Things Changed, Time Taken, Now Back to Action!

Hello Fellas,

You guys must be knowing that I am almost away from the writing world from last one month. Most of you think that I have vanished. But it is not like that. I had taken a break as I have shifted to Canada. Things changed, time taken and now I am back to action! I will try my best to finish the committed reviews. Moreover, as you know I have started Confessions of an Immigrant, which will go on for a long time. I am also working on collection of short stories that will highlight Canadian Culture. Not only this, I have not left anything. I am still working with PustakMandi. We have launched a new site which is a part of PustakMandi. http://www.allaboutlives.com/ This site is a new ray of hope for all of us and it will include all sort of reviews. Since I am a reviewer, I will come up with reviews be it movies, receipes, college life, books or anything. Also, I will write about some facts about Canadian Culture so that you can explore Canada through me.

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Coming to Half Baked Beans, Author Paradise, Kalamos Literary Services, I am still with them. I will catch up with them and resume the work. The Book Club, I am working with them and I will surely be signing up blog tours but that will be ebooks only as paperbacks will take forever to reach Canada. But if someone who has all the patience in the world and want to give me the paperback then they are welcome to do so.

I know time difference is the biggest hurdle but still I am ready to work as I can’t leave reading and writing. I had great time working with Kaffeinated Konversations and YuGen Team. They have been the most inspiring experiences of my life. Due to time issues I couldn’t continue but still I am in touch with them and I get to know what is happening.

Product Reviews have been delayed like super delayed which I will soon catchup. I am not taking up Indian Product Reviews now as shipping the things to Canada will be an uphill task. So, for now either I ll stop or start with Canadian product reviews.

I am looking for some interesting Editing Projects and book reviews are closed for 3 months. I hope I have made myself really transparent and clear so that nobody gets any idea that I am away. I am here to stay so I won’t go away.

There might be availability issues because of the time difference but I am sure if managed properly things will come back on track. Till then stay blessed and stay tuned!

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Spotlight of Half Pants Full Pants by Anand Suspi

 

 
 
HALF PANTS, FULL PANTS
REAL LIFE TALES FROM SHIMOGA
by
Anand Suspi
 
 
 
Blurb
 
Half Pants Full Pants is a sort of childhood autobiography set in Shimoga of the 70s and 80s. Given the era and milieu that he grew up in, it carries a flavor similar to that of Malgudi Days. All the characters in the book are real and most of them are still in Shimoga, of course now in their mid-40s. Quite a few are from prominent families and are now active and important members of Shimoga. The book vividly captures the real childhood adventures of this generation of people in Shimoga. It’s a glorious reminiscence as well as a tribute to this wonderful town.
 
R. Balki says
 
“After Malgudi Days, I could never imagine that someone could create a childhood classic for adults to regain their innocence even for a few hours. Suspi’s tales would have made R K Narayan smile. Oh! That beautiful Kannadiga gene!”
 
Grab your copy @
 

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About the author

 

 

 

 

 

 

An advertising writer for over 20 years, he started with Mudra, Mumbai in 1995 and subsequently spent a large part of his career in Lowe Lintas working under Balki. He was the Creative Head of Lowe Delhi between 2007 and 2010. Currently, he lives in Gurgaon and is the co-founder of an ad agency called AndAnd Brand Partners.

 

 

 

 

Half Pants Full Pants is his first book, a sort of childhood autobiography set in Shimoga of the 70s and 80s. Given the era and milieu that he grew up in, it carries a flavor similar to that of Malgudi Days. The notable difference would be that every story is real and the characters are all in their mid-40s now, often reminiscing about the gloriousness of their growing up years.

 

 

 

Featured in New Indian Express

 

 

 

 

 

The Hindu

 

 

 

 

 

 

Times of India

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can stalk him @

 

         

 

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We Promote So That You Can Write 


 

Confessions of an Immigrant-4

Hello lovelies,

 

I am really sorry for not updating the confession last Sunday. Things have been tied up and I got super busy with the assignments, quiz and a lot has been going on in my life. Life of an immigrant is not at all easy. At times, you are homesick, you feel sad for no reason, you are helpless sometimes, you are unable to express yourself and moreover, its hard to tell your heart out to others. Most of the people are strangers for you and same goes for them. It is hard to adjust with both such situations.

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Timetable!

