One year down, forever to go…

It’s been a year. 23 April 2018 will be etched in my milestones forever.

We made it here. To Canada.

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I never actually focused about where I would settle in my life. The place never actually crossed my mind to really think about. Hence, it made it easier for me to settle down in India soon after my marriage.

I had my concerns about staying in India. Too many to list. Let’s just say, it got to a point where, whenever we be driving up the Mehdipatnam bridge, I would look at the sky and say a silent earnest prayer to God, that someday, please make me drive this bridge ( it lead to the airport at the very end of it), only to fly away from this land forever. Please make me see that trip where I would go away from this place forever.

I read somewhere, and to this day I wholeheartedly believe, that a prayer made earnestly never goes unheard. There are always angels around who carry the prayer upwards.

God put me in that country for 6 years. For reasons I now understand. He wanted me to learn a lot of lessons in life, learn to identify different types of people and attitudes, cultures, lifestyle. All of it was so starkly different from how I was brought up. And hence, the yearning to make a change happened. But I never prayed for any place in particular.

I always loved the gulf. Saudi Arabia in particular. That’s all where I thought I wanted to be. But did not exactly yearn for it. My husband on the other hand, had his eyes set on Canada since the early months of our marriage. Or so I thought. He told me eventually that he wanted to move to the West since his teenage.

For me, the West was far fetched. I never even thought in the direction of how one would go there, live or do anything about it. I knew the Gulf like the back of my hand.

My husband tried his first attempt to Canada along with one of his friends, back in 2012. It did not work out. We were to be having our first baby together. We had bought our first car together. I was just learning the ropes of marital adjustment in a joint family.

He then tried his luck in Dubai and then in Qatar. Middle East was not cut out for his skill type. We then stopped trying for the Gulf. He did. I did not think much about moving anywhere yet. I made one visit to my parents home in Saudi Arabia with my daughter. It was just a one and half month trip and I was back home in India.

India was a huge challenge for me. But I kept going. Kept moving on. One fine day, in the middle of 2015, my husband began this process of Canadian PR visa processing. He decided that we both should be writing the IELTS exam. I had a solid Bachelors Degree and a wonderful job experience oversees. He had 9 solid years of experience in his industry along with a masters degree. And so I began the preparation for writing the exam. We both wrote it and we both aced it. Eventually we got the processing of our visa started. Our family wasn’t hopeful we would make it. They doubted our success. But then it happened.

On the September of 2017, our visas came in. My husband, me and our two kids. We had got the stamp to live and die in Canada forever. We had gotten the Golden Goose. The Canadian PR Visa.

We decided to fly out in April, to let out the snow season pass. Then came April. My father-in-law lost his parents at an early age. Hence, he was reluctant and super disappointed that we were flying away from him, and taking the kids with us too. For us, it was our future. Heartbreakingly though, we bid our families goodbye.

The journey to Canada and consequently this one year, was an eye opener. A huge block of learning for me. I got a lot of time on my hands to retrospect myself. To think who I actually am, what all I wanted out of life, what all I wanted to do for my kids. Everything. My equation with my husband. My life with him. My life with myself alone. Both of us got a better chance to parent our kids. We got closer to them. Understanding them better.

For the kids, they got into an amazing school, with amazing teachers and friends. They got a chance to play in the park in the open and breathe in fresh air with all green around them. They got to play in the snow. They got to play on the sand and water on the beach. They got a chance to have a great start at life. Almost all of it they would have been deprived of, had they been continuing back home. They miss their grandparents, their aunts and uncles, though. Every gain has a loss that comes with it. My husband and me are trying our best to make a vacation back home soon, so the kids can meet all the folks they have missed out.

Me? An Asian woman is separated from her parents and siblings the day she walks out of the marriage function hall with the groom and his family. To top that all, I lived in India for 6 years and my parents and siblings continued to reside in Saudi Arabia. I was stripped of their comfort for so long, it did not sting me much when I moved to Canada. Except, that my mom used to make atleast one trip every year to India, and once in a while dad used to come along too and I got to meet them. Sometimes my siblings came along with them too. This is the first full year without meeting anyone and I really miss mom.

