Family, Cultural beliefs, Political decisions, Relationships, Social Fairness, Inspiration, Religious (alternate) views, Agnostic Views, Humour and Just Random Thoughts. So watch out for some fireworks laced with humour
I am a beginner to all this blogging. Recently found a passion for writing. Not sure if I am a good enough writer to publish a REAL book. I am probably using this as a testing platform to see if I attract enough interest.
I was born in Sri Lanka, now for the last 26 years living in Australia. So am I a Sri Lankan or Australian, it changes time to time. Lets say I am not ashamed to say I am a Sri Lankan but I think my affections lie with Australia.
I am a cancer survivor, marriage survivor, war (civil war) survivor and what ever else the world/destiny has thrown at me.
So my blog I guess would be about all those things. Humour is Huge for me, fairness is huge for me, I question everything religion, cultural beliefs, Political decisions. So watch out for some some fireworks laced with humour.
Twenty One Years and Nine Months Ago (there about) a young couple had this crazy idea that they should now think about a second child. They were very happy with their first effort and couldn’t see a reason not to go ahead with their idea.
From the get go this second child made sure he announced his coming to the world and there was red carpet waiting for him. So the star was born just a few weeks before he was really due. Mum was relieved as she had enough of his kicking in the stomach and decided he was better out than in, however the dad would have preferred a night of uninterrupted Cricket. As it was time was Arjuna Ranatunga to get out it was time for Arjuna Ganesan to come out.
You would think with such an Omen this young Arjuna would have turned out to be a great Cricketer. Well he is left handed and that’s where the similarities and talent ends.
Well, he doesn’t need to be the next Arjuna Ranatunga or anyone else for that matter. From the get go he showed us that he was an individual with his own identity that is to be admired and loved.
I am not entirely sure when he started to talk. It could have been even the same day he was born telling the doctor what to do. He started to talk pretty early and hasn’t given up on it as yet. He has a lot to say about a lot of things. Although an Asthmatic, no issues with voice projection either. Driving the boys to school I recollect many a times Hari (my eldest) declaring that it was “quiet time now”, just to get some breathing space to think on our own. This ability to talk did give him some opportunity to venture into Public Speaking and land a few MC gigs. When your child takes the stage to address a large audience of adults at the age of nine barely reaching the microphone, it does give the mother and father a moment of Goosebumps.
He loved the stage to speak, to act and to dance. As he grew he became more aware of the society and its issues. He was in year 7, and he returns home with his lunch box untouched. He explains to me that he didn’t get time to eat, as he had to break up two year 4 kids fighting in the school grounds. Him and his friend had to tell these kids to break up and explained to them that things would get worse if the teachers got involved. As he was having this negotiation he saw a small kid from Kindergarten in the middle of the car park. So he had to run to get this kid out of the way and take him into the School Office. And when all this finished it was time to head back to his classroom.
There was a kid in Arj’s class (Primary School year 6 or thereabouts) who was considered to be a bully. But this kid was really a great Cricketer. One day Arj asked me during the match to call out this kid and cheer him on. To yell out “Great shot Tony” (I made up that name Tony). Arj explained to me that this kid had no mum and the father was struggling to bring up his kids. And the father rarely attends any of the matches or training. And even when he did, he would yell at them and wasn’t really being a loving dad. So Arj explained to me and said maybe the reason he bullies others is because there is no one to say he is great or make him feel special.
So I followed Arj’s request and during the game I yelled “Tony that was a great shot”. The kid was really startled. When he came back to the club house, he came up to me and said “Thank you Mrs. Ganesan” and the following weeks, after each match or while the game was going on and he was waiting for his turn, he would start a conversation with me. He mentioned that he would one day like to play for the state. Any time he saw me in school, even outside of Cricket he would stop and great me “How are you Mrs. Ganesan?” Years later I met him at the shopping centre all grown up and unrecognisable, but he recognised me and greeted me the same “Hallo Mrs. Ganesan, how are you?” I am not saying that kid turned into a new leaf just because of that one action but I am pretty sure he appreciated that small gesture. It meant nothing to me but it meant so much to that kid. But what astounds me most is that Arj at such a young age realised this.
