This summer is our first summer of creating a garden in the backyard. Both of us were at an awe looking at our big, lush green backyard!!!!! How to make a garden!!!! The perennials are already there, making the garden already very eye-soothing but we wanted vegetables!!
But preparing the bed for vegetables…..even the thought of it overwhelmed us! Everyday looking at the empty backyard was hurting our eyes and “soul”. Then like an angel, one of our Bengali brothers told us that he knows a guy who works on landscaping, like, he is a day laborer. Wow! What a relief!
Now, starts the quest of getting in touch with the guy because he doesn’t have any cell phone! While we were thinking of the ways, we got a phone call! “Hello, this is Curtis; you wanted help with your garden?” “Yes, yes”…Jacob yelled. Then we had the rendezvous and went to pick him up. That day my son was in the car, he became very nervous. He started thinking whether we should take a complete stranger in our car and take him to our home? What if he is a gang member? Somehow I comforted him and there he was…Curtis!
A white Canadian man in his 40s, lanky and thin built, looked totally harmless. Once in the car, he started talking. My son and I were sitting at the back. He looked back and said “Family?” I said, “Yes, hi!” Jacob is a very inquisitive person, he started asking questions and unexpectedly he answered all of them. I was just listening to their conversation and looking at a whole new world of the real Canadian society.
I am here in Canada for 8 years, but I don’t know that many Canadian families. The area where my house is, my neighbors are all Canadian but they love to keep to themselves so I don’t know much about their family dynamics. Curtis’ story drew a very sad narrative in front of my eyes! He is a homeless Canadian who lives in a shelter. He has back pain so he is under disability. He gets $1200 monthly from the government; the shelter takes away $600 for his lodging. His parents were separated when he was a teen. He lived with his mom who had a very abusive boyfriend; the bizarre thing is that his mom also abused him! Her excuse was that Curtis looks exactly like his dad, so as he constantly reminded her of her husband, she tormented Curtis! What an eccentric ideology! Or is it? I was pretty surprised at Curtis because even if he told us about his sad childhood, he didn’t portray his mom and dad as BAD people. He was very much forgiving! He was talking as if he was finding excuses for his parents’ obnoxious behavior! Strange world! Or maybe not, may be existence of these forbearing people keeps the world together!
To continue with the story, Curtis left his mom and went to his dad, did his high school diploma and left him. While he was growing up, the adversity of home atmosphere was slowly dragging him down to the dark world of depression! Even though he had an artistic mind he couldn’t continue his dream of becoming a landscaper. With his unstable mind and no support system, he wrote his name in the ledger of a homeless! Now at the age of 40, he is left with nothing, no family, no money, and no identity!! And all this is happening in Canada to a proper (I use the word proper because we are categorized as immigrants forever!) Canadian??? I was baffled!!!
Oh, and about the work…..he did spot on!
From that day I couldn’t remove Curtis’ face from my mind. I look at my son and pray that nothing like this happens to him ever! I take away a huge lesson from Curtis, that even if life is cruel to you can be forgiving and be happy with whatever little you have. Contentment is a synonym for happiness and I learned it from Curtis. Hope is another synonym for happiness which I also learned from Curtis. Forgiveness is bliss, which is another synonym for happiness, which also came from Curtis!