The whispers and the shouts

“You have to go! I am done with you! This marriage is over!!”
She said nothing.
“Wait till I show these pictures to your family!”
“Please listen…” she stopped mid sentence, not sure what to say next, or how to explain it.
“Sleeping with a married man! Shame on you!!…” Panting and puffing in anger, he paused to catch up his breath…., “You are disgraced all over Surrey! I will make sure!!”

“You have to go! I am done with you! This marriage is over!!”
She said nothing.
“Wait till I show these pictures to your family!”
“Please listen…” she stopped mid sentence, not sure what to say next, or how to explain it.
“Sleeping with a married man! Shame on you!!…” Panting and puffing in anger, he paused to catch up his breath…., “You are disgraced all over Surrey! I will make sure!!”
Tears dribbled down her big brown eyes, scrolling down to the flustered cheeks, and to the sides of her big red lips. Her dark brown hair all ruffled up, she periodically wiped her forehead with the back of the right hand. With each and every nervous motion, in the nightlights of the front hallway, her tall and slender frame looked very fragile
It was late night, long after dinner time, long after the bed-time. He had already opened the door, asking her many times to ‘get the hell out of my house’. She resisted, she pleaded. Her futile efforts were useless. He grabbed her by the shoulder, almost pinching her with a firm grip. Turning her around, he pushed her out of the door.
She cried, this time much louder, but the door was already shut and locked behind her.
Standing at the front porch, she looked around. The upscale neighborhood was deserted. Other than a couple strolling down the side-street towards the pond on the far end, there was no one around. She was relieved that nobody saw her being thrown out of her own house.
The relief lasted only a few moments, only a few seconds. She looked around again; she looked down. She was bare feet. Scantily dressed in her summer Indian clothes, she was already starting to feel the chill of September night. The British Columbia weather and a full night ahead – she was scared. Very scared.
She turned around and knocked on the door, gently at first. No response. Then she banged on it, much harder. She could hear his footsteps on the other side of the door, getting closer and closer. She waited.
“Go away! Go call your boyfriend!” Her husband shouted from inside the house.
“Please open the door, Raj!” Her voice trembling, barely audible.
No response. She started to panic. They have had fights before; they have had long arguments that lasted beyond midnights. Being thrown out of the house, this was the first time.
A car drove by. She turned around, facing towards the door; pretending, as if unlocking the door. The front porch was dimly lit. The solar lights alongside the hydrangea bushes lit up the well-manicured front yard. The half moon was up in the middle of the sky; the stars were already out. For any other day, this would have been a perfect night to be outdoor, to admire the nature. Not tonight. Beyond the lights, moon and stars, she was more focused on the dark – a long night ahead.
Another car drove by, slowing down as passing by, perhaps to look at the house with woman standing at the door.
“Open the door!” She banged the door again. Continue reading “The whispers and the shouts”

Rendezvous

Love is supposed to make you glow. But in her case, it was the other way around. Maybe it was cursed, she wondered. Perhaps, because it was forbidden.

Love is supposed to make you glow, make you happy. But in her case, it was the other way around. Maybe it was cursed, she wondered. Perhaps, because it was forbidden.

“God damn it!” She murmurs, as another customer leaves her shop without any purchase.
“I really need money! I really need something to support myself.”

She looks in the wall-size mirror behind the counter. He skin pale; the big beautiful eyes don’t hold the same old shine – the glow of a rising sun they once had. Her mom had picked her name – Aruna, literary meaning sun rise.
Even with all the make-up, the dark circles underneath her eyes eclipse her beauty of yester years.

Her father owns the Taj Fashions – an Indian clothing store in Brampton. The well-lit shop in a small shopping plaza is deserted. If the business dies, her income dies – she knows it.
Selling Indian fashion and designers’ clothes is all she has done since she came to Canada. She needs the store to flourish. She needs the business to survive.No customers.
Another ominous sign in two days.

The love brought her stress and misery. It was very hard to hide, to hide from her parents and everyone around her.
Brave and undeterred, she met him every chance she got. He was an addiction, a drug that she needed the most to function.

He made promises, big promises – about them being together, about their future. She trusted him with everything, she trusted him with herself. Like a newly wed bride, she dressed up for him; she did everything for him – everything.