Even at that young age he was fascinated with politics. For one of his school projects he interviewed a few known Politicians. It was not easy for a Primary school kid to get these interviews. So he got many knock backs and but eventually he managed to interview Nick Minchin, Christopher Pyne and John Hill. To their credit they didn’t treat him like a kid; they answered his questions like they would for Leigh Sales. Also I think it taught Arj that if you want to pursue something, you have to overcome knockbacks.
Years later, now studying Journalism and International relations seems very fitting for his personality and character.
Years ago, Twenty Nine Years and Nine months ago to be exact we had no idea that this crazy idea we had of having another child was going to be this exciting.
Thank you my boy for bringing so much happiness and joy. For all the laughs, for all the crazy things you drag us doing and for the moments you make us so proud. Those moments almost make me forget how your bedroom looks, all the times I have rushed to the hospital with lego pieces up the nose or crayon in the ear canal or with a broken limb. Just remember I said almost, so please clean up your room and stop hurting yourself.
The words ring in my ears. It was my father in law’s one year death anniversary a couple of days ago. Jan (my sister in law and bestie) calls me after her temple visit for her father. Fighting her emotions she utters the words “It was just an year ago that we went on that trip and then all hell broke lose”
It was just an year ago, that Jan and I decided to celebrate the fact that we have made it to Fifty. Life served each of us a fair proportion of trials and tribulations. But thankful we are still here and still in tact.
Jan living in Canada and me in Australia, our friendship is held together tightly with ‘skype’ and “whatsapp’. We decided we needed a good R&R and decided a holiday together somewhere.
So it was an year ago that she and I frolicked the streets of Goa. We would yap till the early hours of the morning. Partly because each of us was fighting jet lag from different time zones. So when I was sleepy Jan wouldn’t let me sleep and vise versa. We giggled, we laughed and we even cried.
I remember a similar scenario when we were nineteen. We hadn’t gone on any holiday, I had just moved to Colombo with my mum for studies and Jan was about to migrate to Canada, my dad had fallen ill and was hospitalised. Jan stayed the nights with me for support. Jan and I shared a room. This was about the same time I was falling for her brother as well. Well, let me rephrase that, he was falling for me. She was going out with my cousin too. So we had many things to giggle and laugh about. Then came my fathers demise. And now we had things to cry about.
Each year we accumulate memories of all kinds. Some happy, some not so. But they are memories nonetheless.
I like to think that an year ago was all about 50th birthday parties and reunions. But unfortunately, last year did come crashing down at the end. Jan lost her dad (my father in law) just after our Goan trip. He was a larger than life character and his death came unexpectedly. Yes, we can console ourselves to say he did not suffer and he went peacefully. However, I always wonder if I had done everything I can to let him know that we loved him very much – in spite of all the arguments and disagreements, to let him know that I admired him more than he will ever know.
I am grateful for the memories he gave us/me. Some funny, some sad and some utterly mad. It was a great theatre. He was truly an amazing man. His achievements surpasses the stains of his childhood. But he is not one to bury his past to parade his success. He lived a humble and frugal life. Sometimes too humble and too frugal. But anything more made him unhappy and we had to let him live his life the way he wanted. Rest in Peace mama, you have earned it.
I lost two of my favourite aunties. I call them aunties but neither of them related to me by blood. I loved them dearly and each one had an irreplaceable impact on my life. Again the two deaths came from no where. It was as if God had a quota to get through before Christmas. Bang, Bang, Bang three in a row within a week.
