Confessions of an Immigrant- 9

It took me 5 months to realise that writing confessions on my blog gives some sort of peace to me. My tired mind gets relaxed while writing it. The past two months have been a roller coaster ride. I hardly knew what the hell was I doing and where I was going. The non stop assignments, tests made me so busy that I didn’t even get a single minute to think like what the hell was I doing with my life.

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The days in Canadian lifestyle have never been good for an immigrant. At times it is the never ending homesickness, the grief of losing your loved ones, the situations, managing finances, trusting wrong people and to add more, the jobless times. There are times when you feel homeless inspite of living in an apartment. Sometimes you are so alone in your class. You have a company of 39 more classmates still it feels lonely. Only at the time of in class you realise you have classmates as thats the time you talk to them.

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In this one semester I guess I have lived those segments which I have never went through in my past 21 years. I ended up meeting wrong people at wrong time and made mistakes which could have avoided. I won’t say I am sad, upset or depressed. In fact a feeling of aggression hover over mind where I badly want to do soemthing but I can’t. I try to mend the broken pieces of my life but always end up breaking new pieces. Every time the struggles are doubled or tripled. When we were in school we were taught two things, “HELP OTHERS!” ” BE A TRUE FRIEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS IN NEED!” Well, thankyou my dear teachers for these two things but unfortunately in Canada the situation is reverse. Canada goes with three rules, “THINK ABOUT YOURSELF!” “NEVER HELP OTHERS!” “NEVER TRUST OTHERS, NOT EVEN YOUR CLOSED ONES!”

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After going through a major down phase I realised this thing. Sometimes you learn by falling down. But what you learn from that downfall makes you. It is your life and you make the best out of it. The exam phase taught me one thing about teachers. They are generous in giving marks and adjusting the scores. These assignments actually saved us. Even in Canada bad things happen to Teachers. They are misjudged. Here also, our teacher was accused of something which for which she was not at fault. She was hurt and left the college. She performed the duty of a true teacher by conducting the exams. She could have left the job immediately. But she never did. When she hugged me and cried, that was the moment I realised, how dedicated she was. The whole semester she was telling us about the major assignment and she gave us extensions for that. After all that struggle and hardwork we got our grades but what she got? An accusation! I have never seen such a behavior and ached my soul. This incident actually made me respect her even more. Before going she told me, Surbhi, now you have a story to tell to your readers and here I am writing about her. I can only say, I will miss you Mila.

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Today I was in my most bad spirits when all of sudden out of the blew my friend called me. She knew I was not in a good mood. And to make the mood light she asked me to tell everything what was going on my mind as she has gone through all those things in these 3 years so she can imagine my situation. I felt light after telling her my thoughts and made it lighter by telling her about her situations and how she found a way out. She made me realise that there is a way out to everything. Its just you need to figure them out and sort it in the best possible way. At times you have to put a major cut down on things you want to have and at times you need to sacrifice your sleep to earn something. Hard work pays off. She cited those girly examples which actually cor- related to the things. I felt a bit sorted in my mind while talking to her. So immigrants, if you ever feel in that situation, talk to a friend, listen to a song. For me its talking to a friend who has gone through so much and writing my thoughts out so that I can be at peace.

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Parents are always with you. Sometimes you end up making mistakes but its parents who will listen to you, love you and give you the right direction. Your parents are your family and trust me, nobody will come to rescue you or help you when you will be in need. At times, you can manage on your own but then their are cases where everything can’t be managed on your own. Maybe its best to talk to them and tell them how you feel about them. Since you are away and busy, you can’t tell them how much you care about them, you can’t express your true emotions. At times you need to tell them the best things that has happened to you but back home its night and you have to wait for the morning. Now in morning you are late and you are unable to call them and tell them the news. Then the news become a casual story. And here comes the misunderstandings. Love is on both side but this stupid moron distance and time gap acts like an evil. Same goes with friends and relatives. The best taunts you ever hear is “You have gone so busy or you have forgotten us.” Nobody has ever forgotten you, you will always be there in the heart, its just the time and priorities which have changed.

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I have cleared my semester1 and now one more to go. Things can be harsh and harsher but you should know that you are a fighter and you have to fight every battle alone and inspire yourself all the time because your parents, friends and relatives will never be there with you all the time. It is you and you only who has to work hard, make them proud and bleed till you succeed.

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Tagged Diaries: The Golden Couple

I know its been a long time since I have updated anything in Tagged Diaries but I was looking for a right time and here I am back with a happy moment to share. Last Sunday my grandparents celebrated their Golden Jubilee and it was a perfect time for all of us. We had a gala time in Batala.

