"land of opportunities"
Happy Canada 150!
- Sanjeev Ahluwalia
Happy Canada 150!

Some decisions one makes in life are bereft of a sane logic. In fact they defy the rationales of wisdom, especially from the angle of practicality. One such crucial decision that I had made almost 18 years ago was to immigrate to Canada and explore a new inning in life. The scientist in me has always willingly played a second fiddle to the wool gatherer dominant other half of me. My better half also had agreed, though with her fair share of reluctance, and yielded to my proposal of migrating to Canada.
The mooted idea of willingly bidding adieu to the settled flow of life and jumping headlong into the unknown waters abroad, in search of "Greener Pastures"- an expression that is always used in such scenarios- appeared impractical from the very outset. We both had Ph.D.’s and were into professional jobs in our respective fields. Life was cantering along at a sure and steady pace; the layers of warmth and affection from family and great circle of friends had added an extra cosy dimension to its profound meaning. Almost everyone related to us was surprised at this sudden turn around in the planning of our future strategies.
Now as I sit back and reflect on all these years I have spent in Canada, I am overwhelmed with a feeling of deep gratitude about the blessings that I have received in this great country; a true motto for "land of opportunities". The decision that had sounded more of a quixotic at that time, has actually turned out to be very enriching. Let me reiterate the fact that nothing has come on a platter, there has been a lot of hard work and effort that has gone into making this endeavour of ours a fulfilling one.
To carve out your own niche in an alien society is not an easy task and apart from one's own earnest efforts to get settled and move ahead; the constructive part played by the society that embraces you with open arms, deserves unequivocal appreciation and recognition. We were lucky to have landed in a country that represents a true model of multiculturalism. All these years, I have been living on Canadian soil; I cannot recall any pronounced incident that reeked of any racial discrimination. In general, the acceptance from the mainstream community has been fantastic.
Canada Day or National Day of Canada holds a special significance for all Canadians as on this historic day the Canadian Federal Government came into existence with British colonies of the Upper and Lower Canada unifying into a single dominion on July 1, 1867, under the name of Canada, which is derived from the word 'Kanata" that means village. It is a moment of immense pride for millions of Canadians who commemorate this day with carnivals, parades, fireworks, barbeques, and musical concerts. These celebrations carry a distinct patriotic fervour as Canada's national flag is widely displayed everywhere and a lot of people paint their faces red and white, to reflect Canada's national colours.
Every year on Canada Day, as I soak into the celebrations, I drift into the nostalgic lanes with a sense of indebtedness, as this was the day when I had sailed into Victoria, to start a new chapter in my life. The move had carried a mixed bag of overwhelming emotions; sense of fulfillment on getting a job offer as a scientist was blended with a strange touch of apprehension about moving to an island where I knew no one.
But I am glad that I made that decision and came to Victoria, a city that carries an image of genteel civility. Its majestic landscapes depicting rugged shorelines and beautiful beaches have enchanted millions around the globe. Victoria is fondly called as a 'Paradise' and it is supposedly just an inch away from heavens. Its mild temperate weather with almost snow free winters makes it a perfect place to live; especially for someone like me, who adores the relaxed pace of life here. I feel I would not have hand picked a better spot to live, if I am accorded the privilege to rewrite my own destiny; Canada as a country and Victoria as the city.
Happy 150th Birthday, Canada.


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