I recall Aunty Ponmani. I can’t help but break out a smile and a chuckle. She was a mischievous, cheeky old woman. I hear the word ‘Faminist’ thrown around loosely these days. This woman was a pioneer. She didn’t waste time putting a label to her actions. She just went ahead and did them. She was a tough women who took no prisoners. But for all that tough exterior she was rather mushy on the inside. I loved her cuddles, I miss her cuddles. Truly grateful to the man up there for letting me cross paths with this amazing lady. Rest in Peace Aunty Ponmani Ps. Can you please allow others over there to rest in peace as well Aunty? I can picture her smiling at me and saying “why should I’ with a twinkle in her eye.
Then came Aunty Mahasen. I have no idea why she loved me so much, but she did. She was a triple threat. Grace, elegance and class all donned into one. Again a mere chance that made us cross paths, but a path, with rainbows and butterflies. And many pot plants. Missing your gorgeous smile aunty, rest in peace.
It didn’t stop there. Arj my youngest learnt a hard lesson in life. A cruel lesson. Life is short, especially for his nineteen year old mate Jack. Arj reluctantly bid good bye to his mate Jack just before Xmas as well. He was found dead in the shower. No, not drugs. Not sure what, coroners baffled too. It was only an year before that they bid good bye at school and Jack moved to Melbourne and Arj left for Japan. They kept in touch on facebook and promised to catch up that December. Time and tide waits for none and in this case not even for a nineteen year old with so much promise. Memories – I am sure Arj would have many, although I wonder if the last one has sealed off the older ones. Easy for me to preach – to say “don’t linger on the sadness, don’t let his passing dictate your memory of your friendship”. Memories are too raw, too soon I guess. I don’t know Jack’s mum. All I know is, she is weeping now.
Without memories, without musings we are mere robots. Each year just like dust we gather more memories. Some of them turn out to be Gold dust. We hope all of them to be gold dust, but unfortunately sometimes its just black soot. We don’t dictate what is dealt next. But we can at least influence it. That’s what I think anyway.
“I remember my cousin telling me clearly, we’ll call you on the 19th and we can talk more. How was I to know that he wasn’t going to keep that promise…”(Cont.. from part, I suggest that you read part 1 before you proceed.)
I am back at work after all the New Year celebrations. It was the 7th of January, our office was relocating premises. I was busy coding all the computers and its wires and extensions. I was under the desk when the phone rang. I just let it ring, as I wanted to get this done. Sherrie who was at the reception popped in at the door and said “Uma why aren’t picking up the phone? it’s your mum on the line” Mum never rings me at work. Immediately my thought goes to Arj my four year old, he was not the healthiest of kids. I grabbed the the phone, mum started to slowly speak. She said “Uma it’s not good news…” and she paused. My mind starts racing and my hearts joins in too. Mum continues “In Canada..Rama…”, I thought it was my uncle, she finishes the sentence. My dear cousin had met with an accident and they believe he had passed away.
My racing heart came to a complete stop. So did my mind. It went blank. Other than that one voice that just kept interjecting “No way, Not true”. Brian my boss realised that something was wrong. So did the others. They made a cup of coffee and sat and talked me, they wanted to me to calm down before I started driving.
I start driving, I start planning my thoughts, I will go home and give a call to my sister in law to confirm the news. This news came from other people not directly from the family. They were still at the hospital as per the sources. I was convinced he has somehow pulled through. There was no way he could be gone. No Way. No Fricking way. He is only forty years old, his wife/my buddy is only thrity five. He has two small kids. No Way, No He Can’t Go. I just spoke to him to seven days ago. No Way, Not True”. My mind kept chanting those words.
I am in one of the back streets. I hear a big thud, I look through the rear view mirror. A big Gum Tree branch just falls millimeters behind my car. One millisecond earlier I would have been under that gum tree. Same, same slightly different. Force of the twins now attacking the kids?? Just a mere coincidence?? Maybe.
Between my cousin and me, I am the noisy one. He was the calm, passive and quiet one. He broke all those rules when he went. He sent shook waves through the entire nation, the family and extended family. No one could fathom what had just happened. But apparently that is life.
