As I share this story of my life in this scenic, robust, and multicultural country, I remember the first day I arrived in Canada from India. It was early spring, the cherry blossoms had just started to bloom. I stood there with a suitcase full of dreams and a heart full of curiosity. Now, nearly a decade later, the country is home. The challenges that came with moving were many, but so were the triumphs and the joys. This journey shaped my identity and my world – sewing together the traditions of my motherland, India, with the social fabric of Canada.
Meera, my wife, and I had one primary goal when we moved to Canada - to embrace and adapt. We were humble, patient, and ardent in our journey of settlement. We fell in love with the breathtaking landscapes, diverse food culture, and got acquainted with countless customs. We faced challenges – language barriers, cultural differences, and even, at times, a feeling of isolation. But what mattered was our will to navigate through. And yes, it's okay to feel lost for a while. That's just a part of the journey.
Oh! But who could forget my first encounter with the great Canadian winter! My naive Indian self, who had only seen snow in Bollywood songs, was left aghast. Meera and I were in complete awe (and slightly terrified) of the blanket of snow that the city was buried under. We quickly learned the importance of investing in good quality winter clothes, snow boots, and of course, a snowblower (You can take the Indian out of India, but you can't take the Indian 'jugaad' out of him). We realized winters in Canada were challenging but also incredibly beautiful.
Moving on to what truly fuels one's soul - food! We discovered the universal love for poutine, a unique-gravy cheese fries dish. Interestingly, the Indian 'Chaats' share a little resemblance. Exploring the Canadian cuisine was like stepping into a gourmet world tour. From American, Mexican, Chinese, Mediterranean to a hundred different kinds of cuisines - we had a slice of the world on our Canadian platter!
Our children, Ravi and Lila, had their own stories of growth. The Canadian education system opened new horizons for them. They were being raised in an integrated multicultural environment and their school celebrated this diversity. They participated in various cultural festivals - Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, Eid, Diwali, and more. They also embraced their Indian heritage. This, we believe, is the beauty of raising kids in a global village like Canada.
Bruno, our Newfoundland dog, has his own love story with Canada. Long walks in the parks, playing fetch in crystal clear lakes, and making snow angels during winter - he is living the Canadian dog's dream. As Indian dog-owners, we wondered how Bruno would adapt. But our furry kiddo melted our worries away with his love for the land! He at times seemed more Canadian than us, proving that love for mother earth transcends species!
Lastly, let's get real. Immigrating to a new country isn't all about challenges, triumphs, and funny stories. It demands a great amount of adaptability, learning, and growing. I found the true essence of this in community building. I witnessed how Canadians pull out all the stops to be there for each other. We continued the tradition. We built bonds not just with fellow Indians, but with people from every corner of the world. These beautiful human connections sustained us, and we saw ourselves evolving into global citizens.
So, what is life like for an Indian in Canada? It's a myriad tapestry of beautiful and challenging experiences. But more than anything, it's about embracing a new world while keeping your cultural roots alive. It's a road dotted with surprises, and I wouldn't have wanted any less unpredictable a ride!