 

Last week was the toughest. I am having issues with coping up with the things. Sometimes, days are easy while sometimes days are bit harsh. Can you guys imagine, a person who has worked all the time like a hardcore professional is jobless in this country. Maybe destiny has some other plans for me. Every time, I used to think destiny can’t do anything to me but here life is drastic. There is a lot of silence and earlier I was loving the silence. But it was just a mirage for me. Now, silence kills me. When you have nobody to talk to and you end up becoming a listener.

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Early Morning!

 

Some of my soulmates have been Tim Hortons, McDonalds, Station Express and Church. Out of these Tim Hortons and Station Express remains open 24/7 hours. It is the best time to introspect yourself and do your assignments. Lifestyle is different here. People are more active at late nights as they do night jobs. I met a girl at Station Express and after listening to her story, I got to know about different things.

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Formals!

 

I searched for jobs this week and literally went to many places. I applied at 114 places and went to 21 places for interviews. Rejection is hard to digest when you are clueless, like why you are being rejected. This Sunday I got to know that I was overqualified for the jobs I was asking. Coming to self confidence, self respect, just one thing to say, “Just crush it!” It will break you with every passing day. Don’t wait for the situations to do for you. Here people literally beg for jobs by saying,’ I need the job.’ For me, its hard as I have never gone to that extend for the job. But if situations went worse then surely, my self respect will die. For now, last breaths of my self respect are going on. Hope is keeping me strong else I would have been broken by now.

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Silence…

 

I met many people who are homeless. They don’t look poor but they don’t have money to rent or buy a house. They live at Tim Hortons, Ellesmere side. They sleep there and in the morning do the breakfast there. Once I went there with my friends to complete my assignment and I got to know about this place. I once talked to a person and he told me his story which was really heart touching. Life is a struggle everywhere, doesn’t matter whether you are in India or in Canada.

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Finally Indian Food!

 

Survival is hard. I met a guy who told me that he had to starve for a week because he didn’t have his money. His debit balance was zero and he never asked his family for the money. I asked him how he survived. He said he survived on green Tea and lost a lot of weight. So, when somebody says to you that they are losing weight, then probably they are surviving on green tea.

 

There is only one positive thing that happened, I have started dancing and I am learning how to play pool too. After reading, these two things keep me at peace. As usual, most of my day is spent in the library only. Canada is a mystery and I am trying to solve it.

Confessions of an Immigrant-3

Hello lovelies,

I hope you are having an amazing Sunday. In my previous post, I gave the tips the people should follow who are planning to come to India. Today I will talk about my experience in college. So, as you all know, I have taken up Human Resource Management Program in Centennial College. My college life has been a roller coaster ride in this week.

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The best part being the classmates. I met many new people from diverse cultures. Everyday it keeps on increasing so I can’t tell the number exactly, although I have the class list. Some of them are Indians so a relief feeling that I can interact in my own language. I won’t name them as I haven’t taken the permission from them to mention their names. I have many Brazilians in my class where I get to know about their culture, lifestyle and how they are dealing with things here. Everyone has a unique story to share. I have met someone whom I admire and she is from Jamaica. I feel she can be my inspiration for a story. When I was asked to introduce myself, I just couldn’t stop telling them about my writing skills. The best part is, teachers also liked the way I introduced myself as a storyteller. Some of my classmates call me Sur, storyteller or sometimes author. It is such a refreshing feeling. Guess what! I have a theatre artist, singer, dancer too in my class along with those HR people, bankers. It is been just a week so I could gather only this much but all are so interesting that I feel like talking to them for hours and know their stories. I know I am talking like Savi Sharma from Everyone Has a Story. But now, I can relate myself to her as how her character struggles for the story.

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Night View

 

Apart from these, I met some amazing teachers here. I never got the chance to personally interact with them but their was one teacher whose story I would like to share as I have taken special permission from her without disclosing her name. She is a part time teacher who is basically from some other country. She told about her experience, her background and how she also struggled to learn English. We all have our own accents of speaking a particular language and it takes time to adapt the things around you. I could so much relate to her. She teaches in Humber as well as Centennial College and has done various jobs in different departments of the college. Her day starts at 6:30. When I heard this, I felt like giving her a salute as its such a hard job. Teaching is not everyone’s cup of tea. I felt inspired when I heard about her story. I guess it was the first time in her class only, when I got the chance to introduce myself.

