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Wednesday, July 12, 2017



For some 51 years old it may not all rosy at the start to settle in a new country with new customs, traditions, environment, weather and a general new way of life to adapt to. And as for me it was no exception either.

For some, they say it is a culture shock, while for others it is not, but rather more like missing one’s close relatives and friends and the calm and coziness of the land that one previously was too used to.

Most immigrants are qualified as the system demands to make an entry in Canada. There are immigrants from all walks of life from all over the world. In most cases people find jobs in their chosen field. Some families immigrate with teenage or even younger children.

Goans as new immigrants have an advantage of being fluent in the English language. To settle and be successful, one would have to take in stride and accept a new system and new way of life. It is not possible to still dwell in the 'susegad' spirit if one has to accomplish the dream of emigration itself.

A big contingent of Goans emigrated to Canada from East Africa during the 1970’s. Others settled in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. Goans who were working In the Middle East – Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Dubai also immigrated to various places in Canada like British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. Goans have also emigrated directly from Bombay. However a few have emigrated directly from Goa.

In Mississauga – Ontario – there is a large number of Goans who have emigrated from their previous working places away from Goa and have settled largely in the Greater Toronto Area. This number is large enough to have numerous social functions on a single day like a picnic, dance or a feast at a short notice!

An inherent Goan trait is the much-spoken aboout 'susegad' spirit or a relaxed attitude to life that exists in Goan culture. I would define 'susegad spirit' as not exactly as being lazy or idle in attaining or getting something done immediately, but more in keeping with leaving something for tomorrow that could have easily been done today. This attitude could be described as someone would say in Konkani in Goa: “Faleam pounchem”.

This trait may be prevalent in many other cultures, but is quite a rare and unique kind that one finds in Goa. It prevails more in Goa than abroad. When a Goan lives and works abroad he has competition in the work place and being susegad would not be an ideal way to go about in a new country that one has adopted as a choice hoping for a better and prospective life that the one before. Eventually Goans may leave and forget about the susegad spirit for good, but the characteristic attributes and qualities of having a good time, enjoying life, singing and dancing do not cease.

Most Goans shed the ‘susegad’ spirit when they start to work abroad specially in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Canada. After immigration it tends to be a different ball game altogether. They have to make a fresh start in a totally new land and interact with other immigrants from other parts of the world. And being 'susegad' would be an impediment for one’s progress. 

The susegad spirit does not exist in the diaspora. It does not survive. To be susegad would be a setback. There is too much at stake for it to survive. There is too much competition. Many opportunities are available to succeed in life in Canada.

However, it is my opinion that if one so chooses to work hard against all odds and put in all the hard work and sacrifice that one is willing to put up with in Goa itself instead of in a new land, then one need not leave the shores of home so dear to some than those of a far and distant land.