It just took one momentary lapse of concentration for that woman to drive through a red light and take out my cousin who was taking a left turn, to cause such carnage and misery. Some of us felt angry, some of us felt some kind of empathy but overwhelmingly all of us felt lost. I felt robbed. I didn’t have a sibling of my own and even the one that I treated as my own brother was now taken. I had to shun my emotions to soldier on Jan’s (my sister-in-law). I hope God wasn’t listening to me then, if he was he was he would have rather shocked at the language I was using at him. My personal observation here is that he screwed up well and truly on this case.
Time passed, his wife (my sister in law and friend) had accepted the sentence that ‘The Life’ gave her and of the sentence the court gave the other woman, the best way she can. His kids grew with the remnants of the memories of their dad, and his parents struggled on, watching their grand kids to get a glimpse of their late son. We blamed FATE for their destiny and moved on.
I had turned Forty the previous year in June. So I was forty and six months on the 7th of January 2006. I was on my way to my mum’s house with some essentials, bread, milk etc. She was returning from Sydney that night and I wanted to put these things in her house before her arrival. I was at the intersection waiting to turn right ( For those from the Americas, this would be like taking a Left turn for you), the lights change to green. After a quick flick of the head to the right I start to move. I hear someone’s horn, not sure which direction it came from. But there was a car coming at a speed from the right. It all took just a split second. I saw the other car driver right front of me. I was sure I was gone that day, that very minute. I felt jolt at the front, but the car drove off and I was still alive.
I was frozen for a few seconds. I am not sure how I managed to brake in time, how/why the car behind me didn’t hit me. I pulled into a side road to inspect the damage to the front of the car. My number plate was screwed up. That’s it nothing else. Not another scratch. But can you imagine how close the other car was if it had touched my number plate.
Both cousin and I meeting with a similar accident on the 7th Jan and we were both at the exact age seems a little bit more than a coincidence to me. Then again I don’t know if I am reading too much into it, to feel the connection between him and me.
I survived he didn’t, my uncle survived my dad didn’t. Same, Same but different seems to be the theme in our lives. It all has to be a mere coincidence.
The Universe is a one big question mark. Do we have all the answers? I guess in the scientific world most things can be rationalized as a mere coincidence and in the world of Mystic and spirituality it is Fate or a Miracle.
I ponder where I sit with those words. I straddle between Agnosticism and Spirituality. I say spirituality and not religious, because my practice of religion is slightly different to the norm. I do make the occasional visit to the Hindu temple. I would kneel down at the chapel and same at Buddhist temples. It is just a place where it is peaceful and quiet to gather my thoughts, my fears, my appreciations, my hopes.
I do believe in the possibility of a God or a higher being. But do I believe in total submission? I find it hard to believe that “God” would be so vain that he needs your prayers/praise. I would think he is above all that. If I was God, I would rather my disciples live peacefully than create wars on my behalf. Hence the reason for me to give up on religion but embrace the creations of God, fight to preserve the good and pray for the ultimate miracle “chocolate to lose weight”. Maybe I should start a religion. My slogan would be “For the love of chocolate”. Gone off track again. In my last birth I must have been a Gold fish. Promise some serious epiphany in the next paragraph. So please read on.
I believe in doing good simply because it is the right thing to do. And what feels right to me, not because it was written in some book. I do sit on the cross roads of gray at times. Educate yourself and thy neighbor. If it is a subject that you don’t know much about (eg Islam, LGBTQ and what ever else that you have not grown up with), Educate before you swallow in assumptions and rumors.
So do I believe in Fate? Whether it be a great outcome or it be a disastrous one, I/we tend to lean on the word “Fate”. It is fate that two people met and fell in love. It is also fate that their love didn’t last forever. I think in the latter we would say “it wasn’t meant to be”. Someone meets with an accident and dies, well that was fate. He survives that’s a miracle.
Questions, confusion… well then is blind faith the answer, but then again not everything can be answered by Science either. So what is the answer. Most times chocolate seems to do the trick.
