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FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer goes nuts

As I look out the window at squirrels busily scurrying around, carrying peanuts which they will no doubt stash away now and consume over winter, I am reminded of a funny incident from our early days in Canada.

As winter approached, my default setting kicked in and I began craving roasted moongphalli (peanuts in shells) and gajak (a North Indian sweet, typically available in winter). These always take me back to holidays with the extended family and sitting around an angithi, swapping ghost stories.

Gajak, of course, I had no hope of finding in Canada – this was well before the community had reached the numbers it has today and Indian grocery stores were few and did not carry all the items we take for granted today.

But peanuts? Surely those should be easy to locate? Canadians enjoyed peanuts, too, right?

But while I found salted, honey roasted and BBQ flavoured peanuts, peanuts in shells were nowhere to be seen. Disappointed, I picked up the other things on my list, and made my way to the check-out. The cashier was young and chatty, and on impulse, I asked her where I’d find the peanuts in shells.

To this day, I am thankful I did not get to complete my sentence before she responded, “In the pets’ foods aisle”. 

I can’t imagine what she would have thought had I finished what I had started out to say, “I have a serious craving for them”!

Unable to figure out which pets, exactly, enjoyed my favourite snack, but happy to have discovered where I might find some, I ran to the pets’ foods aisle and sure enough, there they were, giant bags of peanuts in shells.

I grabbed one and was back at the cashier in a couple of minutes. 

“My mom also puts them on the window ledges to feed the blue jays,” she said with a smile. “Of course, the squirrels love them too!”

“As do I, as do I,” I thought with a pleased smile. 

– Manjula Mishra

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: Nov 3, 2014

June 2019

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