About thirty years ago, a thinker par excellence said that the journey of our lives is a journey from being infinity to a small finite element, sometimes zero. INFINITY to ZERO! That’s incredulous! But so true!

A child is born. His potential is infinite. He can do anything, be anyone in this world. Then we start building limitations around him by giving him a name, a family, a country, a religion, a culture. He goes to school and gains knowledge enabling him to choose one out of the many professions possible.Then he ‘specialises’ in that profession by spending years and years working. He starts living, working, thinking, eating… in one particular way and derives comfort from this ‘zone’ with any changes causing distress.

This journey of becoming a small finite element from the infinite potential that is possessed at birth is the story of most lives in this world. At times due to this, during mid life crisis, thoughts do emerge that perhaps we would have been better off doing something else or being someone else. But alas, the fear of the unknown stops us from trying something different midstream.

However you still have INFINITE potential inside which is just dormant and the moment you realise that and believe in yourself, you could change track anytime, seek new adventures and derive greater satisfaction from life, the thinker concluded.

After spending the last fifteen months in Canada as a new immigrant, I can add with fair conviction that the policy maker of the Canadian immigration department at that time, must have also gone and heard the thinker’s discourse and believed well and truly in his words. Thus, no stone is left unturned to make new immigrants derive greater satisfaction and joy from their lives by making them start afresh from zero when they arrive here.

Disagree? Let us examine the immigration process from the eyes of an applicant.

When a person applies for Canadian immigration in the SKILLED category, he is appraised based on a points system which gives higher importance to his educational and language skills (which need to be amongst the best in his country to make the grade and leave impression) and his experience in using those skills in his profession of choice (preferably ten years plus).

This person,  a high performer in his country of origin, the ‘CHOOSEN ONE’ by the Canadian immigration, then stands in a line of aspirants who are given a go ahead to arrive here, as and when the opportunities are deemed to have arisen to take in more immigrants. When he is given a go ahead, this ‘skilled immigrant’ then lands in Canada feeling assured of continuing his life from where he left in the country of his origin and a desire to work hard to make a better living for his family and himself here.

Alas, within days of arrival, lightning strikes! First comes the realisation that his educational qualifications earned from some of the top rated colleges and universities of the world have no acceptance here. He needs to have either Canadian education or get his qualifications assessed (for non regulated professions and that too through a lengthy process) or go through a series of courses and tests (for regulated professions). This is when his qualification would be accepted ‘as is’ across the border and perhaps in almost all other countries of the world. He has therefore to spend the first year or in most cases, years, to acquire the right ‘certification’ at huge costs while earning nothing if he aspires to integrate into the system. Then if he goes ahead and acquires this certification, he is told that he cannot be still considered for the positions based on his experience and expertise since he does not possess the right ‘Canadian work experience’.

Finally tired, deflated and fast aging, this person realises that after wasting many years in the whole process, he still can only start as a beginner. This is without forgetting the other hardships he faces at all stages due to having no credit history, no credit cards, no income base or support system, no houses (and not many people willing to rent them houses)…. an endless list which could even test the saints.

NET RESULT! Majority of new immigrants arriving in Canada let their dreams die first of working in their professions of choice and pick up any survival jobs that they can lay their hands on to make ends meet. Stories of doctors, engineers, chartered accountants, working as janitors, gas station attendants, truck and taxi drivers are endless.

The vision of the thinker of letting people reenergize their lives by starting fresh from zero is realised, if not by choice, then by compulsions of our system.

Does it matter to the powers to be or to common citizens? In today’ recessionary conditions, perhaps not. A popular belief is that these immigrants are added strains to the local economy. Reams are written about billions of dollars of wealth these immigrants could create if their skills are fully utilised, but in reality, to the common eye, they look like another competitor for the scarce jobs available. The advice of a bored, unconcerned officer working in an immigration settlement agency still rings in my ears-‘ If you do not think that this is right, then you always have the option of going back from where you came’.

Yes, she is right. Some do go back! Others accept whatever comes their way and adjust with their surroundings telling themselves and the people who they come across that they are living for the happiness of their children, though never being satisfied, happy or at peace with what they do.

But there lie a few brave hearts who truly UNDERSTAND the thinker’s words and are AWARE that they are INFINITE and that they just need to draw INSIDE and would be able to find a NEW POTENTIAL which WILL help them in building afresh in a different environment. They go out and reach the skies, writing new stories of success, creating wealth for our society and leading happy and joyous lives.

To the people who go through mid life crisis as these new immigrants, or to the people whose lives have been torn apart by the recessionary forces facing us in today’ age, or even to those people who live lives feeling that they are not fully realising their potential, I would just say-



Posted in Times of India on 29th February 2012. Link below-


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s