| Too little to walk, I was in the arms of my grandmother being carried through the corridors of the airport, arriving in a destination with unfamiliar faces, unfamiliar sounds, an unfamiliar language. I had arrived in Canada, my new home.
Arriving in Canada at the age of a mere seven months I had come to settle with my parents who were anxiously awaiting my arrival. For two months I had been away from them, too young to realize why they had set off without me. Too little to realize that my parents were thousands of miles away from me, settling themselves in a new country far different from the country they had been living their entire lives. Far different from the mango groves, coconut trees and tropical weather, far different from the place with lily filled waters, far different from the country they had loved so dearly and were leaving behind, Bangladesh.
After many a years, now a recent graduate from university I am living with my parents in this country that we now call our own, Canada. We have established ourselves and made this country into our own, made it into our home. The once unfamiliar faces and sounds have become an integral part of our everyday lives.
I have an immense amount of pride in being a Bangladeshi-Canadian of this generation. I have equal respect for both of my countries Canada and Bangladesh, both of which have great things to offer. Living in Canada I have been able to take all what is best from this culture; alongside I have held on to my Bangladeshi heritage dearly.
The first of the words that were ever spoken by me were in Bangla, my mother tongue and it is the language in which I continue to speak. Why is it that I hold on to my language so dearly? Because Bangla was the language for which the freedom of our homeland was sought for. It is the language in which my thoughts and emotions still speak in today.
Being raised my entire life across the oceans from my birth land, I have been able to hold on to my heritage firmly. At the same time having been raised abroad I have equally been able to adapt to the culture of the country in which I am residing. It was my upbringing that has given me the opportunity to take the best of both worlds. As a child everything I grew up with gave to me an essence of my culture; the language in which I was spoken to, the music my parents played, the food cooked in my home. Apart from that, outside of my home I was exposed to and encouraged to participate in various parts of the mainstream culture. All of which have played a significant role in the development of my identity.
Having been exposed to two very different cultures, I feel privileged to have been brought up in a home and environment in which I was encouraged to value and respect my Bangladeshi culture and traditions, as well as being encouraged to keep a firm hold onto my Canadian upbringing.
No matter where I am in life my roots remain in my homeland. It is where I was given life and it is where my heritage remains and if it is displaced from my life so will be my identity. Therefore I feel it is of utmost importance for the younger generation living abroad to be able to keep in touch with their roots, cultural values and traditions while maintaining their identity as a Bangladeshi Canadian. I myself have been able to establish for myself two countries, two languages, yet only one identity; that of a “Bangladeshi-Canadian”.
Ayesha Rahman Rashna
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| Nov 10th, 2006
very nicely written i really enjoyed reading this article!!
RASHNA'S LOVE & PATRIOTISM Zainul Abedin
| Nov 14th, 2006
I FEEL EXTREMELY HAPPY & EXULTED TO READ THE PANORAMA ARTICLE THAT LOVE & PATRIOTISM MAY BE CHERISHED FOR THE MOTHERLAND EVEN IN FARAWAY PLACES.I CONGRATUKLATE RASHNA TO STRENGTHEN HER PASSION AND CULTIVATE HER LITERARY POWER SO THAT SHE MAY WRITE A MASTERPIECE SOMEDAY.
PEOPLE OF BANGLADESH KNOWS HOW TO HONOUR HER TALENTS ACROSS THE WORLD.
BEST WISHES FOR RASHNA(BANGLA FOR ORCHID!)
Noteworthy Praise Raisa Bhuiyan
| Jun 3rd, 2010
Ayesha, This is a stunningly written piece that amicably bridges together what so many Bengali-Canadian youth are experiencing everyday of their lives. Being one myself, I think you should be commended for outputting such a lovely piece.
Keep up the good work.
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