As a kid, I used to wait for the evening of the Dussehra festival. I would go to the nearby temple with my cousins and friends. On the open ground within the premises of the temple, huge effigies of the mythological character Ravana along with his two brothers would be erected. The effigies would be stuffed with firecrackers. An energetic lad disguised as Hanuman would be seen entertaining the crowd with his mace (gada). Little kids would release fire-tipped arrows from a distance, hitting Ravana’s chest and setting the effigy on fire.
I would clap and shout along with my tribe, watching the effigies collapse head-first, on the ground. The festival is a symbol of victory of good over evil, and I would run back home feeling elated and victorious as if it were I who had personally destroyed evil! I would then visit each house in my colony to exchange Apta leaf (bidi tree leaf) called ‘sona’.
When you move to a foreign country, however, even finding a ‘tithi’ can be challenging. Your mom is missed. Your dad is missed, too. And that regional calendar hanging from your kitchen window, listing all the tithis is also missed.
How is it to celebrate festivals abroad? A sneak peek attached from my book, available on Amazon India and worldwide!
When you immigrate to another country;
your own food gives familiarity to you in the foreign land.
Food becomes a tool for survival,
a tool for your identity.
Food is a sign of resistance,
as well as assimilation.
Ingredients hide stories of who you are and flavours reveal where you come from.
The style is localised over a period.
Britishers loved Fish and Chips. They took it to wherever they went. It is a relished dish in most of the common-wealth countries, more so, in the English speaking countries.
Wherever it is, is a sign of adoption of what Britishers brought with them. Food breaks the cultural walls. Sitting together, eating cuisine from another country is a sign of openness. If it becomes part of the local culture, it is acceptance!
Food is not just a matter of feeding your hunger, it is a matter of existence!
What is your story of food from another country?
When I moved to Singapore, the initial six months went-by in adjusting to the new work culture, making a ‘home’ out of a house, exploring how things work at the new country. We had colleagues in the office and acquaintances in the neighbourhood. But we didn’t have Friends! The feeling could be acute if you travel for first time from home country, where you had a circle of friends.
A local support system, to unwind on Fridays and roam around on weekends. Second year saw us having mommy-friends and daddy-friends, in a millennial terminology. Mothers of babies becoming friends over stories and daddies exploring the connect over a sport. Common interests added more people to make ‘friends for life’.
As we grow up, our preferences increases and the density of like-minded people around us decreases. Kids make friends faster as all they care is to play with; without prejudice. For the same reason, we cherish school friends the most!
If I look back, I could not have met any of them even accidentally! Our son was the catalyst.
How did you make your first friend away from home?
PS: Some migrants do not have an option to make friends as seen in the picture!
Canada is inviting applications for skilled permanent residents in numbers that hardly any other country is doing currently in the World. A stint there can fulfil many of your dreams. Its cities rank high in the World city ranking index. Canada gives easy access to the US and many nearby regions because of its proximity. It has one of the best lakes in the World- The Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, a bucket list item.
When it comes to migration, the stakes are higher. You need to look into many more aspects than just at the surface. The job market, the primary reason you would want to move, is small; if it not an inter-company transfer for you. Several people have sold their assets in India, migrated and couldn’t find a job for six months to a year! You will end up in one of the top five cities in Canada because of better prospects. The rentals have been continuously increasing because of demand pressure, and you need to be good at calculations.
Local people are generally humble, generous and welcoming. The culture … ok, let me stop here.
Why would you want to immigrate to another country, leaving your comfort zone?