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Coming to the education system, its way too different from India. We study on laptop, power point slides. I guess books are the last things we ever talk about. Though some of the teachers lay emphasis on books. Then we call or teachers by name or by their last name. This was the difficult thing for me as I have always called my teachers by Sir or Maam and this is entirely new thing for me. The workload is not much. In India, we had semester exams but here, the exams are divided into parts like quiz, assignments or sometimes written test. We are in a professional course so we are working hard to know the knack of things. When I study law, I feel like I am some lawyer, when I study Organizational Behavior I feel like a psychologist, when I study Staffing, I feel like I am a recruiter, when I study accounting, I feel like an accountant and when I study Management I feel like I am managing things. Every subject gives me a different vibe. It is not easy to crack everything but not difficult also as you have access to the power point slides the teachers prepare and even you get to know teacher’s plans before hand so it is the best chance for us to prepare and know about the things. Next week, they are planning to assign us some groups so I am hoping for the best. I will get a chance to interact with more people. There is a lot to learn from the people here.

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Library

 

I am falling in love with the library here. Mostly library is for reading books but in our college we can borrow laptops, iPad, MacBook, notebooks which is so intriguing. I once borrowed a laptop for 5 hours. I was so excited to explore the things. I always had a dream of using a MacBook so it’s a dream come true. Now I have no regrets, if I don’t have any MacBook. Yesterday, I was working on something in the library and I ended up sleeping there as the sofa was so comfy. At around10:30, the security had to wake me up. It was one of the hilarious moment I ever had here. I wish I could stay long in the library. With this I forgot to tell that our college closes at 11, by 10:30 they vacate the college and library timings keeps on changing.

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I guess I told you guys enough about this week. My college is like a puzzle. I am still trying to solve it. I will be back with many more incidents about my college. I guess by next week, I can tell you some of the people I came across. People here are trustworthy and that’s the only thing I loved in the college apart from library. I will be back next week, till then stay tuned.

P.S- I am sorry for updating this so late. A lot is happening here so I got the chance just now.

Confessions of an Immigrant-2

Hello beautiful people,

Thankyou so much for your overwhelming response on my previous post. Just because of you I could connect to so many people who live in Canada and they approached me after reading my post. Many of you had queries and fears so I thought I should base this post according to those queries. In the coming paragraph, I will tell about the Do’s and Don’ts when you decide to come to Canada. These points will surely help you or your friend who is planning to come in Canada.

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Quickees:

Be prepared for the best and the worst situations.

Make sure you check the season in which you are going. The weather is unpredicatable so carry a mixed variety of stuff. Avoid coats and sweaters. You can carry them in less amount. It is better to carry a thick jacket. Indian coats will never keep you away from cold. It is better to buy from here during sale.

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It is a bliss for non- vegetarians but hell for Vegetarians as some restaurants don’t have veg food and if they have, then its expensive, not at all worth eating. Go for Tim Hortons, Indian restaurants, Gurudwara Langar. (I have visited limited places so this is based on that.) Best is, buy your own stuff and make it at home. MacDonalds is the worst option.

Make sure you check the weather of the day when you will land the country. It will give you a rough idea, and you can carry a jacket there.

Carry a small bag that has your important documents, passport and you better don’t take that out, doesn’t matter if you are going to washroom. Just keep it with you until you land.

Always carry INR, Dollars, American Dollars, Pounds. It is better as you land at a place where you have a stay, atleast you won’t stay hungry. In case you don’t want a confusion, you can always exchange your currency as they money exchange shops everywhere.

Packing points:

First of all, go through all the rules of the airlines you are travelling as all the airways have their own set of rules. For instance, British Airways allow 2 bags of 23 or 24 kg each while a cabin bag (the bag you can carry in the plane) of around 8kg.

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Make sure you have half a kg less but not more as you never know if they object then you have to pay extra for those kilos. And trust me, its not 1000 or 1200 INR, it is 15000 INR or more.

Someone told me that we can get fragile tags so that they keep your bag safely. This is all bullshit, it is just to make you feel that way. They throw the bags and they don’t give a damn if it has any tag or not. So, you better not carry any breakable thing.

Don’t carry any perfumes, liquids, creams, soaps, scissors, knives, skellpen, or any such thing in your cabin bag. You can carry perfumes, liquid stuff like some shampoo, face wash but seal it properly and make sure it is in a polythene. In case of shampoo bottles, it is better to carry sachets.