The following are a trail of incidents that happened between my dad and his twin brother, not just the two of them, but by all of us in their circle.
My dad and my uncle aren’t Identical Twins. In fact they are polar opposites in their looks and behavior. All their lives they had things happening to them which are similar but opposite as well. Yes I note the oxymoron, but read on…
My dad – Tall, Studious, funny, passive, pretty ordinary in Sports
My uncle – short, Studies – questionable, funny – more questionable, passive – definitely not, amazing in sports
My dad – One Daughter
My uncle – One Son
So here starts the explanation for the oxymoron similar but opposite. One kid each but one had a girl and the other a boy.
Now both these kids (ie the daughter is thy self) without prior thinking or planning ended up marrying into the same family. Please concentrate Sri Lankan Family Tree being explained, My husbands sister(my sister in law who happens to be my bestie) married my first cousin. Again we didn’t plan it that way. We were all living in different parts of the world at that time.
Now these two men, my cousin and my now husband share the same first name. They both worked on ships. Here comes same but opposite. My hubby joined as a Deck Cadet and ended up as the ships Captain. My cousin joined the engine room and ended up as Ships Chief Engineer. Coincidence?? I shrug my shoulders.
My sister in law and myself both studied Science subjects but ultimately ended up in banks. She was in retail banking, I was in Corporate Banking, foreign exchange and financial markets. Same same but slightly different. I got out of it after sometime but remained in accounts based jobs. Coincidence?? I purse my lips.
My Aunty and my mum were both heading for a Hysterectomy. My aunt’s surgery was scheduled for September and my mum’s was in November. It was school holidays so mum decided to make a trip to her home town so she could be of assistance to my Aunty. The day of surgery dawns, my dad, mum and my uncle all accompany my aunty to the Hospital. Once my Aunty was wheeled back from the surgery mum and dad decided to head back home. It was rather late in the evening. On their return journey my mum broke her leg while getting off the bus. She had to be taken back to the hospital and had to undergo emergency surgery for her leg and was on the next bed to my Aunty. So the wives of the twins were attacked by the”Twin Force” too. Coincidence? Yes okay, I am happy to put that down to coincidence. Read on.. spooky stuff on its way.
Life wasn’t meant to be happy all the time. I am not sure if its not meant to be but it never is. My dad said good bye to us at the age of Fifty Three. My uncle was living miles away in a farm felt a pang in his chest on the night of my dad’s passing and the next morning he was delivered with this shattering message. The funeral rites are usually done by the son. My cousin was out at sea at that time, my uncle was then asked to do the rites. The priest chanted the mantras and was instructing uncle how to do the various rituals. I have never seen my uncle so subdued. Tears just poured down his cheeks as he was performing the last rites for his twin brother. I thought it was almost cruel to have asked him to do the rites. He later told me that it was really hard but also felt it was fitting and was his privilege.
A few months later. My uncle was about to catch a bus to another village. Just before he boarded the bus, he had an informal chat to this shop keeper/friend/acquaintance. I am just picturing the scene, uncle with a cup of tea or coffee, having a chat with this other bloke, knowing my uncle, he was probably complaining about some one or something. Finishes his cuppa and says “anyway I am off” and gets on the bus. A few hours later the shop keeper hears that the bus that just left had met with a horror accident. So this man rushes out in his car looking for the bus. These are remote areas. So I am guessing they just had the one ambulance, which had already left with injured survivors. They had left the deceased on the road to come back for later. The shop keeper found my uncle on the road left for dead. His nose and ears ripped off, with multiple fractures but somehow this man felt that he was still alive. So he rushed my uncle to the hospital with all the bits of pieces that were beside him. He was patched up and came out good as gold. So he had a near death experience but he survived.