Last met mom and my last 3 siblings 1 year ago. My dad, 2 years ago. And my brother, 6 years ago. We all are a close knit family. Whatsapp our medium of connection as always. But human warmth is a whole different thing. Still, I am used to loneliness and physical comfort deprivation. I am holding on. Moving on.

Canada has been a wonderful country since our arrival. I have made some new friends. Checked out a few places. Experienced all of the weather conditions. Loved every bit of it. Regret none of it.

It has been one year since….and forever many more to go…God listened to me on that bridge someday…and here I am….Thank you God.

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Pani Puri

Those who know me, know that this word is synonym for me. Like the first person who comes to their mind when they see this dish is to think of me.

I am that crazy about it. That crazy crazy. It is like my drug. My high.

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A little description: These are little fluffy all-purpose flour balls, that are broken on one side, chickpeas or green peas added in, tamarind paste added, and then dipped into this green chilly coriander herb mixed water. The more spicy it gets, the fun it is!

My memories of this dish in childhood is blurry. I picked up the taste in my early teenage. Back in Saudi Arabia, we lived in an exclusive Hyderabadi area. Among all the siblings of mine I was taken to this chaat dish. We had this Rafiq Uncle whose shop was behind our house. He and Raju Uncle made the most awesome pani puri and other chaat dishes like bhel puri, dhai puri and samosa chaat. They also sold this absolute awesome samosas. I used to go along with my little brother to get tea for my parents. They loved this amazing dum ki chai (Tea). For the life of me this Tea beverage never has fascinated me. I love coffee.

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Then one day my favorite shop closed down. Rafiq Uncle and Raju Uncle left the country. It was heartbreaking for me. I hunted around the area and found two new food joints that sold chaat. They couldn’t make it like those uncles. Eventually, I picked up the taste from Bombay Chowpatti.

In the days before my exit from the country, my dad told me that Rafiq Uncle was back and he has began working on opening up his own food joint. It was too late. By the time I left, the store was still to open yet.

Once back in India, my mother-in-law shared my love for chaat. She understood my passion for Pani Puri in particular and made sure she got it for me each time she went out. There were stores like Gharonda, Gokul Chaat, Eat Street, Dadu’s and lastly Agra Chaat, where my hubby took me to as and when I got those mad cravings.

Fast forward to 2019, I am here in Canada. Darkness always seeks light. Something like that. My soul craved Pani Puri all this while. We tried once at Lahore Chaat & Burger, but that being of a Pakistani cuisine did not touch those strings of flavour for me.

And then after much hunting, waiting, patience, we finally headed to, ironically, Bombay Chaupatti here in Canada. Every dry drop of my food deprivation was quenched at this store. I found that room in the home that everyone has as their cosy corner. My Pani Puri heaven.

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Fixed.

Yay! Hubby has fixed the laptop issue.

Do I remember what I wanted to write though. Nope. Erased out of mind.

Last trimester symptoms. Forgetfulness. I live in bliss. I am learning to live carefree mostly. So okay, I forgot what all I wanted to say earlier.

I have moved back to listening to songs. It is a phase. It will pass. Right now though, I am having fun, being carefree.

Maybe I should leave my laptop ready up in a position where I just need to press the power button, on this table side. Given a canvas, I can paint with my words. I love doing that. Writing, expressing, letting go.

Life does this eerie thing. Gives you bouts of sunshine, then sprinkles it with thundering snowstorms of problem. Some that are soul shaking. I had a meltdown two nights ago. Something he said. And my mind made a mountain of that molehill. Morning came and we swept that away.

Seek bliss. It is so good. Being carefree. Not thinking too much. Not feeling too much. Not holding on to anyone but self. Loving the self. Giving peace to the self. I did that. I made it feel okay for me to make mistakes, to forget, to do something in a wrong way, to say something that wasn’t meant to or impolite or that required less thought. I forgave myself. I said that okay I have done it. Now what. Move on. It has helped me loads. It has helped me take baby steps back to building myself.

