Thursday, August 30, 2012

A note to my son Darwin

To my dear Darwin,

I'm writing a short little note to share with you my thoughts and feelings about raising you during your first year of life.

It really has been a new and exciting year with you and I've really felt the transformation to becoming a mother. And I love being your mother.

I was so happy when I first saw you and I just couldn't believe that there would be a beautiful new human being in my family that I could love and protect as my own.

I can't believe how much you've grown already and am amazed by how your personality has developed so far. You are such a vibrant little one with lots of energy, curiosity and a sense of humor. I love to watch you play on your own but I see that you love when I am near you so you can show me what you're exploring. You are a sweetie.

You are learning so quickly every day and I want to be there for you when you need me. I want to teach you everything you want to know but also what is important for you to know. And I see that you care to know as you are a good listener.

You make my life feel complete. You are a part of me and you will always have a special imprint in my world.

You make me so happy and I can't wait to share the future with you, my Darwin.

Lots of love,


Darwin is ONE today!!

I can't believe we've come this far and I'm really looking forward to the months and years to come. It just months ago that Darwin began rolling over and sitting up on his own. Soon after he tried his first food and began grasping bite-size pieces of food with his little fingers. Then came crawling at 7 months and from that point forward his vocabulary expanded from his first words, "mama" and "dada". He started sleeping through the night and taking good naps in his crib at 10 months and could easily self-soothe at this point. At 11 and a half months he started walking like a pro. I think this is by far both his and my favourite milestone.

The first 6 months were quite a challenge for me, especially to quench his hunger with only breastmilk, and also to keep him entertained. It seemed that at 2 months he just wanted to be mobile but hadn't quite figured it out yet. The last 6 months however have been very exciting with a few exhausting days, especially in Canada. Darwin plays catch with his favourite toy, the ball, he eats everything on his own, he can clap, wave, give kisses, stack rings, put objects in and take out of a box, drink from a straw and so much more! The best part is watching him walk on his own which he has been practicing all month. He is very calculated and knows not to hurt himself. This mama is very proud of her little man and I'm so pleased to have such a smart and healthy boy to call my own.

Tears come to my eyes when I think about the memories of this past year. I just wish that my dad was still here to see my little boy grow. He is so missed by all of us and his first grandson will learn about his Grandpa Nalin as he grows.

I still remember when his two grandparents, Grandpa David and Grandma Ila came to see him when he was just a little newborn. It was very special to have them here to hold and kiss their first grandchild and for that I will always be appreciative. So much more love came to Darwin with a visit from his beautiful Auntie Julie, Auntie Rhea and his Uncle Rish who has the pleasure of watching Darwin grow every day. Uncle Rishabh and Darwin are so close and I really love and cherish that bond.

Peter and I are in such a better place now that Darwin is older and can easily entertain himself. Our relationship is 10 times better than it was earlier this year. If anything, this experience has really brought us closer together and we're in awe of what we've created together!

What about Curacao's country status?

I was watching the opening ceremony of the 2012 summer Olympics in London the other day and I was keeping my eye out for participants from Curacao. I was pleasantly hoping to see the country's flag flying along with all of the other flags but to my horror I saw something else. There were 3 lonely athletes from Curacao walking next to an athlete from South Sudan holding an IOC (International Olympic Committee) flag. I was utterly shocked that 3 talented Curacaoans were subjected to walk alongside an athlete from a war-ridden country and they were all labelled as stateless!! What does this say about the country of Curacao and it's people? In my opinion it says that Curacao by no means was even close to ready to take on country status and that deep down the government and people of Curacao don't know the first thing about representing themselves as a country. What an international embarrassment for Curacao.

Curacao's people should be ashamed of themselves for letting the government get away with such a large-scale error like this one. Although they may believe that it doesn't matter to them, it does matter to the international community and to the culture of Curacao. It sends the message to the world that Curacao does not take it's new status seriously nor does it care about it's new found responsibilities as a country.
Following up from an earlier post I had written titled "Disintegration of the Netherlands Antilles" I felt pride for Curacao that it was fighting to be recognized as its own country. But I have been brutally mistaken throught these last two years. The Netherlands Antilles florin still remains unchanged, the status of the island in the international mailing system still remains the same and now the Olympics, a large-scale world organization, shows no recognition of the country of Curacao. It is as if the island has fallen off the face of the Earth. At this point the island might as well beg for it's original Netherlands Antilles status so that it could at least still have a name and flag in the international community.