We had our kids and settled in Australia and them in Canada. I was very close to my cousin. Both without any siblings of our own considered each other to be brother and sister. When we were young, my cousin would spend most of his school holidays at our place, he could accompany my dad to the lab and study with dad. At younger days he would teach me Caram (a board game played in most parts of the sub continent). We did sometimes fight especially when I get caught cheating in card games. It progressed from Caram to tutoring me Physics as I neared year 12. It is really bizarre how we both happened to marry into the same family. Fate, coincidence… what ever it was, it made us very close.
I think it was year 2000 or 2001, I think it was just after the Sydney Olympics, the four of them came over to Sydney for a holiday. We celebrated my cousin’s 40th at our house. Jan (my sister in law) and I were being are normal selves. We raided all the shops and made our husbands shiver. Life was beautiful. This was in May. Clocks strikes 12.00 on the 31st Dec and we receive a call from the two of them. Excited as ever wishing us Happy New Year. We didn’t talk for long as both of us wanted to ring other people as well. It’s our wedding anniversary on the 19th of Jan. I remember my cousin telling me clearly, we call you on the 19th and we can talk more. How was I to know that he wasn’t going to keep that promise.
I am going to leave it at that for the moment. Promise to continue soon. Keep pondering Fate or coincidence.
Today marks Twenty Seven years since we landed on this soil. Today I speak/write as a Proud Australian, proud but sometimes sad and sometimes mad. Before you start slinging stones at me for being ungrateful, please read on…(special note to Pauline Hanson some words may make you say “Please explain” fear not, there is a book called the “Dictionary”, no scratch that, just google it)
I like to visit why we left for Australia, my feelings then and now, what have I observed, and the big question What it is to be an Australian.
Why did we leave Sri Lanka? More importantly why would you leave if you were financially stable. I am currently in the process of writing about the civil war in Sri Lanka and the main reasons for my departure from that country etc. But a shorter version would be to say, due to the Civil war.
As a Tamil we constantly lived in fear. Famous words were “If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time”, well there was no right place or right time either. Any place could turn into a wrong place. For the Government forces you are a terrorist because you have a Tamil surname and if you are in the North and if you don’t comply or adhere to whims of the militants then you are a traitor. When your life is in danger having a healthy bank balance alone will not convince you to stay on. So in our case we didn’t move for the greener pastures, but rather for safer pasture.
The final nail was when I lost my dear friend, who happened to be a Sinhalese. I was asked not to even attend his funeral, as our relatives feared that someone at the funeral might turn on us as emotions would be rather high. I had lost relatives and some friends had lost their dad or brother to the war as well. But for some reason my friends demise stirred something very deep within me.
A boy who was not a racist, the only boy/person who wrote to me apologizing on behalf of his people, for the mass killings of the 1983 riots, now lay dead. The instigators of the war on both sides send in little pawns to be slayed while their kith and kin were sent overseas. They stay out of harms way, while stirring trouble and use young kids to the fore front. This country used my dear friend as a pawn. He was posthumously awarded many medals. He is probably hanging on a wall in a very important building. Just mere ceremonies for Politicians to feel good and earn those precious votes.
War Sucks People, Never invite it or instigate it
I can tell you right now, I would rather have my friend alive rather than on a wall with pretty medals.
With all the unknowns still a foreign land seemed more promising than my own. I could see corruption was only getting worse. The gap between the have’s and have not’s were getting wider. Future in this country looked rather grim. Reluctantly dragging our feet we made the decision to leave a well paying job, house and all the luxuries, such as driver, aides and everything else and move to another country to start over.
Mixed emotions for me when I left. My mum had just undergone a Kidney Transplant surgery. She donated a kidney to her brother. Timing wasn’t great. I really didn’t want to leave when I left. I would have liked to stay for a few more months. But then again when you are surrounded with relatives each one with their own view and everyone else view taken into consideration but just not yours, you have no choice but to pack your bags. I left thinking okay let me get far away from all of you as well. After I had reluctantly agreed to the departure date there was another group who thought I shouldn’t be leaving my mum behind and I was being a selfish daughter. I had to keep reminding myself of, “The story of the father and son taking the donkey to the market”. I needed a new beginning.