Always carry small toothbrush, toothpaste, vicks, handy medicines, lip balm, vaseline. These have to be in very less quantity else it will be taken out. Some flights give toothpaste but it is better to carry your own stuff.

Cabin Bag :

cabin-baggage

The first thing you need to do is weigh your bag. If it is less or around 4kg then go for it. After that put only the required stuff in it like the clothes you will need the very next day you land here. Mostly your night suit or some winter wear. It should not exceed 8 kg as they are very strict about it. I know you will be having a jacket and that is heavy like 2kgs. So, you can keep it handy or wear it until you reach the plane. This bag will stay with you when you will have a stay so make sure you carry minimum stuff and it should have wheels. Else, it will be difficult for you only.

If you are going on student visa or any goddamn thing, always carry your papers along with photo copies in your cabin bag. In India, they wont bug much but in Canada, they want everything in front of their eyes, so don’t do the stupidity of taking pictures of the documents. You can get into trouble.

Golden Tip: 

It is better to carry a laptop bag as you can use that for your one day trip or make it as your college bagpack. When you buy a laptop from Canada, they don’t give you a free bag here. (This was the worst mistake one can ever make.) Bagpacks are expensive here and you will never get any comfortable laptop cover here.

Listen to google not the people around. They are here to make you crazy. Everyone will make you mad. So you better take advise from a blog, google. If someone who has visited airport 3 or 4 years back, you better don’t listen to them as airport rules, situations keeps on changing. You can go for a person who is known to airport rules and everything.

Whenever you are at airport, connect your phone to free wifi. They will ask your email id and your plane ticket number. Make sure connect to free wifi else it will cost you alot.

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Never ask the airhostess to put your stuff in the cabin. They are not meant to do so. Just out of generosity they do it. They are good people so you better ask your queries if you have any while in plane.

Things you should Carry:

It is better to carry your small cooker, fry pan, toaster. This will really be of help to you as you don’t know where you will live. If you have people who are willing to give you then don’t carry. As your priority is to carry important and less stuff.

You can also carry frozen coconut oil.

Expensive things in Canada:

Thick Cardamom, cardamom, cloves

Do bring your own stationary like pens, pencils, 2 registers, scale, eraser, sharpener, marker, cellotape, sticky notes.

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Hair coloring is way to expensive so if you planning to get your highlights done from here, then drop the idea as it costs aroun 150$ which is 7500 INR. You can get it done from India itself.

Parlours are not cheap either so you better carry your hair removal creams, wax, bleach and other girly things. And it would be great if you learn some of the basic things like these. IF you do then you can get a job in parlour as well. So a win win situation.

The voltage in Canada is 120 and in India is 220 I guess. So when it comes to hair dryer, straightners, curlers, phone chargers you better carry your converter with you else it will burn your appliances. If you don’t have a converter then for a phone you can charge it through laptop or through Iphone charger by attaching your data cable simply. This will keep your phone safe.

Mobile Covers, specs frames are way too expensive so you better buy some extras from India only.

Cheap Stuff:

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It is better to buy laptop and mobile phone from here. You can get them in very good range. HP laptop can be bought from Costco at around $499 plus the tax. And for cell phone, you can buy Samsung or some other using the plan as cell phones are under contracts. IF you are IPhone lover then you can get it with 90$ per month plan. For a new comer, it is better to take Chattr Plan which is worth 40-50$ with a data plan. Try to connect to your relatives or family in India through wifi or Vonage app. Vonage works without internet as well.

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You need to buy Running shoes from here only. Doesn’t matter if you have bought Reebok or Nike from India. They can’t match the shoes here. The shoes can be bought from Costco or Payless Shoe Store. You can get it around 40-50$. It is considered affordable here. The shoes are long lasting and stay upto 4-5 years. So, it is worth buying from here.

People love to utilise and earn here. So, there is a site called kijiji.ca where you can buy used stuff for your home, find a basement, apartment from there. It is trustworthy site. So, you better check the things from here. Even the used books can be found here.

If you need a job then update your resume on indeed.ca where you can find the job. You will not get it easily as it will be your first job, so better shortlist 10-20 job opportunities and go for it.

