The significance of “Three lives by Thirty”

“But no, he had survived it. He was born twice in India and a third time, in America. Three lives by thirty.” (21)

This passage from Jhumpa Lahiri’s Namesake is laid out in a simple manner yet the depth of its meaning stays hidden. The last line in particular,  is strikingly powerful, so each time I read it; it leaves me with admiration and subtle amounts of curiosity as to what more it has to offer.

Although its been over a year since I first came across this quotation, I thought it would be a great idea to dig up my previous blogs and pull one out to share with you my experience with my three lives.

Ashoke survives. To him, each life is followed by a life changing experience and so each time he goes through a difficult challenge he considers it as rebirth. Each experience, be it the train wreck or the immigration to America turns out as life altering. Ashoke associates change with a new way of living, something to which rather than adapting, he needs to learn to do all over again.For him, it turns out to be a process, where he needs to find his place, figure out how everything is done again, and so clearly each life is a consequence of a negative factor or hardship.

When I read this line first it struck me not only because it has such a significant meaning to it but also because it completely connects to my life. However, unlike Ashoke, it does so positively.

This is how I felt when I came to Canada the year I turned 13. Although for me it is more like “Three lives by Thirteen”

Sometimes I feel like I belong nowhere, caught in the mist of three completely different countries, each of whom in their own way hold their own stance. I was born in Saudi Arabia so that makes me an Arab. But my parents are Indian, so that makes me Indian right? However I live in Canada now, so am I Canadian?

My parents consider me Indian, they say I am what my passport is, but honestly what does a piece of paper signify. I refuse to let a booklet represent who I am. I know however that I belong, and I belong to each place in its own way. And maybe because I belong to such contrasting places, I find myself more adaptable to change.

Now, what does it really mean to belong?

If you look up the dictionary meaning it will tell you: To be rightly classified in or assigned to a specifiedcategory

But how in the world can my identity be assigned to a country when my true values and belief are so diverse. Therefore, I have come to understand that…

Being born in Saudi Arabia, I sense a direct link to this land, a sense of patriotism. The ecstatic feeling I get when I observe those beautiful lights through my airplane window. I just can’t wait to get off, breathe in the fresh air of my homeland or use those crispy currency notes, each Riyal having its own rich smell.  I love being driven at 145 km/hour through the city while savoring delicious shawarmas from an all time favorite restaurant.  None of which I could find in another country. Saudi Arabia is also where Islam, my religion, originated from and hence this country is like a rope which ties my core beliefs together. So to me this is absolutely where I belong.

Yet, each time someone mentions India, I feel responsible to make them understand that it is more than just a country with millions of people suffering in poverty. It stands for its diversity and beauty. The variety of culture it posses, to my knowledge, no other country has. It is a growing nation with tons of value and it is here where I get my mother tongue from. I realize that I am big on culture – widely languages and so I recognize where my roots are. Each time I hear the beautiful Indian National Anthem, I feel proud to be a part of this country or when I hear a westerner exclaim how much they love Indian food, I have the urge to tell them that is where I belong.

Still though I am delighted to live in a place where people are always smiling or opening doors for others, where diversity is celebrated and unity is encouraged daily, where I get to meet people from different parts of the world and learn so much by what they have to share. And so come each November I wear that poppy on my left with pride and go Skating on the longest canal in the world every winter. Canada is where I live now and this is where I belong.

“So now I can proudly say that I am a third Arab, a third Indian and third Canadian and this is what represents me best. I have had a unique opportunity to explore three countries, to celebrate three cultures to belong to three nations tolive three lives by thirteen.”

 

Racing through life

A lot has happened since I left you. 

Since the very first day of university, my life has been a race. For the longest time I have been trying to catch a breath.  It seems so tiring to just keep racing along this track, its mostly the same, each day a set routine.

I race out my bedroom, quickly grab my lunch and almost always skip my breakfast, I rush for the early 7:00 bus. Upon reaching school I am already exhausted by my 1 hour ride and although I do enjoy most of my lectures, I find it brutal the number of assignment and labs I have due each week, and worse when its all wrapped up prettily and offered with midterms.

Here is a picture I clicked on my way to school. 

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Must admit though, so far this ride has been fun. While on this trip, I have befriended a number of enthusiastic, passionate and kind people. I have had a few moments that took my breath away and there have also been times I hit the bed because my brain couldn’t take it anymore. Although I told myself I would try to wait the 1st semester to join any clubs, I couldn’t resist. So although I have my reading break starting tomorrow, I am flooded with work.

As I sat there on a comfy red couch, waiting for my next class.(yeah we have comfy couches at our university), I stared at an application from a program that matches you up with a mentor from medical school. Honestly, at that point I didn’t know if I really needed a mentor, besides I wasn’t completely considering med school, but with time on my hand, with a few clicks on my keyboard I successfully completed the form right before heading into class.

I got accepted. I didn’t know whether I should be excited or scared, but as days went by and once I finally got to meet my mentor I realized, those 15 minutes were spent well.

I have some much more to say. Yet I really need to head to bed, so I get through with my routine for one last time before I start my wonderful break.

PS: My sister GOT married, Alhumdulilah. I will tell you more about that in my next post. Until then let me know what you think about my fun fact

Fun fact of the blog:

“Skin cells also secrete natural antibiotics called defensins that literally punch holes in bacteria,” -Anatomy Textbook

My dear friend Priyam, entuasitically pointed out “GUYS OUR SKIN PUNCHES HOLES IN BACTERIA LIKE HOW COOL IS THAT”

So I thought, why not share this 🙂

 

Newbie

The first blog…..

The first one is …. almost always the hardest one to start isn’t it?  Just like going back to school after a long summer (which still feels short) is the hardest thing to get motivated about.

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Speaking of which, I am totally excited about attending university orientations which start next week. This year though, I have a motivation, my motivation is all about stepping into this new environment – new school, new friends, new program, new world.  I am slightly nervous about the workload, yet extremely eager to explore this new atmosphere. Who knew I would end up taking this path? A year ago, I was probably one of the many confused grade 12s out there, (seriously though, how does this world expect us to figure out our life when we are only 17?)

Anyhow, apart from the fact that I think I know that I will endure many stressful days; I shall stay open to detours if necessary. I think at the end of the day, it’s about making sure you are doing what you love, I completely love my sciences, although physics is more towards the dark side, I still find quantum mechanics absolutely mind blowing.  So you really just might find me throwing random facts at you, but I am definitely more of a chem and bio person. For starters, I recently learned that our taste buds change every 7-ish years with a transitional period of 6 months, meaning chances are that we might actually enjoying eating something now that we probably hated when we were kids,  so why not give that detested food another chance. (I am thinking, I will try some eggplant, for some reason – I have never been a big fan)

Courage_eggplant

Something else that will probably surprise most people, even if you are not a bookworm is that I just started reading the Harry Potter series. I know I am very late, but in my defense all I have to say is I tried reading them a few years back, but having watched the movies, they were all so fresh in my head, I felt I couldn’t use my imagination at its best.  So I will take leave and head back to the magical world for a while.

I’d love to hear more about your university experience, or how you got to deciding what you want to be? Or simply anything you would like to share.

Image sources:

Eggplant: http://beckystastyplanet.blogspot.ca/2011/10/confessions-of-eggplant-hater.html