Saturday, 15 March 2008

...It's as if I'm playing with fire...

A lot of people have been asking why my upcoming trip to India has me so nervous.

I'm just over a month away from visiting all that I left behind as a young child. I find that no matter how much I try to explain the feelings of displacement, confusion and cultural isolation that have taken over my life in the past 12 years or so, no one will fully be able to understand the extent of it, unless they have experienced it themselves. And to date, I can only think of a handful of people in my life with the exception of my family, who can relate.

I've been reflecting on the manner in which my life has changed since I left India all those years ago. I've been lucky enough to have received an education in a post secondary institution and post grad institution. I don't think I would have been as fortunate were I still living in India. This is simply because of the fact that there's no such thing as student loans there. And besides, the dollar carries you a lot further here than a rupee carries you in India.

There's a lot more advantages to having moved to this country. Although, at times I wish my parents had decided to make the move when I was much younger. Maybe then the transition wouldn't have been as difficult. Then again, I don't really know. All I can vouch for is the fact that over the past decade or so, life has dealt us a lot of curve-balls... and I think any immigrant family can relate. It isn't easy for the child and it certainly isn't easy for the parent.

However, I think it is harder for the child who has lived half their life in another country and is forced to adapt to a new culture. I know for me, it was very difficult because I had been brought up on a very different value system for the first 10 years of my life. When I moved here, I was forced to abandon all that I had learned and take on a new system of beliefs - one that would help instead of hinder me in this society. And I realized quickly that my accent wasn't the only thing standing in the way of complete integration into Canadian society.

I can't say that I have fully grasped it yet. I don't think I ever will. I find that everytime I do anything in this world, I am constantly drawn back to my 7, 8, 9-year-old self and am left second guessing my moves. I think it can't be avoided simply because we're catering to so many different aspects and people in our lives.

We have our parents who see things one way... our siblings; who take on different aspects of our society's culture in an effort to survive or simply fit in... our friends; who may or may not know what you've been through and don't understand your manner of thinking unless you sit down and reflect or explain it to them.

I find that I'm constantly having to defend the fact that I can't go out every weekend because I can't afford to spend 10-15 dollars to get into a club and then top it off with 8-10 dollar drinks... without feeling absolutely guilty. Usually the guilt comes on after the fact though.

I am learning these days (and I was wondering when it would happen) that a night in with a boardgame and bottle of wine is a lot more satisfying than going to a club where the odds are, I won't even meet anyone interesting, will probably come home with blistered feet, have to cough up an extra $60 for a cab and so forth.

I miss my childhood in India terribly. I saw how my older cousins and their friends spent their time. Value was put more into dinners, drives around the country, walks around town and indoor activities that bonded people for longer periods of time than simply one night.

I don't regret the few years when I went out every weekend. I think everyone has that period in their life. Maybe it will surface again when I'm older and get into... well, older clubs. But for now, I'm content with reverting back to my peaceful weekends that don't include wondering how I'm going to make it back home at 3 a.m. Maybe this too might change when I am more financially secure.

All I can think about when I spend money is the fact that there's a great amount of student debt waiting for me once I finish off with school... and that terrifies me.

Still, I have friends that I made upon moving to this country who could be in the same boat as me in terms of finances. However, unlike me (a basket of nerves at the thought of having to pay it all back... and fast!) they are able to move on through life without a single worry, anticipating that a day will come when their loans will be paid off. But because that day isn't today... why worry?

Somedays I wish I was like that. But as I said... I'm not built that way.

Anyway, so I guess after all this... it comes down to the fact that I'm terrified of going on this so called vacation. I fear that this trip will either reinforce the fact that I miss the pace, the smells, the summer laze, the fact that no shops are open on sundays and that traffic literally means competing with the stray dogs and cows on the roads.

On the other hand I also fear that all that I remember from my childhood might just as easily be an illusion as nothing will be the same as it was.


** Please click the "home" tag at the bottom of this post to see a related post I wrote last July!**

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Static Energy

I can't help but wonder about time and change and how they help and hinder each other.

With time, seasons change... days turn to weeks, weeks to months and months turn into years. But with time, people grow too. Mothers can relate to this movement in time quite easily, as they watch their new borns grow into toddlers who move into pre-school-adolescence-teenagerville-adulthood-etc...