Also no matter how detached I have made myself from my spouse, he still carries my heart around with him. I had put him before me, even before the kids. Wrong move. Now I gave each one of us the due place. All in line. No one ahead or behind. So much mental and spiritual peace. If he hurts me with his words or action, it does not destroy me so much. It does cause an earthquake within me. But it is easier now to stand back up and move on. God taught me one awesome trick. To find the knacks in repetitive events, actions and content. That’s what I did. I learnt what brings peace to me in times of turmoil. Silence. Does wonders. I love him. I always will. Just maybe not with all that gush and gusto. Unwillingly, not at all by own will, but just because of things he did and said, I had to make him climb down that ladder I placed him high upon. I used to be a hopeless romantic. Too gentle, too fragile. Nope. I have encased myself. Build those walls. Enclosed. He does remind me sometimes of how I used to be different. Nope buddy. Not going there again. Not doing that again. We are amazing this way. I look at you with the exact intensity you look at me. It is working. Wonders. Lets walk on this way.

On another note, my son is hearing great. All thanks to God. He is also now speaking smoothly in Urdu, and his English is picking up smooth. I just love his cute accent. He has become quite naughty and as boyish as a boy of his age could be. Charming!

My relationship with my daughter is working out better now. I have reprimanded myself as much as I can to be gentle with her. It worked out fine. I no longer yell at her or even try to hit her. We give each other hugs frequently. I don’t know why I used to push her away when she used to try to hug me. Now I am trying to hold her as close to me as I can. She does have some really annoying habits which keep adding faster than lessening. I try hard to explain to her in a loving way without messing up her self esteem.

Forward on…

Time passes.

Mine did. I was able to let go of the pent up anger in me. Nothing had been going my way. I got caught up in this messed up tirade of ungratefulness, annoyance and misguidance. I walked some paths of my being that I shouldn’t. But it helped. Helped to numb those unwanted senses.

As the snow and winter has subsided, the weather brightened up. My mood and my body feel so much better now. I got back my resilience. I am now able to gather myself up. Once again. Slowly. Piece by piece.

Canada is a beautiful country. Every street has its own charm and loveliness to it. My physical restraints stop me from exploring. I am also waiting to get a nice camera. Like a silly person, I left mine behind in India.

My phone, Samsung S6 Edge, has a good camera. But only for closeup pictures. Not scenic views and captures. It really frustrates me, I cannot paint, I forgot how to write poetry, I don’t have very good camera. There are so many scenes that cross me as I walk around town.

I am now prepping up to welcome a new family member next month. So many overwhelming emotions sweep me. The pros are that I do not have any mental stress that I had faced back home. Here, I can do things my way and my pace. But it is stressful. So I do not think about it anymore. I have put it up for the “Live in the now”.

Each time though, my mil keeps stressing about it on each call, emotionally taking me there again and again. Telling me she is constantly praying for me, for the ease in the birth and all that. God bless her. She prays for me. It is a good thing. The constant reminder of it though? It is like a huge bell toll to me.

Both my deliveries have left me with a bitter experience. Although my second one wasn’t that bad. But the hospital beds, needles, the helplessness, the pain, the poking, the frailness, the dependency. All of it like painful bits of memories that I had buried. I am trying not to get overwhelmed. Or stressed or worked up.

On another note, I am so glad hubby has got me this HP laptop. Finally it is a windows one. So much peace. The keyboard is so light. It resembles my Acer laptop a lot. Except that it is a bit heavy. But that’s okay. It doesn’t bother me much.

I had a lot to write. But the internet seems to be slow and the words are practically crawling like a fractured turtle on the screen. That has kind of erased my mind. I love to write. I love to type. I am hoping to buy an inkpen, inkpot and a nice journal to pen down my thoughts. Maybe next time I walk to walmart.

