Experiences of an Indian ex-pat.
Equatorial expats in particular will be intrigued to know that the vast North is home to a subterranean society of basement apartments. Some basement apartments get natural light however, freshly flown in expats are particularly vulnerable to the compounded effect of living underground, endless rain and SAD – or seasonal affective disorder. You would think SAD is self-explanatory but a few signs and symptoms to look out for,
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day (not because of minimum wage job).
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed (not because no money for extra-curriculars).
- Having low energy (not because abusing $1 massive chips packets).
- Having problems with sleeping (not because phone starts exploding with updates from India at sleep time).
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight (chips…
- Feeling sluggish or agitated (uff… ^^^^).
- Having difficulty concentrating (Not cause of smart screens & adult-onset ADHD).
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty (not because – overthinking).
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide (not because of endless struggle between rent and paycheck).
This next bit is not just for the ladies, it is 2021, we are all gender fluid and hairy. Take care of your hair. Tie it, vacuum it, cut it short, include more protein in your diet, do whatever it takes but pick it up as soon as it falls. Pick it up because apart from unclogging drains – which makes you hurl in tears; static cling is a thing. There is an entire consumer industry devoted to the reduction of static cling in the North, from dryer sheets to anti-static mats, wrist-straps, rubber-bands and packaging material. Static electricity increases in cold, dry air. Up North, the static cling makes dust mutate into the fallaciously named Dust Bunnies. Gross balls of hair, dead skin cells, bits and pieces of fluff and alien garbage that look like the portals to another universe under your bed. Sure, you can clean under the bed everyday but it is easier to cut your hair off or wear a cap.
Moving on from under the bed to over it, get something called Bed-In-A-Bag for all your bedding needs. The price of a standalone Comforter is anything but comforting. A Comforter is a Canadian blanket.
Seamlessly transitioning to bathrooms: The ratio of bedrooms to bathrooms up North is usually 1 to all the number of people living in the house. If you think growing up in India and sharing a room with siblings prepared you for life wait till you share a bathroom with 4 complete strangers from different countries. Also, it’s just toilet paper – buy the cheapest, biggest pack of loo roll. 1 ply is fine. The packaging might try to entice you with 2 ply, 4 ply, 6 ply or 16 ply toilet rolls that promise to feel like silken handkerchiefs caressing your bottom. However, glamourizing cleaning shit has got to be the worst capitalist gimmick ever. If by some chance of nature, roll of dice or pure dumb luck you find an apartment with a health faucet, bidet arrangement or something called a luxe jet which comes with not 1 but 3 pressure settings, take it! (Speed above F1 at your colon’s risk) Most expats will agree with the sentiments of the late Mumbai columnist Behram Contractor – abottom is not a nose that one wipes with a tissue. Finally, it seems that other than the main door, it is not important to have locks on any other doors in Canada, so –
- Respect the honour system
- Keep communal areas clean
- Sing when you are in the bathroom
are the basic tenants of co-living in a multi-cultural house.
p.s. A note on garbage disposal coming up next week. 😉