And, all this time, carefully, she hid him from her family, from everyone. Her biggest secret to date. Or, so she thought.

Time changed, it always does.
People. Nosy people. They always find out. The rendezvous, just like an odor, are impossible to hide. Her boyfriend crumbled under the weight of the society. He showed his true colors; he deserted her. He decided to stay with his wife.
Her faith faltered, the rosy future quickly got covered under a dark cloud, just like the dark circles under her pretty eyes. Continue reading “Rendezvous”

Naming a baby girl

“Yesterday, we were blessed with our second child”, he wrote an email to his friends and family member. “A beautiful baby girl – 7.25 lb, 16.5 inches, brown hair, brown eyes”….. “Cannot decide on the name, suggestions welcome!”

“Yesterday, we were blessed with our second child”, he wrote an email to his friends and family members. “A beautiful baby girl – 7.25 lb, 16.5 inches, brown hair, brown eyes,.. not sure who she looks like.” He ended the email with an open invitation to all, “Cannot decide on the name, suggestions welcome! :)”

Kiran, his wife, wanted to name her Navee; she had always liked that name.
“Umm… not sure about this one!” He quipped.
“It is a cool name, and easy to pronounce, even for Canadians!” she insisted

“What would you like to call your sister?” Kiran asked Sonia, her 6 years old daughter.
“I don’t know”, she was mesmerized by the little thing, “She is so cute! Name her princess!”
“Well, you are my princess!”
“Now you have two!” She giggled

His mother sat in the chair next to the hospital bed, holding the baby, rocking her gently every now and then. She wanted a son, but she was content with God’s will!
“Every child is born with a predetermined luck – a destiny!” She had said when the doctor first gave them the news. “We cannot change it, it is His decision!” She pointed up with her index finger. Continue reading “Naming a baby girl”

The Tea Time

After tossing and turning for a long time, he got out of the bed and sulked on the sofa in the living room…. his first day in Canada…. a short story…

“Would you like something to drink, sir?” the flight attendant asked with a polite yet firm voice.
“Some tea please,” he replied in a monotone voice.
“Ice tea or hot tea?”
“Oh, I mean hot tea.”
“Do you want anything in it – Milk or sugar?” The attendant inquired again as she poured the tea from a steel jug into a paper cup.
“Both – milk and sugar…”
“Is half-and-half okay?”
“No, I want only a little bit milk in my tea…”
She handed him two tiny cups of creamer, with label- ‘Mini Moo’s, half-&-half’.
“Oh, that’s what you meant by ‘half and half’…!” Before he could finish his sentence, she had already moved on to the next row of passengers.

After deboarding the plane, the passengers collected their luggage and lined up in the ‘Immigration and Customs’ section. Upon his turn, an immigration officer asked him all kinds of questions.
“When were you married?”
“Two years ago.”
“How long did your spouse stay with you in India?” His eyes glued to the computer screen as he continued the inquiry.
“Two week.”
“Is she the one sponsoring you?”
“Yes…sir”
“When was the last time she visited you?”
“Last year”…..
Finally, after a few more questions, he got ushered to a small cubicle where a white female officer with short red hair greeted him
“Welcome to Canada!” She said with a smile, shaking his hand and offering him a seat.
She told him about different facilities available for the new immigrants; she explained the job search options and how to apply for Social Insurance Number, and so on…
Finally he was guided to gather his luggage and follow the ‘Exit’ signs. Continue reading “The Tea Time”

Double Standard

She had big dreams, her ideology was based on truth, honesty and kindness. But that was a long time ago, that was before she saw the real world. In the name of the family, for the sake of the society, she has learned to compromise at every stage of life abroad…

She had big dreams, her ideology was based on truth, honesty and kindness. But that was a long time ago, that was when she was seventeen. She thought she was special; she was born to do great things; she was born to make a difference. But then again, that was was when she was in high school. She barely new the world out there. She never knew that the rules of kindness, love and truth apply differently beyond the walls of her house.

