Parenting in Turbulent Times in a Foreign Land

Ashis Basu Rant on #Parenting

Parenting is a huge challenge wherever one is.

The rapid pace of change makes it a very complex task. Parenthood is about creating a responsible decent person who will go into the world one day. You do not want her or him to become a terrorist or a drug dealer. Its easy for that to happen.

Millions of people are migrating everyday, on the move for various reasons, but principally due to conflict or political turbulence in their home countries. Others chose to leave for better prospects by going through a formal immigration process.

I am one of them who immigrated to Canada. I speak to those who like me immigrated to the West from Asia, Middle East and Africa.

Each of one us is born with a set of values and we bring those with us, hoping to preserve those values and pass them on to our children.

Not easy.

Your new environment is totally different from the one you left behind. Everything from the infrastructure to food, the public amenities and so on. Then there is language, if you do not speak the language you are in for a struggle. Jobs are another huge hurdle. Extremely challenging if you have not prepared for it by prior networking. You will most certainly have to accept a role well below that you were in.

Each of the above will impact parenthood.

In the days to come, I will share my own experiences, but today I deal with the cultural clash that happens in every household. From food to clothing to education and then to their love lives.

Will you accept the fact that your darling child is an expert in sexual practices? Many are. Teenage pregnancies are on the rise. Then there is race, will you accept your child dating someone from a different race or religion? Will you accept if he or she is called “FOB” or worse?

Will you accept them talking back to you or telling you to eff off? It does happen.

If you are thinking of immigrating, think seriously.

Will you accept your child being diagnosed with clinical depression? Many teenagers are now on anti-depressants.

Will you accept your child smoking cigarettes or pot and drinking at home?

Do you know where your child is at 2 am? Is he or she carrying a weapon.

I see this everyday in my city and its painful.

All of the above seriously affects organizations and often turns into Human Resource Crisis.

Lets talk. I welcome comments, suggestions or criticism.


Nova Dance DeepEnd Weekend June 24-25

BharataNatyam, Kathak, Odissi and Bhangra are well known Indian dance forms. Most artists stick to the traditional forms and seldom venture out to change, modify or fuse with other forms.

Then we have those, who, though trained in Classical dance have the courage to break out of the mold and create a new form. There are many names for these forms, I simply call it “Fusion”.

Bharatanatyam is now taught in almost all major cities in Canada and the US. Started typically by women trained in the form and who want to share the joys of dance.

In India, it was normal to teach young girls some form dance and music. Most of my friends hated it! Twist, Jive, Rock n Roll were preferred! Some were even bold enough to train in Waltz!

In the West many of my friends kids have gone for ballet or modern interpretive dance. Some have even trained in Indian classical dance. Highly commendable for a caucasian woman or man to do so.

Artists who are making waves in the “Fusion” category are now more recognized and appreciated. People are flocking to their shows.

In Canada, Nova Bhattacharya and her company Nova Dance are blazing a new trail. Nova is a trained Indian classical dancer and Choreographer who has presented shows with various themes. She also has a wicked sense of humor!

Most recently she had a sold out show in Toronto called “Infinite Storms” which portrayed the pain of a migraine sufferer. Brilliant performance by all the artists.

And now, she is bringing back the #DeepEndWeekend which is a creative multi-disciplinary immersion for artists.It will be at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto on June 24 and 25. Mark you calendars.DeepWeekend

Write From The Heart

Millions of humans around the world want to be famous. Some become politicians, corporate titans, businessmen, professionals and then we have that famous category, writers!

I must admit, that ever since my grade 6 teacher said I wrote reasonably well, I secretly harboured becoming a writer. Went through school, securing decent marks in English. A bug bit me so I attempted a question every sane person avoided. Writing a short story. I remember it well. We were given a few starting words and had to write a story continuing with those words. Damn the Dons in University of Cambridge. India, like all Commonwealth countries offered the “Senior Cambridge” examination along with the local board exams in the sixties. Yeah, I am old!!

The words were “The whistle blew and as I reached the pier, the ship sailed away…..”

I wrote furiously and got a respectable 66% marks! Yahoo!

Since then, I have written love letters, project reports, essays and then came the tough one, writing legalese when I served with a Tribunal in Canada. I am not a lawyer, so it took some time. After writing only 4756 decisions, I figured I could write any bulshit that came to mind.

I digress.

Recently I wrote a post on the morning of April 23, the sixth death anniversary of Mum who breathed her last at the Credit Valley Hospital in the presence of a lovely Nigerian nurse. Yes, we are very multicultural in Canada. My connection will always be strong. Dad passed away in Nairobi Kenya. According to many, it touched them. Thanks guys!

The main reason I started this post was to write about writing from the heart, after reading Michael Murray‘s blog.

Thank you Michael! I owe you one!

Thank you Tabatha Southey for sharing Michael’s post. I will look at cleaning ladies as women who may have trained as a Professional in their home country, working hard while preparing for Canadian accreditation. More power to all who work hard.

Write, write anything you want, but write from the heart.



Suitcase of Memories

Suitcase of memories! Opening it after Thirty Five years! Yes, Thirty Five years! Sometimes one just wants to focus on the present and keep the memories locked away in the locker of our minds.

I finally opened it. And all at once, memories came flooding back. Letters and envelopes with stamps reveal how families have travelled and live apart.

Open your suitcase of memories!

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Multiculturalism in Canada

Chatting with a 75 year old caucasian neighbor of German heritage this evening, it is apparent that as polite and accommodating as Canadians are, they are fed up with “Multiculturalism”, code for why so many immigrants?

I asked her if “Brown” people like me, should not be allowed into Canada, she categorically said, ” they should be allowed, but for heaven’s sake, they should all speak English like my parents had to do when they came almost 100 years ago.”

She then went on to add. “I had no idea you were Indian” ! I told her I am, and speak four Indian languages! “But your English is so good”. I did tell her that I started school in England, but there were excellent English medium schools in India. Her comment?

Why dont they come to Canada? I rest my case.