oye canadaMy latest article in Times of India new section – New to Canada, published today, i.e. 17th August 2015-


Welcome to Canada! The land’ NEXT’ to the land of opportunity (remember that always, lest you get mixed up, any which way)!
Excited! Look at you! You are already flying high in your dreams and can’t stop flapping your wings! I know. I have been at your place, exactly six years back. So we understand each other and let’s get the ball rolling from here. Do not decimate the information that I will provide in this article or the ones to follow as positive or negative. Let’s just say that it is realistic and will be conveyed in a ‘matter of fact’ format because I genuinely want YOU to SUCCEED. So you need to know exactly what you are stepping into. The rest is your ‘karma’. Or luck! Or whatever your favourite ‘guru’ deciphers! And if your ‘Royal Highness’ can kindly stop flying and get grounded again, then let’s sit down and plan some future ahead.
First things first! You are coming to a cold country, as cold as its treacherous winters. So do not expect a warm welcome, for the breezy first few days or months, or years or even in some cases, lifetime. Don’t imagine that just because this is the land of Sunny Leone so damsels would be waiting to ignite your dreams, if not your life, or expect the birds to sing melodious songs when you land! It’s important to take one final hard look at the pros-cons before you take that final step and in this article, I would discuss the PROS of moving to ‘Kanada’-
1. A clean, healthy environment- You would actually be surprised after walking on the garbage dump that they call Chowpaty at Juhu Beach or for that matter, most cities, towns, villages, et al in India, that such places can exist and such cleanliness can exist as a matter of rule, than exception. Be prepared to add years to your life, just by the quality of air that you will breathe. Just to add, even the large water bodies in Canada are ‘lakes’ and not ‘seas’ as they are filled with fresh water. That’s freshness in water, air and land for you!
2. Zero Corruption- No, I know you can’t believe that this can actually happen after what we go through in India. Back home, we have systems and people as greasy as the curries that we love and we are so used to it that we cannot even fathom a ‘Pandu’ without his ‘cut’ or a file actually travelling without the wheels of money! But alas, it’s true. At least in day to day lives of the common people, corruption does not exist. Files will move in government offices, licenses will be allotted and the Police and administration will work and rely on their income earned through the taxes they ‘legally’ collect from you than eye you and your pocket for their livelihood.
3. Sensible driving- This is going to be the biggest shock. Not just would you see sensible driving but even YOUR HIGHNESS would lose the right to own the road. Driving here is not considered a RIGHT but a PRIVILIEGE, awarded by the state. People actually drive in lanes rather than capturing any and all inch space available, maintain distance, stop not just at traffic lights but also at a stop sign or even for pedestrians and above all, do not honk unless they are really very-very angry or it is a matter of life and death. Driving actually may become a pleasure than stress.
4. A working system and administration- A system that works, a justice department that delivers and in time, Police which is feared and yet is responsive to our needs and above all everything has been programmed to be done in a systemic way. From driving license tests, real estate deals, credential evaluation, professional registration, for everything a systemic way exists and you need to follow that. Unfortunately ‘Jugads ‘ do not work so get ready to lead a systemic life and enjoy bliss.
5. World class Medical systems for ALL- There are no separate hospitals for the rich or the poor. Medical is FREE (once you complete three months of residency) and the facilities are world class and SAME for everyone. Even if it may cost a fortune. I actually know of a person whose entire expenses of regular dialysis at home or in the hospital for nine long years and later, kidney transplant and all sundries in between was taken care of by the state. No. Do not even imagine what would have happened to such a person if he was a commoner, back home. Yes, there are lines and waiting lists to meet specialist doctors, but the care you get once attended makes it a minor aberration. So relax, your health will not be a worry, especially in the golden years.
6. Excellent FREE schooling- Those stories about studies being ‘easy’ and ‘worthless’ in schools in North America are just that- bed time stories without any reality. Back home, we are used to putting too much stress on mugging and ‘remembering’ and getting 95% plus marks to succeed in life, than learning things. Here right from schools, more focus in on understanding life and environment, more focus on ‘How’, ‘Why’, ‘What’ and on making children learn things by their own research on varied topics. Your child will actually learn and be prepared to make a mark for himself in real life. Off course universities of Canada are rated amongst the best in the world and you also have added advantage of sending your child, just across the border when he is ready for his college life.
7. ‘Desi Land’- Yes you heard it right! Canada is desi land. Indians and potatoes are readily available in all parts of Canada and not just specific pockets. So you will never be out of home, where ever you are! Especially if you live in ‘desi’ heartlands like Brampton, Mississauga, Vancouver, Toronto. In fact on many streets of Brampton, it would be very difficult to find anyone than ‘desis’ around. Springdale is rightly called ‘Singdale’ and why not? Power to ‘desis’! And yes, to succeed amongst the Desis, try and learn a little Punjabi. It would greatly enable you to be a part of the conversation as yours truly learnt the hard way.
8. Relaxed lifestyle- Finally if I could sum it up, a relaxed lifestyle. Canadians love to live and live to love. At most places, 9 to 5 means, 9 to 5, not 9 to 5+5. Also weekends is for fun. No wonder Canada ranks right up there in the happiness index!
Wow! The ‘PROS’ look exciting! Seems like YOUR HIGHNESS has made the right decision to come to Canada!
But guess what? There are some ‘CONS’ and the ‘Conmen’ who await you! For that you will have to read my next article.
Till then, enjoy feeling lucky and rejoice in becoming a future subject of Her Majesty, the Queen of England!


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