Atta Ikede

July 1, 2008

Brick Lane

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 8:53 pm

The title of this post refers to the movie Brick Lane. I had never really heard of this movie, but the movie poster featured a very typically Indian looking Indian girl (as opposed to those weird Italian-esque Bollywood girls who all have blue/green eyes and brown hair), so i bought a ticket on a whim and went in to watch it.

The movie is adapted from a book. I do NOT recommend the book! I flipped through the book at the bookstore earlier this week and it was pretty bad. A good portion of it is written in broken English for some reason … and if you read the amazon reviews you’ll see a lot of reviewers on there point out that the poor English makes for very tedious reading and its inclusion makes no sense whatsoever.

The plot line is corny and the movie doesn’t offer anything new, but it had something that will make me always treasure it and remember it. I’ll probably download it when it comes out on DVD. Hey! I wouldn’t waste bandwidth downloading lame stuff!

The movie takes place in London, England in “banglatown”/little bangladesh, i.e. brick lane. The character is supposed to be in her early thirties but the actress looks younger. Some corny stuff happens, the character discovers some strength, the end. So what was it about this movie that got me? I actually got a bit emotional when I watched it!

The lead character, the Indian looking Indian girl (who is supposed to be Bangladeshi, not Indian), wears a dark wool coat over a sari in the various scenes when she’s outside. My dad bought my mom a coat like that when she moved to England. It’s a lovely coat. Double breasted, with shiny detail on the buttons, bought at Marks and Spencers. Personally I think it’s the sharpest coat she ever had! Nowadays my mom wears western clothes unless she’s going to a dinner party with Indian people but when I was younger, say, 7 or 8 and below, I remember she used to wear saris around the house and even outside when she went shopping.

All in all, watching that movie, with that brown eyed, tan skinned, long haired girl walk around gloomy British streets in that wool coat, looking around shyly, ducking under her sari … it all gave me visions of my mom. My mom would have been exactly like that!

She married my dad and moved to London, England when she was the same age when I am now. She wore that coat until I was about 5 or so, but then became a bit too uh .. chubby .. to fit into it and so it stayed in the closet until I went to university and needed a nice coat for interviews. I harvested it and have kept it around even now despite the fact the lining is ripped in a few spots inside and the coat is getting threadbare in a couple (luckily not very noticeable) spots. I like the shiny detail on the buttons and the history of that garment. It’s older than I am! In fact I still use it as my good coat.

You know, my parents by no means had the kind of hardcore immigrant experience you see in movies like this or that you might hear in interviews. They never lived in an ethnic ghetto like Brick Lane or had to rely on members of the ethnic community for help. They’ve always been relatively comfortable. I mean, when my parents got married, my dad already owned a 2 or possibly 3 bedroom townhouse in London – corner unit no less! Seriously. That’s a long way off from the stories of people who have to cram 10 people into a basement room! When I was growing up, whenever my dad would pretend about how hard his life was back in England,  I would remind him about his townhouse! Hard life indeed!!

Now that I’ve “immigrated” to the US, I have realized that even after job/housing/money is sorted, there are still lots of other things that could go well or not go well to make the immigrant experience good or bad. Making friends, getting around, fitting in, new worries like making sure you have enough quarters for laundry and all kinds of other things, small and large. If those things don’t work out then I can see how living away from home can be pretty depressing!

I guess that watching that movie and seeing that image of my mom at a time when I’m recently adjusting to a new life myself just made me fee like wow. Immigrating somewhere is a big deal! Moving somewhere new, not having anybody there to advise you, adjusting to new surroundings and customs, making all the decisions by yourself. I’m doing pretty well here, and luckily the US isn’t so different than Canada but once in a while I do get stressed out about things and I can see how sometimes this experience could be miserable for people who have a larger difference to overcome than I do.

I feel a new sense of respect for my parents. I’ll still probably remind my dad about his townhouse if he starts telling me about his hard life in England, but there’ll be a part of me that says .. hmm .. yeah, it probably was a bit tough at times. I understand now.



  1. That was sweet :)

    Comment by Julie — July 2, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

  2. Its always a surprise to me who we keep in touch with too. Some relationships don’t require a lot of maintanence others it mean taking the time to make a concerted effort. Part of it, I think is how often you see someone even when you are living in the same city. You and I saw each other every day. I would run to your desk when I was having an anxiety attack or needed my wake me up coffee. I have friends I am close to but I talk to them maybe once or twice a year and we live 10 mins from each other. I let my adventures build and build and build then we spend a few hours on the phone or meet up once and while. I think your still new to San Francisco so its early yet to say if the city can enrich you as it did in Ontario. You were in Canada a long time. I do agree some people are better at keeping in touch then other people. But in some cases its just chemistry. When I read your blogs or rabbits your personalities are so in the writing, its like your right there. But that’s not always the case. Anyways, I’m rambling now but I enjoy our long distance relationship.

    Comment by julie — July 4, 2008 @ 5:07 pm

  3. I just realize I posted this under the wrong section – oh well :)

    Comment by julie — July 4, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

  4. Yeah! I have friends like that too .. we consider each other close but we hardly see each other.

    I like it when you ramble.

    Comment by attaikede — July 7, 2008 @ 2:52 pm

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