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FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer’s bucket list

A bucket bath. That’s not a concept most people are familiar  with in Canada. Even back in India, it is not that common any longer, with little water heaters and showers in almost every bathroom.

But I come from a place and time when one bathed from water that was heated on a stove and poured into a bucket. Cooled with cold tap water, it was then used to bathe with. Even when hot and cold water taps became common, people of my generation continued to use buckets – we just mixed the water straight from the tap. What a luxury!

Our first rental apartment in Canada had a small bathroom with a tub with a shower. But we needed a bucket! I asked the person we were renting the apartment from where we could find one.

“A bucket,” he asked. “Like for ice? I might have an extra one lying around at home, you can have that, sure!”

I didn’t think a bucket for ice could be that different from one for water, and gratefully accepted his offer.

He was back in a bit with a small metal pail.

“Here you go!” he said cheerfully.

I looked at it and wondered how he imagined anyone could bathe with something that size.

“This is very nice,” I said politely. “But we needed a big one. You know, for the bathroom?”

He looked baffled. What use could one possibly have for a bucket in a bathroom?

So I had to explain the whole routine in excruciating detail, to the accompaniment of many questions and exclamations of, “Wow, that is so interesting!”

He left, promising to see what he could do to source one for us.

I didn’t have much hope of him finding a bucket seeing as how it was such a novel concept to him and told my wife we’d better get used to taking showers.

But he was back in a few hours with a bucket. A bright orange one, with Home Depot painted on it in large letters.

“Will this work?” he asked hopefully.

“It’s the perfect size,” I assured him, not having the heart to confess that I’d forgotten to mention the plastic mug we also needed for a bucket bath!                                                                           

– Ramesh Gupta


What’s your story? Every newcomer, no matter how savvy or where he or she comes from, has a Fresh Off the Plane (FOP) story to share about their early days in Canada. Do you want to share your story? E-mail it to us at canadaboundimmigrant@rogers.com.

Posted: Jan 31, 2020

May 2020

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