LANDED Immigrant Story House of Bilimoria

LANDED Immigrant Story

LANDED Immigrant Story

Born from a fascination with the journeys that have created identities that are embedded with facets of cultural hybridization...

With a view to find what connects us to the land that we are living in, and what that means for who we see ourselves as. 

I am Canadian born, to a mother who was born in Kisumu, Kenya. A father that was born in Mumbai, India. With ancestors that were born Gujarat, India.

Immigrant story collage girl with travellers palm tree

I look up towards the lineage that makes me who I am today, and wonder, is it what makes me who I am?

The sense of displacement is what has led me into deeper enquiries into my own sense of self and being. Looking not only for pieces of myself in surroundings, but that grounded feeling of ‘home’.

Here is where the notion of LANDED comes into my world. 

Does anyone resonate with that feeling of when the plane touches down on the tarmac, you watch as the ground comes closer and closer to you, and as you land something in your core attaches itself to that place?

It’s a feeling that I haven’t the words to comprehend, it’s a spirited emotion. It’s me. 

The house has landed… 

At first embarking on this ‘new collection’ felt like something that was necessary, that I hadn’t done in some time, that expression had shifted - and it was time to create something that felt in synergy with breaking free of some bonds that had trapped my creativity. 

That was at the start of 2020, and now, a good year and a quarter on from when I wanted this to emerge, it's finally come together. What I didn’t realise then, was that the journey of working through this is much more than arriving and more the continuous walk that life will take me on. 

Passport stamp Kisumu Kenya Diaspora Journal Immigrant Story


I’ve collected, read, collated information, whispers, experiences that have crafted and curbed this collection into what it is. Whatever I thought it was at the start, it wasn’t and now that it is here it’s everything that is also just a start of exploring and the continued growth throughout this journey. 

So, here is where I begin, this story that is LANDED. All it is, all it’s been and how this house has finally fully- reached its grounded place.

I hope you will find something that has your spirit feel at home here. Within LANDED there may be something that your spirit will connect with. 

After all, the connections are continual and deeper then we actually realise, day to day. 

That palm you walk past on your daily commute, where was its origin and where did it begin. Who chose? To take it from its natural habitat and have it grow in so many continents and countries?

What if, our beauty is also grounded, and rooted this simply. That, by tapping into what our deepest sustenance is we are able to emerge in every ounce of what we were sent into this world as. That it hasn’t got to be in a particular place, or space. 

The UK is where I have had to deal with my biggest sense of displacement, this is what had led me on this long journey of a discovery of self, and within that has come looking internally at all the events that have seemed to make me, me. 

Canadian passport stamp, immigrant landed, immigrant story, diaspora dialogues, storytellers

The stamp on the passport, ‘IMMIGRANT LANDED’, is in a sense where my point of reference of birth comes from. Does it truly make me a Canadian? Not really. And that was the identity I hung onto tightly as the plane left that ground in 1998. To then be what felt like was ‘thrown’ into the helms of a very different way of life here in the UK. 

Adapting, assimilating, yet also, challenging every ‘norm’ I bumped up against throughout my young adult years- there were, name changes (for those that know, you know, and for those that don’t- in another entry), town changes, friend circle changes, style changes. Reinventing myself is something I did almost daily. 

But what made me and makes me who I am- it is all the places that I have LANDED

I have had the joy, and beauty of being married, divorced, engaged, and with two beautiful daughters that grew inside of me with the genes of lineage that goes beyond my own. 

That is spirited. 

It’s something that binds my heart to those places. Which leads me to want to learn more about- how- we are all connected. 

Throughout all of these journeys that I have taken myself, either physically, mentally or spiritually. There finally has come a place and time where I have learned that the only place one needs to land is within. 

In that, the final ‘straw’ as it were, is to come really face to face with the parts of me that I never wanted to ever admit ran my show. What the running, and recreating was all about, and that was, hiding from the fact that trauma had me stuck. Stuck in the brain of a possible 4 year old, 9 year old, 13 year old… I’d landed in the lap of a PTSD diagnosis, which is what I am now working my way through. 

To be trauma informed but not trauma consumed, which what I know now through some therapy is, is that I was in fact trauma consumed. 

Coming face to face with the reality that what I have endured, watched, experienced is trauma. No matter how much of the patriarchal social system can say its ‘normal’. 

‘It’s okay for one to behave that way, everyone has had a few…’

Well that's not true, and this was much more than that. 

Inside ourselves is the whole universe, I have come to learn this and understand that, a feeling of calm has washed over my spirit. We have the power to create, understand, learn, break free of cycles, systems and stand in somewhere new. 

Grounded, landed in yourself, and therefore paving the way for the generations to come. 

So, after all this, and the start of the new direction, which is the collection that is LANDED, I am saying, it’s time for this house to transform itself into something that is more than all the journeys it’s travelled on through the years. 

It’s come home, and with that wants to bring you a sense of home

This will translate itself to you, with the simplest, most homely garment I love, that connects people, places, eras, journeys. 

The Shirt.

Shirt maker immigrant story diaspora old Indian photograph nostalgia

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