WHEN he was 26 years old, Kanti Tailor became a man without a state.
Mr Tailor had spent most of his life in Uganda but, in October 1972, the African nation expelled every man, woman or child of Asian descent.
Mr Tailor, his wife Pushpaben and his young son Neelesh were given 90 days to leave the country.
People with Indian or Chinese ethnicity were being harassed by the army and it soon became unsafe to live in the country, Mr Tailor said.
Although he had held British citizenship at one point, Mr Tailor had renounced it in order to become a Ugandan citizen and move forward professionally.
When the government of Uganda cancelled his citizenship, he became stateless.
That same year, however, he successfully applied for an Australian visa. A teacher by trade, he originally went to Sydney before landing his first job at Sacred Heart in Shepparton.
He soon found himself teaching chemistry, biology, maths and science at Waverley High School and later at Glen Waverley High School.
In the midst of establishing a new life, the Clayton resident and his wife also decided to start an Indian grocery store called Truspice in 1984.
At the time, there were only a handful of Indian people in Melbourne but a few grocery stores that catered to their needs.
Although business was initially slow, the store soon became the place to go for the expat Indian community and customers would come to Clayton from as far as Werribee, Keilor and Mill Park just to shop.
By 1989, Truspice had became so popular that Mr Tailor resigned his job to work at the business full time.
As the Indian community grew, MrTailor found that newcomers had problems finding rental properties and jobs. He understood where they were coming from after having gone through the same experiences.
With the aid of a local real estate agency, Mr Tailor helped new arrivals find homes.
“That is our nature: to help newcomers,” he said.
Today, although he and his wife have retired from the business, Truspice still remains a cornerstone of the Indian community.
Truspice will appear in the Immigration Museum’s exhibition Open for (more than) Business, which will showcase the role local businesses play in migrant communities.