Anita and Me


Meera Syal

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Mr. Turvey (“Mr. Topsy”) Character Analysis

Meena nicknames this neighbor “Mr. Topsy” because he insists on calling her “Topsy,” which he claims is easier to pronounce than her real name. Mr. Topsy—whose real name is Mr. Turvey—speaks Punjabi and impresses everyone by communicating with Nanima. Instead of lauding Britain’s colonial enterprise, he proves thoughtful and compassionate by admitting that Britain’s actions in India were criminal, but that Indians are wonderful people. He becomes an example of the way in which having direct contact with people’s history breeds tolerance and generosity.

Mr. Turvey (“Mr. Topsy”) Quotes in Anita and Me

The Anita and Me quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Turvey (“Mr. Topsy”) or refer to Mr. Turvey (“Mr. Topsy”). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oberon Books edition of Anita and Me published in 1996.
Chapter 8 Quotes

Mr Topsy/Turvey watched her with devoted eyes. ‘I served in India. Ten years. Magical country. Magical people. The best.’

‘Shouldn’t have bloody been there anyway, should you?’ I muttered under my breath. ‘Who asked you to lock up my grandad and steal his chickens?’

I was by now walking fast, making Nanima puff and trot a little to keep up, but I could still hear him shouting behind us, ‘We should never have been there. Criminal it was! Ugly. You look after your nan! You hear me, Topsy!’

Related Characters: Meena Kumar (speaker), Mr. Turvey (“Mr. Topsy”) (speaker), Nanima
Related Symbols: The Big House
Page Number: 222
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mr. Turvey (“Mr. Topsy”) Character Timeline in Anita and Me

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Turvey (“Mr. Topsy”) appears in Anita and Me. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Culture and Belonging Theme Icon to grow fresh herbs that she uses in her Indian cuisine. She passes by Mr. Topsy ’s house. She calls him Mr. Topsy because he calls her “Topsy,”—he says he cannot... (full context)
Chapter 8
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Culture and Belonging Theme Icon
Racism and Violence Theme Icon
When the man whom Meena calls Mr. Topsy arrives, everyone is shocked to hear him speak Punjabi with Nanima. Meena then discovers that... (full context)