By Nishat Rizvi
Born in Delhi, India and brought up in Karachi Pakistan. I moved to Canada in 1991. My dream was to be a doctor but not many options for women in my days in 1960 so became a research scientist. I left my job as I started my family. I wanted to be a full time Mom but sometimes things go in another direction. My husband died of heart attack in 1976, at the age of 38, leaving me with five kids, one son and 4 daughters between ages of eight and two.
My husband was a journalist, had no time to spend at home and with family. I was stuck with kids. I was like in the middle of nowhere with no relatives, no friends. For his burial, I decided to fly with his body to come to Karachi, the city of his and my parents.
Now I had to find a job and housing to support my kids. It was tough as the family had to start from scratch, yet things were still under control. After several years, two of my daughters got married. One moved to Canada, and the other to Ireland. Two of my daughters were in high school. My son the eldest one completed his degree in engineering, at that point I decided to come to Canada for my son’s future.
From Karachi to Toronto was a long flight. I had severe claustrophobia and also had to arrange air tickets for four people. Not an easy task with my income. Anyway somehow things worked out. I landed at the Pearson International Airport in Sep 1991. September appears to be an important turning point, in my life. My husband died on 29th of Sep.
After more than a decade, my life had to face another turning point. I had to start from scratch again. Now we were a family of four as two of my daughters were not with me, they were married.
Though, I came to Canada for my son’s future but I was hoping to start my life also with my talents and educational background. I volunteered at University of Toronto, then moved to London, Ontario and volunteered at immigration Canada, Oxfam.
It was difficult for me to accept the reality that I don’t have a second chance to start my career. I moved to Ottawa and volunteered at Carleton University and Red Cross. After a couple of years, I came back to Toronto and volunteered at the Toronto Zoo and the World Interaction Organization dealing with women issues.
Finally I am here in the city of Pickering, it looks to me like home. I am settled down now. No more wandering around. I accepted the reality that I wont get any job and my life, my career are like building blocks in my son’s future. Let’s face with grace.
In the City of Pickering, I started to focus on local community needs. City of Pickering has diverse community. Quite a number of people are from India and Pakistan want to make their kids to learn their mother tongue so I volunteered as teacher for Urdu language for years in local community schools.
I participated in local Urdu community newspapers writing short stories for number of years beside writing poetry and short stories for Poetry Institute of Canada. I love to write poetry for kids too. My kids used to recite my poetry in assembly and school functions when they were young.
It looks to me after so many years, drifting to Ottawa, London, Ontario and Toronto, I am finally settled down to enjoy my life in this beautiful city of Pickering.
By chance I got to know Rouge Hills Seniors Club – I joined the day I turned 65 – I didn’t know I could have joined earlier I come here three days a week – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We play darts, carpet bowling have coffee/tea have great time. I call it working full time to trick myself. Rouge Hills Senior Club is like second home to me.
I never feel I am of different in color, cast or creed. I believe we all are creatures of same God and belong to same human family.
I love to mingle with all communities so I have friends from different cross section of society. I don’t drive but never have any problem in going to the places I love to go. My friends always there ready to pick me up. I think that is a great blessing for me from my my Creator.
Nishat means ” Happiness ” , so when couple of years back I started writing my daily blogs,
I called them ” Smile “. I get comments from readers and these are like letters in my mailbox. They talk about their problems just like family. They feel like we are Readers’ Family.
I love cooking. I believe it is a creative activity. I post my recipe blog every Thursday. Beside my daily blogs, I now started another blog on weekly basis “Stray Thoughts” . This is sort of points
to ponder. Friends in my community keep asking me to start writing short stories, I just restarted that too. It is good to live in day tight compartment, no time to think negative.
I am still doing darts and carpet bowling but I don’t know for how long. Number of my friends are now quitting. Things change when as get older. It is just matter of couple of years I will turn eighty. Tomorrow we never know, past is done, present moment is everything.
I believe life is a mixed plate for everyone. It is like unpaved path with bushes all around we have to find the track of happiness. We are the music makers, it all depends how we take it. Glass is half full not half empty, my dear.