In Halifax (Canada), you do not need friends

Halifax (Canada) :  One does not seem to be lonely in Canada. From the person at the security check at Toronto airport to the assistance for moving the wheelchair of my wife spoke fluent Hindi and asked us how we were and whether they could be of any help. But then this is not confined to the Indian community alone.

This part of the country is beautiful and at Bedford where I am living with my daughter, there is a forest right outside our bedroom window. It had snowed yesterday, and some deer had come down near the apartment block, whom we fed some apples.

Reminded me back home in the forests of Uttarakhand, particularly, Dhaulkhand and Phanduwala in Dehradun district of the small mountain state, where wildlife is abundant and I normally take guests and friends to see the abundant wildlife in their natural splendour.

Only it was neither the cheetal, sambhar or kakar, but some different type of deer, which I have yet to find out what they call. In the meantime we have bought some more apples for them, for the recent snow plus the weather forecast of more snow in the offing, must be making it difficult for them to find food.

But what is surprising is the fact that though you know no one here, every one seems to be knowing you. It may be the liquor store or the Mic Mac Mall, or even Pete’s where we had gone to pick up some vegetables. The friendly smile and a hello seems to be omnipresent, perhaps more like my days at Shimla, where you met everyone you knew on the Mall Road or the Scandal Point.

True there were not many handshakes, but friendly advice came unsolicited. Like at the Sunnyside Restaurant the waitress went at length to explain what we would get when we ordered a particular item listed on the menu and what we should order for taking the fact that we had yet to get used to the bland Canadian food. She even went on to describe the beer that would go well with the food and recommended an Indian Ale.

But perhaps what had me flabbergasted was the immense knowledge that a passerby had of hard liquor when I was trying to decide which whisky I should buy. Indian’s normally have a penchant for Scotch and that was what I was picking up, when this gentlemen asked me to reconsider the brand again,.

He advised me to go for a Jack Daniel. “It is not only mellowed and smother than the Black Label that you have your hands on, but costs almost half the price and you will thank me later when you drink and relish it”, he said to press home his point.

I have yet to have a drink from the bottle, but am looking forward to it and to the man, whom I may perhaps not meet again, but whose advise I have taken, for after all who could say no to the friendly smile, the pat on the shoulder and an assurance of having better knowledge than me, atleast as far as liquor is concerned. I know will enjoy my drink, as and when I have it.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.