Four years in Canada
Last week was my 4th anniversary of moving to Canada. Coincidentally, the other day, my blog along with 3 other blogs was featured on a website under the the post Canada has a future. In that post, the writer used the cases of the four of us to demonstrate how recent immigrants to Canada had not only succeeded, but also contributed to the enrichment of the Canadian society. This made me reflect upon my story.
In the conventional sense, perhaps I can be considered successful. In the past 4 years, I’ve finished an expensive masters degree, paid off my loans, found a partner, landed a job that I like and pretty soon I’ll be buying a house – looks glorious. That said, these four years have been far from perfect. I was stuck in a degree I didn’t fully like but finished only because it offered value for money. At one point, I was jobless, broke and had to resort to doing certain ‘jobs’ that I know my mother would disapprove. There were other events that I don’t want to write about here. Yet, I consider myself lucky when I hear horror stories of other immigrants – struggling with finances, facing language and race barriers, unable to adjust to the extreme weather, scared by the unfamiliarity, etc.
But forget about the material things like possessions and bank balance – these things come and go. If success is measured by inter-personal factors such as love, relationships, friendships, or societal factors such as respect, inclusiveness, equality, etc., then I do think I’m successful. And this success is attributed not to me, but more to Canada and Canadians.
There are lot of things that I still need to do and accept before calling myself a Canadian. While I consider myself sufficiently integrated in Toronto, the word ‘home’ still reminds me of India. I think that’s inevitable – afterall I’ve spent the first 25 wonderful and formative years of my life in Mumbai, India. I often wonder how I would have turned up if I had moved to Delhi, Moscow, Hong Kong, Berlin or somewhere random instead of Toronto. Would I feel at home? Probably not. Would I be able to live there. Certainly yes. I think I will be able to live happily in any society that is open to a certain degree. Living, afterall, is such a transitional thing. Aren’t all humans immigrants of some kind? It was only in the last few centuries that the concept of nation-state and boundaries was strictly defined. Prior to that, people moved. My ancestors probably came to India from Asia minor, humanity probably originated in Africa, I moved to Canada, its all random.
Four years back I made a decision before fully appreciating the consequences of it. But once I immigrated, there was no going back and I am very glad I went forward with it. I’m quite certain that it won’t be very long before I refer to Canada as “home.”
To put this in a cheesy way: Four years ago, I came to this country with only two suitcases of stuff and eyes full of dreams. Today, I have a home full of stuff and hundreds of dreams that have come true. Thank you Canada.