We landed at the Melbourne Tullamarine Airport on the 1st Sept 1990. It was a chilly morning. Everything felt crisp, clean, new, overwhelming and exciting.
The day after we arrived, we went and registered for our tax file numbers, medicare and all other mundane official applications. Twenty Seven years later, I now have the privilege to be annoyed and berate about the inefficiency of our Government Departments. But at that time I was amazed that I was able to get all those things done within the same day. And I didn’t need to ‘know’ anyone to get those things done. No one jumped the queue, and no one said “Oh you are so and so’s daughter, come, come, come. have a seat”. The guy with the tattoo was served the same way as the woman with the designer bag. I smiled.
We also chose to migrate at a time when Paul Keating decided it was a ‘recession we had to have’. This made hubby very anxious for the first time in his working life. With no proper working experience under my belt it was even harder for me. I enrolled in a TAFE program to get job ready. I was so thrilled to have access to a public library for FREE. We had a mixed group of students in my class. Different ages, different race and cultures. But we all got along really well. No one shouted out “Go back to where you came from”. I don’t know how I would have reacted if that had happened. I don’t think I would have gone back. I would have thought I did nothing wrong, I am staying put.
I would have become resentful rather than thankful as I am.
Hubby had to wait till October/Nov to get his first job and that was in Sydney. So we moved to Sydney.
Slowly started to learn the lingo and the accent.
I still remember, I was working at my hubbies office. I used to run errands and had to stop at the Post Office everyday and so I became a regular. One of the ladies one day said “How you going?” I was rather perplexed. Office was just two blocks away and you’ve seen me walking here everyday, I was like a stunned mullet (for non Aussies refer above). They all had a good laugh. I felt rather embarrassed until later listening to an Interview with Michael J Fox, where he was thrown the same question and he thought “thats a strange question by Plane of course”. Again for Non Aussies “How you going” but when saying it you have fuse all three words into one and what ever that noise is, means how are you.
I got used to the Taxi driver, the Newsagent, the random guy at the bakery and anyone else addressing me as “love” – yes love, no love, here you go love, No worries love.
For me that is very Australian.
We bought our first unit in 1991. I was studying Accountancy and working. It was tough. But, I was loving the fact I had less family interference and I loved this world where everyone was an equal. But Hubby was struggling. Hubby had a job, but it didn’t pay him or treat him anywhere near what he was used to. He persevered. But I am sure at times he wanted quit everything and go back.
We became Aussie citizens in January Australia Day 1993. I fell pregnant. Hari was due first week of May 1993. We just had the one car. Hubby was working in the South of Sydney while we lived in North West. One day, I find a note stuck under my door. One of the old guys who lived in one of the other units had left it. We’ve met him and his wife once or twice at the Body Corporate meetings. They’ve seen me waddle around towards the end of my pregnancy and knew that hubby worked far away. He has put that note saying if I needed to get to the hospital and Hubby wasn’t there I could call him. I shed a tear seeing that note. I was feeling rather emotional, as this was going to be my first child and I was missing mum. But seeing that note made me think I am not alone after all. I smiled and I cried.
For me that is very Australian.
I think it was 1994 my mum arrives and later we buy a house and move out of this unit. First day in our house, a very tall gentlemen arrives at the door and introduces himself as Ken from the opposite house. Let’s us know that if we needed any garden tools we were most welcome to borrow his. Yes, just like that.
Once again I am pregnant and it is now 1996. Keith my neighbor sees me agitated, I had rung for taxis and none were coming. He gets his car keys without hesitation.
I think the year was 2005, we decide to have a sea change and move to South Australia. Hubby was starting his new job in November. I wanted to wait till the school term ends and join hubby in January. Hubby just mentions to Keith that he is leaving for Adelaide and “Uma and the boys will be here, just keep an eye on them Keith please”. Saturday morning dawns and I hear a noise outside. I look through the window and I see Keith mowing my front garden, I yell out to Keith “what are you doing Keith?” He yells back “Open the side gate, so I can do the back”.
