts and an Advanced Diploma in Fashion Design and hopes to one day enter the Australian fashion industry.

Portrait of a woman with long black hair standing in front of a blue wall and smiling at the camera.
Photo: Charlotte Guest

[Transcript]

So, good morning, my name is Niru Singla. I was born and brought up in a typical Indian family where parents keep their kids like a treasure, and nobody can harm them—very protective and secure environment. So, my father is the same, he used to give us each and everything in our comfort zone. For example, like for schooling and college also, he used to write my application for leaves and each small things. I just had to go there and attend the class. If I had to take a leave, he used to write the letter to the teacher, and everything he used to take care of—I don’t need to do anything. I just had to attend the classes. And other thing also, like going out to buy something or something I required, he just said, “You just tell us what you want,” and that’d be in your hand.

So, growing up in that kind of environment—I did my college and graduation and everything over there, in a small city of India. And then we moved to another place for my father’s job and we shifted to a northern part of India. And we—over there, also I did my fashion designing. But here my father didn’t take the charge what I have to do, but my little sister used to do everything for me. So same thing, I just need to go to the classroom and do my stuff.

So, after finishing my fashion designing, I met with my husband. And that’s arranged marriage, so my father finalised the groom and he asked me to meet him and just talk to him. I met him and he was the same person like my father, but a bit of freedom and independence. And I really liked him. But after my marriage I shifted to another city, bigger than the earlier one. And we restarted our life over there. And I was blessed with two kids over there and taking decisions by myself.

My husband, he just told me that you have to do it by yourself, “I’m there to help you, to guide you, whatever you need, but you have to do by yourself.” So over there one day I have to take a domestic flight to my home city, so he asked me, “If you want to go with me you have to wait, you have to cut down your days of going there.” So I said, “No, I want to go alone. I just want to spend time with my mum and my father.” So he said, “Okay then go by yourself.”

I called my father and said, “I’m coming and I’m alone, coming over there.” And he said, “No, no, no, don’t come. Just come with him and anyways if he’s coming for one day or two days, you can come with him.” And I said, “No I want to come and I’ll come.” So we decided that I’ll go by myself. And it’s a domestic flight, two hours flight. But after landing there my father was so upset he said, “Don’t come again. You have to be with him—you have to be with someone who can take care of you. Please don’t come again alone, in any circumstances.”

So next time what I decided is don’t tell them that you’re going! But it was a good experience for me, personally, going by yourself, independently taking your own flight, only a two hours flight. So everything went well and we shifted here in Perth, Australia. And life was not easy over here. You have to do all your stuff by yourself and taking decisions, going to my daughters’ school, managing by myself everything, each and every small thing by myself, but it was a good experience. But last year for my brother’s wedding, I have to go alone again because same problem—my husband can’t go earlier for one month because of work commitment. So we decided to go with my kids, but this time I decided not to tell them [my parents] and that I’m coming to my mum.

And I took the flight, went to airport and everything was going okay. But when I was in flight, I called my mum that I’m coming. He [my father] was literally very, very upset and she [my mother] was like, “No, no, no, no, you don’t have to come. Why are you doing this? I can’t do anything when you are in the air. I can’t do anything if there is something wrong happen. Please don’t take that flight, come with your husband.” Suddenly the flight attendant made an announcement that there was a technical problem in the flight, and there’s a delay of one hour or something. Luckily my mum, she didn’t understand because of the language. She was like, “What happened? What happened? What’s that announcement? Is everything okay?” She was so much panicking over there. And I said, “Okay mum just relax, I’ll be with you like 14 hours, just relax.” And she was like, “Okay, just take care of yourself.”

And it was a connecting flight so a hold off for 6 hours in Singapore. I was going with my younger daughter and everything went really well over there. Also, waiting in the airport and taking another flight—and so everything was fine. And after landing to India, Delhi airport, it feels so much of confidence and good about myself—that, “Yes, I can do it!” And nothing wrong going alone and doing stuff by yourself. And when I reached to my mum’s place, she was like, “Oh my big daughter now she’s here and she can travel alone, and she can take care of some other person also. Look, she can travel.” She was so much proud and telling everyone, my sisters and my brothers. “Oh you’re in a different world now, you can do by yourself your work, it’s so good.” So much of confidence that gives me, and I was so happy.

And that taught me that taking decisions and being independent is so important. And one more thing I learnt was that my father was a leader. He just did everything by himself and he was a strong personality. And just by looking at him, I learnt so many things. Even if he didn’t teach me those things, just by looking at him he was taking decisions for his family, everything. So that’s inside me, to do things by yourself and taking decisions. And hopefully in here Australia, I’m looking forward for a better and confident future. Thank you so much.

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