Tired of cooking and eating alone

I confess that I was on a cooking spree for several months, but am now growing tired of cooking and eating alone. And my only solace is that I have only 3 more months of training to complete before I can get back. Back home. Yup, I’ve been a little homesick lately. Honestly, I think I feel more than just homesick. But that’s something I don’t want to discuss just now, probably not the best time or place. Well, the homesick part, that’s something I have to deal with on a daily basis now. So much so that last Sunday I had exactly the same menu, that mom has back home, on our catch-up-on-your-sleep, lazy, family-oriented Sundays - cucumber salad (long slices, sprinkled with salt and red chilli, and a dash of lime), moong, bhat, kadhi, and papad. While the familiar taste brought some consolation, I was still eating alone. And I’m scared I may be getting used to that. For the 2 days that my cousin and her family visited Vancouver in July, life was so different. Just being with family takes away all the distress.

On the training front, things are going quite well. I passed the Commercial License written exam. I am now preparing for the Commercial Flight Test. The season is changing and I can only hope that the weather will hold up till I’m finished here. There are no more 35 degree hot summer days, the temperatures are steadily decreasing, the sun is setting earlier, and the clouds linger around longer. Fall - do they call it the season of love? Or was that spring? Anyhow. Currently flying 4 days a week, with 150 hours of total flight time in my logbook, and feeling confident about this flight test, I should be done with it in another 2 weeks.

Once the Commercial License is out of the way, I go on to the last 2 legs of the training - Multi-Engine training (finally get to fly a twin-engine airplane) and Instrument Rating training (flying into clouds). The target, 200 hours, is getting closer and closer. The excitement is building. Unfortunately, due to the bank transfer problems in June and July, I am behind schedule, by as much as 4 weeks. So my previously comfortable target of November has now become a tough one to achieve.

I don’t know how many of you got to watch Deepa Mehta’s Water. I had the opportunity to watch it here on DVD, and was quite impressed by the movie. The Oscar nomination and 8 other awards, including Best Director, Best Actress, and Freedom of Expression Award, are all well deserved. The sad part is that none of these nominations or awards came from India. The movie was banned in India. I’ve seen Indian movies in the last 2 to 3 years, including several that portray extreme on-screen violence and sex, sometimes vividly, sometimes veiled, and all that without as much as a parental warning. And I am yet to hear of any movie having been banned on these grounds. But here we have this internationally acclaimed movie, based in 1938, and because it touches religion and caste, it gets banned! Simply outrageous. The people who resolved to have this movie banned are probably still living in 1938, blind to today’s India.

Then again, here's something that puts Canada to shame. I live in a town called Ladner. A large part of Ladner is farmland. And for the past few months, owners of one farm have taken it upon themselves to put Ladner in the hall of fame of the stinkiest communities. Each time the wind picks up speed, every person living in the town covers their nose, and gasps for fresh air. The smell is so disgusting, that many residents have fallen sick, mostly with lung and eye trouble, and several want to sue the farm owner for air pollution. In their best interests, all residents keep their doors and windows shut tight. Those who travel through the town would never want to return. And the root source of the stink is, believe it or not, chicken manure. So Ladner is now crowned "the shit farm". So much for the Sundance Pub Wednesday special $3 chicken wings!

And while I'm at it, I might as well lash out at the Indo-Canadian community. If one googles Indo-Canadian crime, several thousand entries turn up. Most of them are about organised crime, gang violence, gun culture, drug abuse and peddling, and last but not the least, domestic violence. Nothing to be proud of at all. Over the last year, there have been several domestic first and second degree murders in the Indo-Canadian community. Some of them were shocking enough to leave me gasping for breath. Consider the case of Manjit Phangali. Her husband has been charged of burning his 4 months pregnant wife and mother of a 3 year old girl, dumping the body in a deserted place, and then reporting to police that his wife is missing. The police has to use dental impressions from the body to identify it. There are numerous such domestic murder cases. Then of course, there are the smart-ass bastards, who will get themselves a bride from India, bring them to Canada, and when they feel like it, throw the wife and kids out, leaving them to fend for themselves. And I thought these things happened only in India. Some people will never change. Excuse me for the language, but a strong point had to be made here.

If Canada as a country has a liberal immigration policy, and yet several legitimate migrant aspirants and other visitor and student visa applications from India are denied entry by Canadian authorities, we now have another strong point to add to the list of reasons for the rejections. Too many Indians, who migrate to Canada, and their lineage, are getting involved in these devious crimes, and every new visa applicant is probably being screened against profiles of known criminals.

Speaking of Canada, the cost of living is getting on my nerves now. Consider the fact that 1 Canadian Dollar will buy me half a litre of water, OR a can of coke, OR a litre of petrol. Compare that to India, where Rupees 40, the equivalent of 1 Canadian Dollar, will buy me 4 big bottles of water, OR 4 big bottles of coke, OR almost 1 litre of petrol. The cheapest loaf of bread costs $2 (Rupees 80) in Vancouver, and Rupees 15 in Bangalore. How about this one: the cheapest pack of 12 condoms costs upwards of $7, which is Indian Rupees 280. The last time I checked in India, a pharmacy was selling packs of 20 for Rupees 80. And wonder of wonders, most of the packs available at the pharmacy in Canada are, Made in India! Just FYI, no, I haven't been conducting a survey on the price of condoms. I was in a store, and just happened to see another example of an economy that is ripping off the residents of the country. No wonder there are hundreds of homeless people in Vancouver. And they call India a poor country!

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