Roughly three years and eight months ago, I stepped into this city with two overweight suitcases consisting of things only an inconsolable Bengali mother would pack for her child traveling abroad. I grew up with the understanding that ‘crossing the Pacific’ either for work, holiday or education is a dream a lot of middle class Bengali family harbor. At least in my immediate surrounding that was the case. I hail from a middle class family and my parents made it possible for me to acquire further education in Canada. Although they made it clear that everything that was to now follow after this journey was entirely on how I would shape it. They were quite vocal and stated that neither of them would assist me in tuition fees, rent and bill payments once I received my work permit. They would only assist me for the first few months unless of course there was an emergency. At that time, my anxious and nervous self was slightly stricken by their rigidity. Am I ever glad they didn’t take back what they said!
So there I was, thrust into a foreign environment in the peak of winter, feet devoid of snow boots but ample books and neon colored food packets screaming ‘Made in India’. Their sole purpose to warm my soul and make up for the void lack of familiarity brings forth.
Three years and eight months of absolute life changing events – professionally, academically and emotionally. I needed this metamorphosis and I don’t think it could have happened at a more appropriate time. There’s still so much left to do but my parents have recently voiced that they are quite pleased with my progress so far. So, the rest is absolutely to satiate my own appetite which, to my relief is far from being satiated.
I will forever be grateful to all those individuals – mentors, friends, professional/personal associations for putting their trust in me whole heartedly all these years. They made it possible for me to survive the frenzy of the Western world. A world so different from the hues of the colonial past my country carries.
I call Kamloops, ‘home’ as it has been my faithful refuge all these years. Silently watching me change, grow and adapt. Nursing diaspora blues, I have oscillated between Calcutta and Kamloops, finding solace in both, perhaps more in the latter. How lucky am I to have two homes at a time when millions around the world are displaced from their own??
It saddens me to leave this place even momentarily. I have been given an opportunity to teach overseas that I’d like to pursue if everything falls in place. But for now, I’ll be leaving Kamloops sometime next weekend and staying in Salmon Arm till it’s time to leave Canada in August.
I’m hoping to be back although I can’t predict a definite date at the moment.
This city in the recent past has made me very proud as it was caught in the ripples of a natural disaster. I wish everyone i have had the pleasure of knowing my absolute best.
Stay safe Kamloops. You have all my love and affection.
I made this little video that’s actually a result of slight procrastination. (I’m trying to take a break from grading papers you see!!)Also I am feeling quite sentimental to be honest.
The video has some good photographs and other terrible over edited ones. But they are all very special and memorable images; marking successes, brief moments of epiphany, contemplation and joy that this city bestowed me.
The song in the video is, “Alone in Kyoto” by Air.