Really lost?…

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I am in that state of time in my life, where many things do not appeal to me any more. Some new things have me caught up. Like always, learning has always infatuated me. Learning new things, concepts, theories, lessons.

I recently got hooked to a series called as The Fifth Estate. A documentary on various interesting topics surrounding Canada.

While it originally began with some mysteries and crime, I hit up a video today about mental health.

The documentary was called The Boy Who Should Have Lived.

I was completely shattered watching it. It always unnerved me whenever I came across anything to do with children behavior, mental health or ignorant nutrition.

I have always have this constant check on myself if I am feeding my kids right, treating them right in behavior, providing them the right amount of love and learning in discipline without scarring them. It panics me, even if they just have a cough beyond three days or a cold that stays on.

It is a part of motherhood that I cannot take away from myself. I worry when they are in school that if they are okay and not hurt themselves somewhere in play or fight. It takes all my courage to make that morning walk back to home after dropping them at the school ground, in snow, in wind, in rain and even in sun. I keep telling God, I have left them in your care.

My heart and whole being softens when I see another child. It doesn’t matter whose child.

So when I saw this documentary today about a child who began having mental health issues of anger and behavior at age 9, it sent chills down my spine. The child lived upto 12 years of age, his parents tried every mental health support service they could find, every center that was meant for such kids, but in the end, the only place where he could be treated required them to pay a whopping 21,000$ a year for treatment and schooling, a failing support from the government, the child ended up taking his life.

He couldn’t stop his anger bouts, his frustration that got out of control where he broke his favorite things without realizing, the torment of mad voices in his head that wouldn’t stop, that wouldn’t let him sleep. So much, that he one day he felt to end the problem.

I was heartbroken. Such a charming boy Chazz. Such a loving home, such loving parents and siblings.

If there is a movement I would like to support in the world, it is Mental Health. There is no awareness. Even in this age of 2019. Recently my friend lost a known girl. A girl filled with ambition and life but somehow ended it. She was a victim of depression. And nobody understood her.

Why is this world so cold? How do you not heal someone who you can see around you isn’t being okay, like the rest of everyone around.

It is a scary feeling, the lonely demons inside of a soul have the power to destroy and take away a life.

I remember three kids in my school van, during my final school year. All three of them were always having their books open and were constantly studying, in the van, on the journey to the school. It was a 45 minutes drive, 1 hour with heavy traffic. I understand if we do have a test or exam that we aren’t really prepared about, so we would make use of that time to revise or grab some answers. It never worked for me. All the driving movement in the van would make my head dizzy. I could never learn or revise. But those three kids? Every day throughout the year I watched them study. Even on their way back to the home. Only one of them sometimes did not study. The girl was the eldest of the three, also being my sister’s classmate. The other two boys were younger. I finished school and moved on with my life. A year or two later my brother told me the middle child, he jumped off a high construction site and ended his life right before his results date because he THOUGHT he wouldn’t pass the exams. Really? My dad would thrash us for low marks and mom would make the whole day go bad. But before the night or even the next day they would really sit down with whoever had low marks and explain to them why it hurt for parents when their kids scored low. And yes, we did not always have low marks. It was obviously when we absolutely did not study for useless reasons. If we were ill, or any other valid reason, mom dad wouldn’t get angry at us. My little brother had double anesthesia doses before turning 5 for his broken arm, so that fuzzed him in the head a bit, so his studies suffered. Still my parents always tried him to atleast give attention to the books no matter the result. But those three kids in the van, something did not add up.

Something scared the boy about his test results so bad that he decided dying was better. It could have been his studies, or parental pressure, or now as I think about it, it could have been depression. As I am slowly gathering insight into the darkness of depression, I realise that at some point of life, my mother went through depression too. Her’s was a whole story altogether of domestic psychological abuse at the hands of her parents-in-laws and my dad’s inability to solve it. Somehow, my dad’s love and we kids together helped heal mom’s depression when we immigrated to the gulf. I do find bouts of disturbances hit her, her rage flows when frustration hits her, but it is not at the highest escalated level. She is a fighter, and I believe that depression was a phase that, all thanks to God, she has walked out of it.

