In those corners of the street, where books and a cuppa of tea meets…
There are just a few things in life that enchant me like nothing else, poetries, nature, and my chai.
When I moved to Canada in early 2014 and landed for the first time in Calgary, it was still all white with snow. I could see no green peeps, no charm as the snow was already hard rock and waiting for some strong sun rays to melt it down and it was literally very cold for a person to come from a tropical country of +40 degree to straight –12 degrees Celsius.
Then there were these bright red signboards shining on almost every few several blocks which could attract my shabby and gloomy eyes. It said Tim Hortons. I stepped in thinking to get relief from outside cold and to get infused to some aroma of hot coffee. But, my journey changed from that point. As I entered, I was introduced to the Canadian culture for the first time. It was my first impression of the land where I came with heaps of dreams to cherish.
I never was a coffee lover. But going to Tims was something like letting hot liquid flow in my blood veins to make it feel better in cold. It gave a feeling of being saved from dying with a chilling wind and the best part was its affordability. When you are so new on a strange land, your every penny counts.
I remember my early days going to Tims and standing in queue witnessing those several people who like me have come from different parts of the world. Standing there, I often used to think of what might have made them come to this country? Of course, there are so many people who are forced by the situation but what about those who have just made it a choice and even what about those who came here just by destiny (marrying or supporting family member) without the desire of actually making this as their another home.
But apart from these lingering thoughts, what I could witness was irrespective of their origin, race, and color, they were all submerged to one strong thing. They all looked humble, they all talked soft and all acted politely. I started feeling it almost everywhere, while commuting on public transit exploring the city, finding a place to live and finding organizations that would help me build a new career and settle in this country.
On and off and to the fro, visiting Tims became a habit. Sitting with that cuppa, seeing the people talk, thinking about them in my other part of the mind, while trying to find my own new path to walk was becoming an almost daily routine. However, in the initial months, the Tims didn’t serve me that sheer joy of visit until I found their Chai which tasted good and I felt so much like home. I was no more forced to have coffee. It reduced my pain of walking on someone else’s shoes involuntarily. And also as time passed, the snow started to uncover itself and my life started to take its new form.
I never thought Canada as my second home would carry so much treasure for me through its natural beauty. It refreshed my life with memories of my days of living in the Himalayas. I was nomadic in my nature, and it came to me with my birth. Born in a jungle, sent to studies in cities, spent holidays in wild and traveled all across and along the border, packing and unpacking entire living space every three years due to army postings. This new land and the people here made me feel that again. After living a well-settled life for almost two decades, coming to this country made me recall all those things of childhood which I forgot as the days were gone. And I am now rebuilding my own forest once again, all over again.
But I am mentioning this because 2017 is that special year when Canada is celebrating 150 years of its birth. It is a country which is a mini version of this world. Who so ever comes here eventually stays here. In the past three years of my life, since I came here, things have dramatically changed a lot. My family, my responsibilities and my career. And everything is challenging.
Amidst this, I wonder, what this country actually means to me and to the people like me. And what about those people who actually were born to this land and are now becoming a minority. What about their stories, what about their culture, what about their dreams. 150 years, a fairly good span of time and see where this country stands today. Those are the questions every person in Canada has to think about. Because as a mini version, it is still the most peaceful place to live on earth. Because people here still carry humanity irrespective of how hard their situations are.
And still you can see them smiling, talking and chatting in the corners of a street at the Tims and no one would know the stories they carry. No one would know how much pain they carry because all those layers them is their humbleness. This is how I am mingling in this culture, with my story making a path through their stories.