Chinese by nationality, Indian by heart in New Delhi

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New Delhi, Feb.15 (ANI): While people in China marked the Lunar New Year with cheer and much enthusiasm on Sunday, ethnic Chinese living in New Delhi did not. The reason being having spent most of their life here in India, today these families consider themselves more overwhelmed by Indian spirit than the Chinese.

Septuagenarian Chun Sean Hugh is a Chinese by nationality but is well versant in Hindi, India's national language. He relishes spicy Indian dishes available here.

He is a co-owner of a shoe shop in South Delhi and running it for last 52 years successfully.

While listening to him speaking in Hindi, it's literally improbable for anyone to distinguish him from any other native Indian, if physical appearance is left aside for some time. By language he simply doesn't look like of Chinese descent.

Like most Chinese in India, Hugh's father and uncle came to Kolkata on a boat during the British Raj.

"My uncle would send a couple of hundred rupees back to my grandmother (in China), who was always very happy with it. And people (there) would say: "Oh! look money from India!" And those 200 rupees would bring a barrel full of Chinese currency. So that made people say I must go out and try my luck."

He tells today a number of VIPs visit his shop for shoe repairing. He says the list even includes various Ambassadors to India, who wear international shoe brands.

Hugh tells that he chose the trade, as there was not much professional choice for the Chinese living in India at the outset.

"We were not trained as shoemakera. We had no knowledge of shoemaking or familiarity with any kind of technology. These people, who landed in Calcutta, wanted to make a living. And for that they had to pick up a trade. Now in India, leather touching or dealing with leather was something the upper caste would not do. Only the Muslims were doing it at that time. So our people had no choice but to enter that field to make a living," said Hugh.

But these people feel things are gradually changing.

Many Chinese here have moved from the shoe trade to hospitality industry, beauty care and even Information Technology sector.

Peter Lu, Managing partner of Jerry Wong Noodle House in central Delhi, decided not to enter his grandfather's leather trade and rather try his luck at the restaurant business.

Lu's two children are members of a band and don't plan to continue his business.

"My children have no intention of continuing this business. Their awareness is much more than us. As parents, we can't say that you do this and improve in our own family business." By Damanjeet Kohli (ANI)

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