August 14 or 15, haven’t prickled any feelings in me for around 8 years, until today. (disclaimer: this is not an adoption blog)
When I say who I am and what my heritage is, as if my hijab (head covering I wear) and my brown skin are not a complete tell-all, I rarely mention that I am from two generations of refugees and myself an immigrant to a ‘land of ice hockey and maple syrup’ 🇨🇦- things I had not even seen until a decade ago.
I conveniently ‘fail to mention’ that my parents and both sets of my grandparents were born in two separate countries and probably my children, if I have any, will be born on a separate continent altogether.
I choose to smile silently when people from Pakistan (land I was born in) ask me if I am from Bangladesh and people from Canada ask me if I am from India, only to reply that ‘I was born in Pakistan’. I always thought people don’t have the time to listen to my ‘heritage talk’. Only now I realized, it’s me who has been escaping it.
The dilemma of looking a certain way, being born in a certain community and living a certain other way will never escape people’s judgement. It’s a reality I have accepted to live with.
I never anticipated that it will also be a reality that may hinder me from a possible adoption. Adoption from Pakistan has been seized in Canada since 2013. Adoption from India is a notion, hubby hasn’t warmed up to…..YET.
Here’s a brief look-back at what divided the sub-continent of India back in 1947 and how Bangladesh emerged out of the division. Al-Jazeera English did a fair job at it in a 5 min. video..
My parents were both born in 1950’s East Pakistan that split from Pakistan in 1971, hence they were forced to leave their birth places to move to what is currently Pakistan. If you think that’s ALL they left behind, consider they also abandoned their heirlooms, their first schools, their parents’ homes and their childhood friends. Fast rewind to 24 years earlier when in 1947, both sets of my grandparents while they were in their teen years and possibly children under 12, they had to flee for their lives from current India to what was formerly East Pakistan. My paternal grandfather never saw his six other brothers again. My father grew up with no cousins, no grandparents and no family reunions. My mom still has some memories from 1950’s and 1960’s visiting India to meet her aunties and uncles and then life happened and rest is literally history.
It doesn’t matter if my father speaks, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali and Arabic (’cause he lived in Saudi Arabia for most of his adult life) when it comes to his heritage, he is a foreigner everywhere. It doesn’t matter if I have dark brown east Indian eyes, a height and features of a Bengali and a pride of a Pakistani, I am simply a minority in Canada.
On this day, I look back and decide to uphold my east Indian identity. I was born in Pakistan 🇵🇰, my parents were born in Bangladesh 🇧🇩 and my grandparents and great grandparents and others before them, are from India🇮🇳. And I say this with no prickle of toxicity or remorse.
I am done escaping from it.
via Daily Prompt: Prickle