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Perfect Photo 🙂

 

Batala is a small town which is 2 hours away from Jalandhar. The function was scheduled around 12 in the noon and the venue was Grand Way1. It is just 1 km before we enter the main city Batala. My granparents hail from that town and our two most important Dadka family lives there along with their two generations. We have a huge family tree and it will take a whole post to write about it so I am exempting that segment.

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Girls Squad

Iqbal Rai Marwaha and Aruna Rani happens to be my cousin grandparents, as in , my grandfather’s brother. He completed 50 years with his beloved wife and guys, I tell you, he is the most handsome man I have come across and dadi is just a perfect lady to be around our happening family. The nuclear concept of families has separated our families but our whole Dadka family got united at the venue and it was a treat to spend time with happening family.

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Family Photo

As we entered the place, the place was  beautifully decorated and it was just perfect for this sort of occassion. The snacks were delicious and I wont be talking of them as you might shift your focus to the delicacies;)

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Winners 

Mostly such elderly parties are boring but Sareen family’s parties are always intriguing for everyone. The events started with a statue dance for children below 14 and 3 winners were selected. I was one of the volunteer who had to distract the kids. Trust me guys, its a hard job to distract children. It was fun.

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With the most Handsome Man..:D

The second game was for everyone. Some of the questions were asked like Whose wallet has a picture of their better half? and many more. So, those who matched with the things were given gifts. This activity completely hooked us.

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Couple Dance 

The third game was a couple dance in which we got two winners. The couple dance was not at all easy guys. There was a balloon in the middle. Since we people had no partners so we clicked pictures of people performing. I was the one who entered in every game and danced like anything. The happiness was overloaded.

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Blush Blush

Then the last game was to open a chit and sing two songs. So, the words were amazing and everyone sang. The best part was everyone was excited about the events that were to be performed.

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Wow

After all the games, the cake cutting ceremony along with the ring exchange took place. The Dj tuned the music to romantic songs.So, this beautiful couple was blushing. The love was in the air and it sounded so cute. In all this, we guys were busy hooting.

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Blushing Couple

Then their was some dance for sometime and later on the lunch was scheduled. Again the food was sumptuous. I was hell tired and exhausted because of dancing like a maniac that I couldn’t duff more of food. I tasted that cutest cake. It was out of the world. After that, it was a time to say goodbye and we all were so nostalgic with happiness overpowering our faces. We met our relatives, cousins, distant ones. It was a perfect party. The bestest part was the family dadka picture. I am blessed to have such a huge family and I wish we could get back to olden times and stay together always. Our hearts are together.

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Asli Dadka Family ..:P

In this tagged diaries, I will give my grandparents ‘The Golden Couple’ Tag. Stay tuned for more such updates and I promise, I will come back soon with amazing tag for a special person. Till then Like, comment and share this post, so that I can do some bhangra.

 

 

 

Tagged Diaries : Amazing Photographer

Hello everyone! I am starting this tagged diaries as I have kept this category for some different set of people whom I want to give some tag so that whenever I look down the memory lane those tags come in my mind. The first person whom I want to tag here is Aman.

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Amazing Photographer( Amandeep Singh Chabhal)

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Amandeep, popularly known as selfie addict and an amazing photographer is my dear friend who knows the knack of clicking pictures from different angles. I met him three years ago at my class, so he happens to be my classmate. The aura of meeting a different person could be seen. So, I call him selfie addict  as well because this guy is fond of cell phones and the way he click pictures be it of others or himself is impeccable. And to add more his super sexy cool cell phone which everyone wants to have helps him to capture amazing photographs. He even has an amazing professional camera and is a vivacious Photographer. I am amazed by his talent.

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Stylo ..:P

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Gurudwara Pic

Amandeep hails from a town named Chabhal which is near Amritsar. Beside being an amazing photographer he is a fantastic human being and a friend of friends. He can go to any extend to help you and this quality makes him special. He will never leave you at your worst times and would do anything to make you smile after you have cried.

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Aman’s religious attitude can impress most of the people. The way he handles the issues related to Gurudwara collection is highly appreciable. He is a jolly person and has a heart of gold. I am glad to have him as my friend. Furthermore, the way he says ‘BATMEEJ’ in a different style can make anyone laugh. Not to forget his, announcement speech ‘ BAHUT KHOOBSURAT ITEM  PESH KARAN JA RAHE HAI SADE FANKAR AMANDEEP SINGH..’

