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From the age of seven, dark clouds would follow me around. A haunting nightmare that would leave my eyes soaked in tears. Although closing my eyes was frightening, keeping them open was another battle. I would desperately try to hold onto any shred of reality as if I was drowning and gasping for air.
I grew up in a refugee camp to begin with, and since my parents didn't speak German, I was not able to pick up the language very quickly, so I went to kindergarten and was picked on for not knowing German. Not just by fellow kids, but also the teachers, who isolated me and never included me in anything.
That's what my dad asked when I told him I had found the one. He was only half-joking. I think. I'm currently in a long-distance relationship with a girl of Caucasian descent, otherwise known as a vella pettai. We consistently have issues that we need to work around.
When I was a kid, I wasn't up on a Saturday morning watching cartoons while eating fruit loops. Instead, like many Tamil children, I was usually half asleep trying to learn the language that I first learned to speak. I didn't hate going to Tamil school because I missed out on cartoons. I think I hated going because it was a hard language to learn.
We as a diaspora, watched the curtain fall on a decades-long conflict we could never fully understand. And although the impact of the war varies drastically between us, what remains consistent is the recognition of a profound loss and the silent mourning of a forgotten identity.
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My older sister and I moved to Canada from Sri Lanka in the early 90s when I was nine, after both of our parents had passed away. We were fortunate enough to have family members who had been living here since the 70s with the means to sponsor us through a formal process.
This past December, I was finally home for the holidays, after missing two years of the holiday season with my family and friends in Toronto. In fact, in the past two years, I have only been home for a total of three times and each of those three times, there's been an emerging trend: "When did my parents get so cool?"
I'm a happily married Tamil man sharing my insights in terms of where I think Tamil singles will have the most luck with meeting other Tamil singles. This list was a result of recent discussions I've had with single friends. By discussion, I mean more of a debate with me trying to get them to think beyond the standard club or bar/lounge.
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The one thing I realize now is being beautiful isn't about being skinny or size zero. It's loving every inch and curve of your body and embracing everything about you. If you don't love yourself, the number means nothing. Telling the world my story was the final stage.
As Tamils, we find unwed pregnancy to be such a crime that it restricts those who need someone to lean on in times of despair. I had no one I could go to.My partner did not want anyone to know. From the day we found out we were pregnant to months after we had aborted the child, I had to keep all of my emotions to myself.
Our arrival in Canada started in earnest after the 1983 anti-Tamil riot in Sri Lanka. The mass exodus accelerated in the last decade of the last century, resulting in largest Sri Lankan Tamil population outside of Sri Lanka. Since then, collectively the lives of Tamils were "rewired".
It was almost 30 years ago. War has began. The sounds of chirping birds were replaced with blasting bombs. My husband had come back from town to get me and my daughter. We are leaving tomorrow morning. It was the beginning of our journey. A journey to a new place, a new beginning.
Every year we all make new year's resolutions that ultimately never get resolved. We purchase gym memberships and have sudden health kicks that stop kicking after two weeks and 10 chicken wings later. Trust me, I was supposed to lose those ten pounds, three years ago.
With a headstrong career spanning over 20 years, it was humbling to hear 42-year-old Indhu Rubasingham, artistic director of Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, London, admit that she still gets nervous. Being critiqued is nothing new to this theatre veteran, whose work has been consistently well received and has even earned her a handful of distinguished awards.
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At 21 years old, I realize that I have done myself a disservice. I can barely form a coherent sentence in my language, letters are foreign squiggles to me, and I find myself performing exaggerated gestures to communicate with my non-English speaking grandma. This is certainly not due to a lack of exposure to Tamil, but more as a result of a conscious distancing.
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My experiences of childhood sexual abuse -- of incest -- had stolen many aspects of my life but most importantly, my identity as a Tamil woman. After I moved out, I was shunned not only from my immediate family members, but my uncles, aunts, cousins, distant relatives, family friends -- my Tamil community. It didn't matter to my 19-year-old self why you weren't there for me. The fact of the matter was that you weren't. I felt hurt and abandoned.