But children? I have two, a third on the way. The world scares me, the media scares me, the whole damn internet scares me. Back then, things were different. No one had it easy. Everyone had it tough. Everyone got whopped. Everyone had fears. We did not know anyone unbalanced in the head.

Until recently. And now as I watched The Fifth Estate documentary, I am now bound to look closer around the people with me. Everyone I know. All those I love and care about. If there is anything I could help anyone with, I would, with all my heart and soul. Life is short, the world is cruel and getting worse. The one thing that motivates me, is something that my son’s class teacher often posts in the class group board:

In a world where you can be anything, Be Kind !

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Song of the day… Do Bol

 

Ja tujhy maaf kiya

Ja tujhy maaf kiya

Ooo

Pyar ki raah mein mujhko yu chorne waly

Pyar ki raah mein mujhko yu chorne waly

Ja tujhy maaf kiya Ja tujhy maaf kiya

Dil ko torne waly

Sitam hai khudiya

Kyu Pyar banaya

Jo looty dil ka jahan

Dil itna rolaya

Hain ghum muskaraya

Ye apny hai anjan…

Toot kar pyar kary dil jo

Bikhar jata hai..

Toot kar pyar kary dil jo

Bikhar jata hai..

Ishq toh samne ankhon ky

Mukar jata hai…

Bojh hai dil pe muhabbat ka

Utaru kaisy…

Bojh hai dil pe muhabbat ka

Utaru kaisy…

Kehky do bol ye ek umar

Guzaru kaisy..

Rakh dy pemany py apno ko

Tolny waly..

Ja tujhy maaf kiya Ja tujhy maaf kiya

Dil ko torne waly

Sitam hai khudiya

Kyu Pyar banaya

Jo looty dil ka jahan

Dil itna rolaya

Hain ghum muskaraya

Ye apny hai anjan…

My Wonderland.

Alice got lost in wonderland.

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I am Alice. I got lost in the Library. Today, I checked into my neighborhood library after two months.

Oh what all I missed!

But you know? Parenting/Motherhood changes a person a lot. From the inside.

As I spent more than 40 minutes strolling my the children’s reading shelves, I just wanted to bring my kids here, or take every interesting knowledge-filled book and give them to read.

Read is a small word. It is as good as actually travelling into another dimension altogether.

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I want my kids to discover the planets, the stars, the solar system, the earth, the forests and their animals, types of people around the world. I want them to discover these things the way my dad introduced them to me. Through big, thick, colorful books and encyclopedias.

I can still recall the small of each of those books, the wonder filled in my eyes as I read about and looked at each new thing in this big wide world I did not know about.

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Oh what a journey it has been! I cannot carry a lot of books. Hence, I had to sadly, filter out some of them and take only some.

The library being a 15 – 20 minute walk from home is now a heavy huge task for me given the Canadian snow and weather and my own heavy condition.

When people search for homes, they look out for convenience of things and stores around them. Now, the Library is on the top of my list. It is truly a refuge. A refuge from wasteful stuff I scroll aimlessly on Instagram search and Facebook scrolling.

There is so much to learn. So much to read. So much to share the reading fantasy with the kids. I really pray if not all, at least one of my kids takes on my passion for reading the way I do. (And, eventually, that will become my most favorite child :] ).

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People say a lot about Islam. Muslim think about Islam from various perspectives. The one first thing that endeared me was the very first revelation. The very first word, that came down from the heavens to mankind. The very, very very first word.

“IQRA…..IQRA BISMI RABBI KALLAZI KHALAQ.”

This translates to: Read!  Read In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists).

That is the first thing asked of mankind. To read. About everything the Great Lord has created. Of every thing, around and inside. In our minds and in the world that we can touch and feel and smell.

Wow. If I could get another lifetime, I would just want to read. Just read…

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