For me that is very Australian.
Views on what it is to be Australian seems to be taking center stage in the recent times. Unfortunately by the wrong people (most times).
I love the fact that a plumber and his lawyer could sit at the pub next to each other have a beer and call each other mate. I love the fact that someone could hurl a shoe at the Prime Minister and he wasn’t put to death for that.
Patriotism and Racism share a fine line. Very easy to merge across but there is that fine line. When Donald Trump Said “I will make America great again”, many were up in arms about it sounding like Hitler. If we take that resemblance out and just focus on that sentence alone, it sounds okay. Nothing wrong with that. But then to continue on about Mexicans being rapist etc is where he loses credibility and walks from Patriotism to Racism.
Sometimes change is scary. But that doesn’t mean it is bad. Think about the migrant, change is all he has. You help him out, he will be ever so grateful. You push him, push him to a wall, what else can he do other than to fight back. There is nothing wrong with Patriotism but know the difference before you start the slogans.
If in doubt watch the movie “The Castle”. I think we should throw away the citizenship test and show every migrant this movie. Take them to a game of Cricket, Rugby or AFL. There are more ways to become an Australian than on an exam paper.
I carried the Australian flag rather proudly when I went for the Sydney Olympics. I carry the flag whether it has the union jack or the boxing kangaroo, as long as it is the flag I will honour it and carry it with pride to the Cricket, Soccer or any other sporting event. But when I see it used at racist rallies, it really breaks my heart. It makes me sad and makes me mad.
My 75 year old mother tirelessly works as a volunteer five days a week. Sometimes on the weekend as well. She was married off rather young, I think by the age of 17. So she didn’t really complete her formal education.
She teaches sewing to migrants at the Junction Community Centre. She also does similar work at the Cheltenham Community Centre, St Vincent de Paul, World Vision, and so many more. She also takes part in many Charity events such as Biggest Morning Tea, Cooking for the homeless the list goes on. For all these events she will take multiple forms of public transport and get there whether its rain or shine.
As per the first picture you see, she does wear the saree very often, she does wear long skirts and sometimes pants. Now is she an Australian?
I will write more tomorrow. But just for tonight hope you see Australia through my lenses.
I read somewhere “It’s easy to hate than to change” I will go further and say “it’s easy to hate than to understand”, “it’s easy to hate if you are ignorant” and it seems that “its easy to hate than to love”. I say this with a heavy. Ever the optimist is having her doubts at present. I can only hope for a better tomorrow. That hope feels pretty bleak at present.
Sometimes it’s difficult to comment properly on a situation as it unfolds. Sometimes, it’s really really easy. What’s going on in Charlottesville, USA, is very easy to properly comment on. It’s about racists wanting to enable more racism, under the guise that they’re the poor, oppressed class, even though none of them have actually known true oppression.
This all started (or at least the excuse that will be given is) because of plans to remove a statue of US Civil War General Robert E. Lee, who fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the conflict. Plans to remove a pro-slavery symbol have been met by marchers – who appear to consist of almost entirely white men – protesting against… well, I’m not sure they even know. How exactly are they being victimised or oppressed? Will one of them strike up the courage to explain this to me?
‘Ignoring your passion is slow suicide. Never ignore what your heart pumps for.’
Let’s play a game of Russian Roulette.
You and I are seated at a table in a smoke filled room; there’s an old six shooter positioned perfectly between us with a single round floating in one of its chambers. The heavy aromas of mildew and fear cling to your skin causing you to perspire. We’re alone. There’s no one here to save us; the only entrance to the cell is destined to remain locked until only one of us remains. You’re scared. So am I. Our lives have been reduced to this moment where we’ll play a game of chance to see who survives. Nothing else matters right now. It’s just you and I.
There’s a coin beside the gun. We’ll flip to see who shoots first. I pick it up and use my thumb…