I think about how time has changed me and the relationships I have made over the years. It has certainly affected my relationship with my family. Whether this is a good or bad thing is yet to be determined... but I am content. I guess that should say something.

I tell my friends who I don't see often, that this program I'm studying in right now feels like a bubble: once I'm in I can't get out until it pops. When the bubble pops, I look at the world as it passed me by and feel unsure as to whether or not I've actually moved forward... or if I was left behind.

I guess some friends understand it. I'm still trying to sell that story to others who probably think it's an excuse.

In any case, I feel as though time has affected a lot of aspects in my life. On one hand, I feel that when I'm at school working, time ceases to exist, as one thing after another comes flying in my direction at record speed and I'm left struggling to keep up. I leave only when I'm completely done for the day, as I know the next day will have more meteors speeding in my direction. There is no room to pile up the work.

On the other hand, I feel as though the rest of my life is on pause. And really, it is. I mean I'm at school five days a week from early in the morning till the evening. After that I either go to work or come home and sit at my computer typing together words and praying that they will make sense upon submission.

Here I draw upon my last post about most aspects of my life being an open book. My friends, for the most part, know where I am and what I'm up to at all times. From school, to events I'm covering, to family affairs, to weekend outings... it's all there. And because once in a while, I'll take a peek out of the bubble to look around and glance at who I am missing, I will even send random messages to check in.

What sucks... (uh-oh) is not hearing back. I mean not a single response in terms of "a-ok" ... or "fine, hang in there..." or "screwed on this end too..."

The changes I've noticed with time have showed me that people whom I never thought would give a damn... do. Strangely enough... I find messages of comfort, reassurance, check-ins and "stop being such a drama queen" from people I didn't think even remembered who I was.

... And I'm left stunned!

Perhaps with time I have come to expect a lot from the people I am close to. On the other hand, maybe they expect me to be a certain way as well.

However, in the past few months I have felt more like myself than I have in a very long time. I mean, I have particular micro goals now... actual dreams... all my own. Some time ago, if anyone asked me what my plans were for the near future, I would always map them out based on people who surrounded me.... family... co-workers... friends... (please don't read this as a complaint). Nowadays I'm learning to live for me. This is probably because of the little down time I get... I've come to treasure it so so so so so much!

So I guess time has had a positive and negative impact on me. I guess it is supposed to go both ways, right? Too much of a good thing can be bad. Time has brought me closer to my true self... and closer to the people who are okay with me being me and I could not be more thankful for that. All I can say is, FINALLY!

By no means is this post over. I wrote on for another 4 paragraphs... but I deleted it all because those thoughts are some of those "private emotions" that I'm learning to keep, well... private. Maybe with time, I will learn to speak more freely to those who inspire these musings! =)


n.b.: on a read over... wow, remind me never to post a blog at 1 a.m. after a long long long manic monday!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

A Wintery March in March

Today was not at all what it was supposed to be.

I was supposed to wake up and go to college to speak with new recruits about the program I'm in. I was supposed to come home and go out in the evening for a night out on the town with some friends.

But, Mother Nature had other ideas.

The 9,57,489th snow storm of the season began yesterday afternoon. I was at school, working away on the computer in a deserted office, when I glanced out the window and saw the first speckles of snowfall. I thought to myself, "The weather guy must be wrong. This has to be one of those "psych!" sort of deals." I was pretty sure even an hour after it started snowing furiously, that it would stop, and I would be able to enjoy my last weekend before school started again, doing the things I wanted to do.

24 hours later, I found myself at my computer, reading over an e-mail that spoke of the cancelation of the event happening at college. Which meant, I had the morning/afternoon free to do... well, whatever!

The storm was still bellowing outside, so my automatic impulse was to crawl back into bed and sleep away the sleepies!

Saturday was March 8th... International Womens Day...

... and I was in desperate need of a story.

So, resigning myself to the fact that sleep was not such a good idea, I called a friend who I knew was covering an event taking place at a couple of the local universities... I asked if I could tag along with her... despite the storm... despite the fact that it was a cold, windy, Saturday morning.

I automatically assumed that because of the storm, no one... man or woman, would venture out of the house.
I assumed wrong.

When I got to that auditorium, what I saw was something I never would have imagined. It was something right out of a TV documentary... something I knew happened... but not on snowy Saturdays... let alone, just around the corner!