Somewhere along the way, somewhere in the process of growing up, she left her house to encounter the real world. She was no longer shielded by her family and her loved ones. It was part of her society, it was part of the traditions to move out. She got married; her family tied her knot to an educated man from Canada. Not because they knew him, or she loved him; they married her in the hope that life would be better in Canada. That is what everyone thought, and that is what they believed – she will be better off in Canada, far better off.

But then again, people are not what they appear to be. In the real world abroad, things are very different. The real world is far different than the one based on dreams; the real world where ideology is often talked about but seldom practiced. Most of the people talk big but do little, she soon learned.

In no time, she was exposed to the double standards as she left her father’s house. She saw hypocrisy first hand – day in and day out. The lies, the deceptions, the compromises – everything was at play on her new stage of life. Continue reading “Double Standard”

Citizenship and Immigration Canada – CIC Website

Citizenship and Immigration Canada – CIC is a Canadian Government site that deals with Immigration and Citizenship. It offers a variety of valuable resources on the related topics including general information on immigration, commonsense tips, guidance for potential immigrants, new laws affecting the immigrants…

CIC – Canadian Government Source of Citizenship and Immigration

Have a question about immigration to Canada? Interested in Canadian Citizenship? Any question on moving to Canada? Almost all the time, you can get your answer from the official website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Commonly know as CIC, the site is maintained by the department of Canadian Government that deals with Immigration and Citizenship. It also links immigration services with citizenship registration.

The site is the true Bible for any information on Canadian Citizenship as well as immigration to Canada.  It offers a variety of resources on the related topics including general information, commonsense tips, guidance for potential immigrants, latest news on the subject, the new laws affecting the immigrants and so on. There are different sections addressing different aspects of immigration and citizenship. Continue reading “Citizenship and Immigration Canada – CIC Website”

Loving the life in Canada

The sweat – she wipes her forehead. She is agitated and annoyed. She is not used to this sort of life.She waits in the line for 30 minutes before the Brampton Employment Centre opens. Once inside, there is more wait. She is tired of fruitless job search…

The sweat – she wipes her forehead. The wait – she is agitated and annoyed. She is not used to this sort of life.

She waits in the line for 30 minutes before the Brampton Employment Centre opens. Once inside, there is more wait. She slumps in a chair after taking her number, waiting for her turn.
She is a people-person, but everything around her seems to annoy her today. She is tired of fruitless job search.

The place is crowded, all kinds of people around her. Two women sit in the front row, giggling and filling up an application form. A group of middle aged men stand nearby, with work-boots on, as if ready to start some construction job right away. A young mother sits next to her, the infant toying with the milk bottle.
“They did not have any openings last week”, the young mother says, trying to make a small talk, and then adds quickly, “Hi, my name is Kari!”
“Hi, I am Jassi.”
“So you are local!” Kari blurts quickly, as if she does not seem to belong there.
“Sort of, but I have been in Canada only for a few months.”
A long silence; the baby starts to suckle on the bottle nipple, “There are no jobs in accounting in Brampton area!”
“Really?” Jassi pretends to care. Continue reading “Loving the life in Canada”

Canadian Living – A multicultural society by default

Canadian cities are much more multi-cultural….Residential areas of big cities are equally diverse and friendly….Canada is one of the few countries that actually promote multi-culture society as a part of government policy…

We are always busy comparing stuff around us. We compare apples to oranges, Bollywood to Hollywood, old music to new numbers…It is human nature, we compare our experiences with all sorts of things all the time.
If you live in USA or Canada, you most likely have heard this from your desi friends:
“Canadians are much friendlier!”
“Canada is a much better place to live”
Or something similar…

I have heard the same, so many times, from many Indians who either travel through Canada or have lived in Canada. Many of them have lived in both Canada and USA at different times of their lives, so they speak from their experiences.

Recently, while traveling through Canada, I got the first hand opportunity to explore the local living and local cultures. There are some things that stand out in Canadian cities: Continue reading “Canadian Living – A multicultural society by default”

Indian visa application experience in canada

The Consulate has outsourced the collection of visa applications and their delivery to M/s VF Services – Canada (VFS). Applications for Visa, Passport and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card should now be sent to the Indian Visa Consular Services Centres..