What do the people of Curacao have to say for themselves and this extreme judgement in error? Do they care that they cannot be properly represented in the Olympics because of a lack of government effort? Do they care that they cannot support their talented athletes at the Olympics? And do they care that they don't have a currency that matches their new status? I would like to know...

A story of my dad

My father passed away on October 3, 2010 from gall bladder cancer, a rare but serious type which had spread to his liver. He never realized the severity of the disease and died only weeks after being diagnosed.
It all happened so fast and it was difficult to accept the nature of the disease and the short time that my dad had. My dad enjoyed his life very much and so my siblings and I decided it was best that we allow him to feel that he could fight through the sickness. Although I do feel that in the back of his mind he knew he didn't have a lot of time left.

My dad was born and grew up in Uganda. He was the youngest of 11 children. In his youth he loved to be with his friends and sometimes get into trouble. From what I gathered from his elementary and high-school report cards which he had neatly filed away for all these years, he never really cared much for school. I guess being the youngest of such a large family he wasn't the type to follow the rules and be obedient like his older siblings.

One summer day I was sitting with my sick dad at the lake, his favourite place to be on a warm day, and he told me a story about an experience of his during a time of political instability under the dictatorship of Idi Amin in the early 1970s. He was in his 20s and worked as an accountant for a travel agency in Kampala, Uganda. One morning several military officials barged in and demanded financial records from the owner. Of course my dad was questioned as he was the account manager and was soonafter taken away to a military base along with his colleague. Here they were put into a jail cell and forced to shovel manure in their bare feet. I remember my dad's facial expression as he explained this to me. He had been able to make a phone call to his older brother and in a few days he was allowed to leave. However he never knew what happened to his colleague. During his time at the base he mentioned that he was at one point help up at gun point when being questioned and his life had flashed before his eyes. He had a strange reminiscent look on his face as he told me this story like he was weary about his current situation. It was the first time he had ever told me this story and I knew why. He knew inside that he wouldn't make it this time.

He also went on to tell me how he managed to flee Uganda during this troubling time. All of the South Asians residing in Uganda were forced to leave the country and had only 90 days to do so. They were disliked by the African community and by the new dictatorship as they believed that the Indians were stealing their jobs and running the economy. It was a bout of racism that drove the Indians out and many of them never looked back, including my dad. His family knew an immigration official that happened to be managing the application forms to leave the country so they, my dad included, were bumped to the top of the line. What luck! There were still many complications along the way however. They could only take a few of their belongings and had to be creative with getting their money out of the country. My dad, along with his two brothers and a few friends came to Canada as refugees with little money in their pockets. His other family members went to England, India and Kenya. It was a tough time for his family but my dad, as optimistic as he always was, looked to the future and was eager to call Canada home.

He decided to head north after arriving in Montreal. His brother and his wife and some friends came soonafter. They all settled in Kapuskasing, the model town of the north, and made the most of the cold and long winters there.

It wasn't long before my dad would find a wonderful job in his profession. Canada, at the time, was welcoming many immigrants as a way of boosting its economy and promoting itself as a multicultural place to live. My dad was asked to be a guest at a community event about multiculturalism and it was there that he met the owner of an accounting firm, Collins Barrow. This man was very charmed by my dad and offered him a job at his firm which my dad happily accepted. He would work there for over 30 years as a very likable accountant with many long-time clients.

He met my mother through a friend and were introduced thereafter. They were very fond of each other and both wanted to start a family in the near future. They soon married at his brother's house and bought a house of their own in a nice neighborhood.

They had three children who they cared for and loved dearly. My dad was a very loving father. He would do anything for us and always made sure that we stayed on track. In contrast to his academic career, he guided us to respect education and achieve excellence for the benefit of our future. Although he wasn't so successful academically, he was a very wise man when it came to giving advice about organization and management. Many people would seek his advice about managing their finances and their lives in general.

My dad was a friend of the town. He was a life member and longtime treasurer of the Kinsmen club, which is a volunteer organization. One such effort helps to raise money for the low-income community every Christmas so the children of these families can enjoy the holidays as well. This was very close to my dad's heart and as such the Santa Claus Fund was named after him in memory of him.

I miss my dad every day. I used to talk to him daily no matter where I was or what I was doing. He made it a ritual to always speak with his children even if it was only for a few minutes. When I needed advice I would always go to him because he always knew what to say. He was the glue that held our family together and his optimistic personality always made everything seem pleasant no matter how unpleasant the situation.
We just weren't ready to let him go, his friends or his family. We were all deeply saddened by his loss and still are to this day. We all lost a part of us that peaceful Sunday morning in October-- an optimistic side that pushed through tragic times giving stength to never looked back. That was my dad.