Women... of all ages, races, shapes... mothers, friends, daughters and sisters... all of these women were crowded into the small auditorium, more animated and with more character than I had seen in a group in a very long time. There were signs, slogans, petitions, pins, buttons, scarves... all showcasing the variety of movements and support networks that were represented at this Rally in honour of International Womens Day.

They then proceeded to brave the cold and marched along Bloor to Yonge, then down Yonge to Ryerson University.

Just like me, my friend acknowledged that she too had never experienced something like this before. I mean, despite the weather, when most people chose to stay home (like I had wanted to) these women (and quite a few men) chose to come out and march in solidarity for causes that they held near to their hearts.

This was not how I imagined spending my Saturday at all. However, I am glad I did. It reconfirmed a lot of things for me. For one thing, I know that the weather is just a factor not an absolute hinderance.

On the other side, I wondered about whether there was something on this planet that I believed in so strongly ... that I would drop everything and rally in support of it. I don't know if there is just yet. I guess I'm still learning.

Still, all of those women out there today... wow! I was honoured to be around each and every one of them. Yes, even the scraggly and animated bag lady who kept screaming, "What about India?" during every speech or announcement in that auditorium.


My friends and I didn't end up going out tonight. I was a bit disappointed about it, because it would have been a good way to end my week. This cancellation is mostly due to the weather so hopefully a rain-check is in order.

I proceeded to spend the evening, reading through a large chunk of Eat Pray Love (a book I have come to love as much as chocolate... and anyone who knows me, realizes how big of a deal that is!).

This was a good compromise for the weather, I think.


Wednesday, 5 March 2008

An open book?

Since my last post, I have received a lot of feedback from people who read my blog. Thank you, because you all are very encouraging with your words, thoughts and comments. I am fortunate to be surrounded with such a wonderful network of people who appreciate my passion and add to it.

Out of these comments a lot of people have talked to me about the fact that my blog is so open and honest. They've mentioned that what they read on here is written freely and to an extent they feel as though they're in my mind.

This got me thinking: Am I being too open? Too honest? Am I not saving any aspect of my thoughts and ideas ... things that should remain private, for myself?

This is the reason why I haven't posted on here for so long. I have been busy trying to build a professional online portfolio of stories and photos, so that at this time next year, I will actually start getting paid for my work. It doesn't hurt to be a dreamer, right? Aside from this, I also needed some time to think about whether or not I should keep this blog. I have to admit that although I don't update it too often, this blog has outlasted any social networking site that I have been part of or any of my prior attempts at blogging.

Still, I do write a lot of my thoughts on here. Usually, these thoughts are just ramblings that I type away, in an effort to get rid of some of the static that takes over my mind. In a program where I am constantly thinking... of possible events to cover, of people to interview, of those who don't respond to my messages, of new people to interview, of structure, of format, of headlines, of decks, of layout designs, of photo angles... of... of... of... everything except my life... this blog helps clear up some of the fog, allowing me to briefly have a checkin with my own thoughts.

I have always been an open book. In fact, after earning a major in theatre, I wondered how that even happened. I have never been a good liar and have most often always gotten caught when I attempted to do so. Hence, I figured why not lay it all out there. without worrying too too too much about grammar... or structure.

This is far from that cliche of "people airing their dirty laundry out in public."

I am positive beyond a doubt that a lot of the people who read this blog don't know a speckle of the dirt on my laundry. Well, maybe some of you know about that ketchup stain on my white shirt. Those of you who didn't know about that, do now.

I come on here when I know there's at least one of you who will get a kick from reading my ramblings. And... to my huge surprise, there's more of you reading this blog now than in Dec 07. I was surprised... but I kind of like it.

For a girl who stumbles on her words when talking, I feel as though this blog allows me to talk to my friends (you all)... and by reading it, you are letting me know that you're listening. There is a great possibility that I'm being judged... but if you have something to say back, you have to write a comment. Did I mention, I love comments?

Anyway, I guess listening helps too. You all don't realize this... but you're all the inspiration for Breezy Thoughts.

It is from my conversations with you that I am able to think... and write... You're all an inspiration to me.

Ok... go on.... insert cheesy music here

and... insert... GAG... here

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