There are flyers which tells you about the sales in the nearest grocery store like Walmart, Costco, Food Basic. You can save a lot of money so you better do that.

There are google maps and also offline google maps. So, you better refer that. They have given the distance by walking, car, bus or train. It is important for you to explore yourself. Car will never give you an idea of distance. It is good to start on your own first. The more you explore the more you will get to know about the things.

Author’s Note: 

These are the main things that I feel will be of much help to a person who is coming to Canada or planning to do so. I have covered most of the things. If you still have queries or some points which I might have missed then you are free to tell in the comments below. I will be back again with more tips and instructions. I hope my small update can help you in anyway. You can always ping me at my id: sweetosur@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions of an Immigrant -1

Life completely changes when you shift from your own country to some other country. You must be thinking why the title is Confessions of an Immigrant. Well yes, I am in Canada now, away from India. But now I am not that Canedawali. The moment I shifted here I was being called this. I even updated a picture and everybody thought I was changed. Come on guys, its been just a day since I entered this land and I am being changed..just because I straightened my hair or updated it with a coffee mug. I used to do the same in India as well. Only my background changed. If you ask any Canadian, for them we are like refugees or Immigrants who are neither a part of India nor a part of Canada. It is a difficult situation. An Indian born will always be an Indian, doesn’t matter if he lives somewhere else.

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The above paragraph was written the very next day of my landing to Canada. Its been more than 2 weeks since I landed here. I felt I am a learner. I have to start everything from the scratch. It was a hectic task for me to know everything. At that time I was like that clay which anybody can mould the way they like. Life is not easy when you live away from your comfort zone. It is always a new challenge for you but you can’t get rid of the things saying that you are new in the town. This can work when you are actually naive but not always. In all this, one weird thing happened with me. When a person start anything new, he is excited about the things. I was neither excited nor nervous. I was just normal. In this course, I went to meet different people and all were in different cities. So I visited Brampton, Mississuaga, Markham, Scarborough, Stratford, Downtown. The people are different here. If Brampton has majority of Indians then Downtown has mixed breed and Stratford has been a peaceful place.

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Some of the things are fast here like the quick service of Banks, Service Canada where you get your SIN number. Restaurants are good here and you can find Tim Hortins, Food Basic, Walmart, Costco, Shoppers Drug Mart in every nook and corner.People here are time bounded, practical and value education. If someone is rich then they have paid a huge price here. We can see from the lifestyle that they might be rich but things are opposite here. We cut down our needs but they are wise people. They believe in fulfilling their needs doesn’t if its through line of Credit.

Everything here is systematic. For them travelling to different cities is not an uphill task. They even come from different places to work in some other town. They get up early and sleep early. They look after their health. They know what to consume and what not. Moreover, they are not bothered about you. So, here nobody knows much about the neighbors because they are busy in their own lives. I noticed one more thing. People here are well mannered and respect others’ privacy.

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A very important thing I learnt here. We should never forget those people who help us in any way or in the initial stages. If you value people here, they will value the most. So, after coming here, I realized how much my parents have done for me. I miss them every second. I never felt this before but now I can sense it. Now I understand why my hostel friends used to run to their homes in holidays. I wish I could do the same but the distance is too far.

The worst thing here is the weather. It is never same at places. Some place it is cold and the other end you can feel really hot. The internet connections are good and you can’t survive without any internet.

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Coming to overcoming fears, I have overcome many of them. The first one was heights. I successfully completed my plane journey and I wasn’t scared at all. I was lured by the airport and the way the captain greeted me, ‘Welcome Ms. Sareen’. My name sounded so different. I quickly connected myself to internet on airports and could talk to my parents, relatives. They felt good too. Then I met some friends at the airport as well. We all were together during the stay. As I entered Toronto Pearson Airport, it took me one hour and more to come out of the airport. They have so many formalities like custom duty, immigration. The luggage comes at the belt where we can pick them up. It became so late because of some mental people who were making the officers irritated. There was a CHINESE Lady who started clicking pictures at the immigration which made the officer so irritated that he almost threatened her to break her phone. He thought she is a suspicious person so a big drama happened. Another one happened at the time of custom duty. There were some people who hadn’t sign the forms of custom in the plane which made the officer anxious and she asked them to go back in the line.

This is just a part of what I went through, I will get back with more updates on every Sunday, the Canadian Time. Stay Tuned.