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reading pose

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pagalon vali selfie

 

This is Surbhi signing off… will be back with more tagged people and stories behind them 🙂

 

Mr Xavier’s Guitar- Guest Post

So here is the next guest post by the author of Encounters, Sumana Khan. Lets read what she has to tell us about music.

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It’s funny how some people just peep into your life…you know they kind of stand at the doorstep, have many conversations, and before long, ways part; leaving you with a warmth that will remain inside for a long, long time. That’s how I know Mr Xavier.

My first job had taken off – but before it could touch cruising altitude, it dived and crash landed. It was a small, vibrant team and most found their way out without any problems. I stuck on – mainly because I had no clue about ‘what next’. In such ‘no clue’ moments (of which there are many) – my policy has always been ‘no movement is movement’. Yeah, I’m the greatest worshiper of inertia. So far, I’m alive…so that’s good. It was weird, a bit depressing even – the silence that had befallen the once boisterous workplace. I think only a few of us remained; perhaps 3-4 of us; we moped around quietly in our corners.

I think Mr Xavier was hired around that time, mostly in an administrative role. He was an elderly gentleman (maybe in his late fifties) with a quiet, unassuming demeanor – a small man with hair neatly slicked backwards, wore specs with a largish frame. I almost always remember him in one of those sleeveless sweaters – maybe the a/c in the office troubled him. On most days we’d exchange a polite hello and make small talk about Bangalore. I think he stayed somewhere near Frazer town…so we’d talk about BTS bus service and stuff like that. He had a deep bass voice – clearly meant for a choir – it rolled about the quiet office whenever we spoke.

It so happened that one afternoon, as I sat intently programming a query, the power went out. It usually took a couple of minutes for the backup to kick-in, and it was only then that I realised I was alone in the office. Well, I mean Mr.Xavier was out there in the reception area – but my other colleagues had left. I figured I’d leave too – but it was pelting rain outside – and that meant the buses wouldn’t stop. The backup came on, and I decided to finish my SQL. I heard Mr.Xavier sniffling – poor man, the weather and the a/c must’ve aggravated his sinus, I thought.  I brewed a cup of tea for him, got myself a coffee and went to the reception.

Mr. Xavier quickly wiped his eyes and without looking at me, he said a thank you. I figured he was running a temperature and asked him to leave for home. Of course he was in no shape to take a bus. Maybe I should dash outside and engage an auto for him. Or at least go to the medical store round the corner and get him some Crocin. Mr.Xavier shook his head…as if shaking heads would stop me from doing what I wanted to do. ‘No, I am fine. Sit, have your coffee,’ he said. His voice shook. It was only when he spoke that it hit me – Mr.Xavier had been crying.

I fidgeted. Should I leave him alone? Seeing anyone cry makes me uncomfortable…but seeing an elderly man cry is absolutely unnerving. For how long had he been crying? Sit, he said again.

I sat on the sofa facing his reception desk, fidgeting some more. I eventually asked him if there was anything I could do to help him. He shook his head a couple of times. ‘I lost my son.’

At first it did not sink in – the ‘lost’ part. And when it dawned, it turned my insides. I did not want to listen to Mr Xavier. I did not want to see his face twisted in so much pain. I did not want to see his dripping, bewildered eyes. I did not want to hear the tremble and quake in his usually comforting voice. No, no. I was 25. All this happened on another planet. In my world there was only music and stories and turbulent romance.

But Mr Xavier continued. It had happened a couple of years ago. Mr.Xavier’s son – my age, or slightly younger – had met with an accident while returning home one night. His friends had shifted him to a hospital – but he could not pull through. Mr Xavier’s boy never came home. He was a brilliant boy, Mr Xavier told me. Very intelligent, was training under a CA if I remember correctly. He was obviously the pride of the family.

Mr Xavier spoke and spoke. He relived the night he got the call over and over again. He spoke of all the ‘what if’ scenarios. He spoke of sitting in the police station. He spoke of one inspector who treated the bereaved family with much kindness. He spoke of his wife, his younger daughter (and probably another younger son). He said he was sorry to have unburdened on me. ‘You are still a child,’ he said shaking his head. I wanted to tell him to talk as much as he could – but I did not find my voice or words. As a father, he had to hold it together at home. Yes, he’d lost his son – but he still was a father – he still had his two other children. His wife had almost collapsed – it was only now that a dull sense of normalcy was returning. The daughter was in her second year pre-university. Life had to go on. Mr Xavier had come out of retirement to become the breadwinner again. Even so – how difficult it is for a man to grieve. Society and culture puts so much burden on men – as if they have lesser tear glands and steel hearts that can’t be squeezed when faced with such terrible situations.