We recently went through the process of applying for Indian visa for a family member with Canadian nationality. More specifically, the applicant in this case is a person of Indian origin, and holds a Canadian passport, who currently lives in USA. If a Canadian Citizen living in US applies for a visitor’s visa within USA (at the the Indian Consulates in USA), the longest Visa issued is for six months only. If you need a longer visa, the only option is going to the nearest Indian Consulate in Canada, and apply for the Visa on the Canadian soil.

The Indian consulate in Canada no longer issues all the visa approvals directly. Outsourcing is part of modern business plan, so it seems for the visa process as well. The main page of the Indian Consulate in Toronto points this out right away:
“As a major step towards upgrading visa services, the Consulate has outsourced the collection of visa applications and their delivery to M/s VF Services – Canada (VFS). Applications for Visa, Passport and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card should now be sent to the Indian Visa Consular Services Centres operated by VFS at the following locations:…”
The locations listed are Toronto, Brampton and Winnipeg.

Also, note that:
“The Consulate will continue to accept applications for emergency visa, emergency passport (Tatkaal), Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card , Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) and all attestation services from 9:00 am to 11:30 am (Mon-Fri). Processed documents will be delivered from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm (Mon-Fri).”
The Emergency Visa is only for one month, and can be received on the same day from the Consulate office directly. Continue reading “Indian visa application experience in canada”

“Thank you, Paji!” – Canada to Punjabis

Pointing out the contributions from Punjabi immigrants in Canada, the Prime Minister Harper said that his country owes its prosperity to the perseverance and work ethics of more than a million Punjabi.

Canada owes its prosperity to Punjabi settlers: Prime Minister Harper

Following the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper took a trip to Punjab and visited Amritsar to pay his obeisance at the Golden Temple – the Sikh holy shrine.

Pointing out the contributions from Punjabi immigrants in Canada, the Prime Minister admitted that his country owes its prosperity to the perseverance and work ethics of more than a million Punjabi.
“1.2 million Punjabis out of which more than eight lakh are from Indian Punjab are settled in Canada and making significant contribution to strengthening the Canadian economy,” Harper said.

Recognizing the Punjabi settlers as partners in the Canadian progress, the Premier said that Punjabis have been contributing to the country’s development through their hard work and grit for more than a century.

The Canadian government is fully committed to preserve and promote the Punjabi culture and the Punjabi language in Canada, he added.

Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary are three main cities of Canada with large population of Indians, majority of them of Punjabi origin. Continue reading ““Thank you, Paji!” – Canada to Punjabis”

Tips on buying a house in USA or Canada!

When it comes to housing today, it is a ‘buyer’s market’, with lots of sellers eager to sell. It is a good opportunity for those who are looking for house.Here are the key factors and main steps to consider before and during the house search:…

Tips on house hunting abroad – in USA or Canada!
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When it comes to housing today, it is a ‘buyer’s market’. ‘House for sale’ signs are multiplying in every neighborhood; with lots of sellers eager to sell. It is a good opportunity for those who are looking for house.

The process of finding and purchasing a house can be fun or a headache, depending on the circumstances or how you approach it. In most of the cases, the main reason for a house purchase is:

  • upgrading to a house from an apartment,
  • moving into a new area due to job or business or family reasons,
  • buying a house for renting out, or as an investment.

Regardless the reason, the house buying process is quite similar in all such cases in USA and Canada. Many of these steps or commonsense rules also apply for rest of the world as well.

Here are the key factors and main steps to consider before and during the house purchasing process:

Selecting the real estate Agent: The house hunting in itself is an adventure. Some people try it by themselves, while others hire a real-estate agent – the realtor. A good real-estate agent is instrumental to finding the right house and closing the deal smoothly and efficiently. A real-estate agent can simplify the whole process to an art. So, it is very important to hire a good and reliable realtor. Make sure to interview -yes, interview- multiple agents and ask all the appropriate questions including:

  • their qualifications, experience and background,
  • do they work alone or in a team?
  • their track records or success rate,
  • knowledge of the area,
  • overall chemistry or easy to work with,
  • Any other factors that are important to you: For example, possible issues of the language barrier etc.

Many Indians hire a realtor from their own community while others prefer a professional strictly based on the qualifications. Continue reading “Tips on buying a house in USA or Canada!”