Shared with friends in October 2003 ...
The Pope and I have something in common. No, it is not the
size of the crowds John Paul and I attract. It is the fact
that we both are celebrating 25th anniversaries this month.
He just celebrated his 25 years on the throne and this week
I am celebrating my 25 years in Canada.
Hard to imagine that it was 25 years ago that I landed at
Toronto airport to start a new life. It was October 31,
1978. The first thing I noticed that evening was weird
looking people on the street going door to door. I thought,
great! I'll fit in here nicely. My hopes were dashed as I
learnt later that these were normal people wearing masks and
costumes as part of some ancient annual ritual to give economic
boost to the candy industry.
The first few years were interesting when I was struggling
to cope with the weather, the accent, both Canadian (eh?)
and mine (unh?), upside down light switches, buying three
bottles of coke every time there was a sale with limit of
three per customer, even though I did not actually need any.
These marketing people really know how to work on the new
Then there was this constant correcting of Canadian people
that I am not an Indian and then trying to explain them the
perennial animosity between India and Pakistan. It was
during one such occasion that a colleague of mine said, "the
fighting between India and Pakistan over Kashmir is like two
bald men fighting for a comb!!!"
I started out with nothing and still have most of it.
Actually after 25 years, I am quite content with what I have
(or don't have) in terms of health, wealth, happiness,
career, life, and hair on my head, etc. I have though
noticed a disturbing trend in recent years. Not a day goes
by when I am not reminded, through my e-mail in-box, about
my anatomical inadequacies. Then they offer me low cost
mail-order degrees and diplomas as if this is exactly why I
did not get that CEO job. If this was not enough, they also
offer me to solve all my debt and financial problems. Come
to think of it, going through my inbox is as depressing as
listening to Donald Rumsfeld.
My only regret is that Canadians did not recognize my full
potential. The only people who know my real worth are
Nigerians. They trust me with their millions more than Bank
of Montreal will do with their pen, which they tightly
secure with a chain!!!
Am I wiser after all these years? Well, I found that it is
easier to get older than it is to get wiser. And when I
finally got my head together, now my body is falling apart!