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I've just entered the beginning of my 30s and there are quite a few things about life that I'm still confused by and haven't quite "figured out" yet. But there's one thing, without a doubt, that I feel I've managed to really figure out -- it's the type of girlfriends that I should work hard to keep in my life.
My Canadian-born son isn't proficient in Tamil. I have not been successful in teaching him. I feel that my ineffectiveness comes off as un-Tamil to some. We're used to the idea of the cultural mosaic and pride in our heritage by proudly declaring that our kids are proud Tamils.
I knew him for a while. He landed in Canada 28 years back without a penny. He got a job in the kitchen of a restaurant immediately and earned minimum wage. Any extra money he saved, which turned out t...
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Whenever I tell my friends that I've thought about getting married to a guy that my parents will pick for me, I always get the same response. But the more I learned about the traditions of my culture, the more I realized that our marriages are both a contract and a sacred journey across lifetimes.
I have mixed feelings about my childhood. For the most part, it was a happy one. But I had no real connection with my father. The part he chose to play in our lives -- as far as I could see -- revolved around two things: education and discipline.
Amidst the carnage of a failed marriage, as your days become consumed with prying the broken shards of glass from the wounds of a shattered life, it is hard to conceive that anyone will ever be worth the risk of going through all of this again. But a life without love is incomplete -- Love is always worth it.
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Tamil events such as charity galas, formals and weddings are generally really fun. You'll find a lot of dancing, amazing food and an unpretentious vibe which most people can appreciate. However, there are a few things that routinely occur (not all the time, but often enough to take notice) which can be downright terrible to deal with.
I was recently directed to an article that discussed the phenomenon of visible minorities working in Toronto restaurant kitchens. Interestingly, the Sri Lankan Tamil community was cited as staffing almost a third of these kitchens. However, few visible minorities, including Tamils, have found success in the "front of the house" as restaurateurs or culinary chefs.
Imagine driving into a tunnel where you can only see straight down the middle, and nothing on either side: that is what life is like living with a rare genetic eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. I was 21 when I was diagnosed, excited to live life, travel, and experience so many things, but now I've been given a time frame for how long I'll be able to see the world around me.
Despite all their blessings over the last 30 years in Canada, my parents still live a frugal lifestyle etched in the shadows of the carnage of their war-torn past. I know the value of what I have, because of the price THEY had to pay. What happens to children of successful first and second generation Tamil professionals, who no longer need to say "We just don't have money for that"?
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Being raised by two parents who happen to come from two different ethnic backgrounds has thus never made me confused or conflicted about my identity, like some critics of mixed race children may suggest. Rather, I would say that my experiences of coming from two cultures has enriched my worldviews and elicited my interest to learn more about them.
There are many titles I have been taught to wear in my life -- daughter, sister, aunt, wife and graduate -- but I never thought I would add one more to the list. Divorcee. This article is NOT being written because this is a title that I am proud of and definitely NOT something I ever expected to happen, but it happened.
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There seems to be a flawed assumption somewhere in the depths of our patriarchal culture that the ideal woman should be angelic and innocent, blushing at the mere mention of words like "sex" or "penis." Sometimes, when my anger doesn't blind me, I kind of empathize with you.
Of the six South Asians I entrusted with this information, four have had similar sexually abusive experiences. This problem needs to be discussed more aggressively within the South Asian community. Parents need to be aware that our community is not immune from sexual predators. They come in the form of uncles, fathers, brothers, and friends. More often than not, it's someone you know.
The intersection of Tamil and Gay seems to signal malfunction. Whether we judge ourselves or are judged by our families or communities, the anxiety and fear caused by discrimination is real. We allow social shaming to dictate the way we feel about a situation, and obsess about what others think.
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