When we left for the day – the mela at the bus stop did not bother me. It usually was the case on rainy days. The footboard travel did not bother me either. These problems all looked too trivial. I’d grown up a lot more in those few hours.

After that day, Mr Xavier and I had our tea together almost every afternoon. Some days he’d talk a lot about his son. But most days he’d talk about his daughter or something else. I remember once we had a detailed discussion on rasam. He insisted that without a pinch of garlic, it is no rasam. I swore by hing and mustard seasoning. By the end of the unresolved debate, at least I was very hungry.  When Titanic was released, he told me his daughter has gone bonkers over Dicaprio. He said day and night, night and day he heard only ‘my heart will go on’ and that it was quite a relief to sit in office. I laughed. He asked me if I’d watched the movie. I said no and kind of changed the topic. There was no way I’d tell Mr Xavier that a friend and I decided there was no point in watching a ship sink, so we watched The Full Monty instead.

One restless day, there wasn’t much work to do and I prowled about the empty office like a man-eater. Mr Xavier must’ve got bugged with the stomping and asked me to work on some physics problems for his daughter. I think I made the office boy buy a notebook and in no time, it was filled with motion physics equations. Mr Xavier laughed. He said I could make more money selling exam notes. Maybe you should write a book, he said. So we chatted about books and music and instruments.

So what if you can’t sing? You must learn at least one instrument, he said. You won’t understand now, but if you can make music, you will always have a balance in life, he said. Any new idea excites me (even now) to ridiculous levels. After a detailed discussion, (so intense that it seemed the world would end if I did not have SOME instrument in my possession by that evening) – we settled for the guitar. Mr Xavier laughed so much when I suggested saxophone. He chose the guitar over the piano – because guitars were more accessible and portable. So will you come with me to buy the guitar? We can go right now, I urged. Leave it to me, he said. Guitars can’t be bought like tomatoes.

Ten days later, as I sat in front of his desk for the usual afternoon coffee, Mr Xavier, the smooth operator, brought out a guitar that he had hidden behind the table. Oh what a delightful, hysterical surprise it was!  He’d asked someone in the Bangalore School of Music to get it made. For once, I was absolutely speechless. They’d packed the guitar in a neat cloth case with a pocket to hold a couple of plucks and a tuner. The guitar is tuned, Mr Xavier told me, with the widest smile I’d ever seen on his face.. He’d even brought one of those slim books with large representation of the chords. First you learn to read the music. Then you practice the chords. Now, it is up to you, he said, still smiling. That evening, the bus ride was something. Someone even offered me a seat – and that was unheard of.

I bought some books, and did practice…in secret…since my previous disastrous engagement with vocal music is legendary in the family. I’d return from work and sit on the terrace, read the chords by street light and go plink plonk.

Eventually my firm closed down. I got a job that took me to another end of Bangalore. Soon work expanded to fill every waking hour. I kept in touch with Mr Xavier sporadically – greeting him on Christmas mainly. Travel finally cut me off – from Mr Xavier and the guitar. I did take up the guitar years later. The new teacher said Mr Xavier’s guitar was perfect…just needed to be restrung. But the personal bereavement in my life meant I would not touch the guitar for a long, long time.

It’s been over fifteen years since I met Mr Xavier. I bet his daughter has found her Dicaprio and Mr Xavier is a proud grandpa. We often view courage as something heroic – involving saving lives or taking lives depending on which side you are. But this …what Mr Xavier showed…is courage. Grief is the worst acid – it can corrode your soul and just suck you in. Losing a child is unfathomable. Yet, even that darkness – to bring a smile on someone’s face – that’s courage for you.

I’ve got to finish this business. I’ve got to make music. As a good friend tells me, I owe it to Mr Xavier. And Mr Xavier if you are reading this – Thank You.

ABout the Guest

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Sumana Khan was born and raised in Bangalore where she pursued a career as an It consultant. She currently lives in the Uk and is a full time writer and student. She holds a Master of Letters in Creative Writing from University of Glasgow and is pursuing her M.S.c in Psychology. her website is http://www.sumanakhan.com. ENCOUNTERS is her second book.

P.S. Also read my review of her book Encounters :

https://captivatingmode.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/book-review-encounters/