Native Village, Country, Parents background
I was born in New Delhi, India. My father hails from New Delhi and mother is from Hoshiarpur, Punjab. My father worked with multinational companies in India and abroad as a Purchase Manager. My mother is a housewife. Both my parents raised us with exceptionally good values. I am so thankful and blessed to have them in my life.
Your early education
My education was primarily centered in New Delhi, where I completed both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Delhi University. In my younger life, I was very interested in computer programming and software, which motivated me to apply to and eventually graduate from the National Institute of Information Technology (known as NIIT) in Delhi. From there, I worked to complete an additional degree in software programming and soon after was hired as a software programmer with reputed company.
When and why you came to Canada
I arrived in Canada in March 2001. I wed my husband, Atul Omkar, in the spring of 2000 and we immigrated to Canada not very long after. Both my husband and I agree that moving to this country was the right decision as we now have two wonderful children and a great life together. This country has given us so much – it is a Nation abundant with opportunities. My wise mother likes to say that this is our “Karam bhoomi” now. We have moved here and this country has helped us grow even more.
Your career advancement initiatives & present occupation
We are the first of both our families to settle here in Edmonton so obviously we had to work hard. Those were the struggling days. We came with four suitcases in our hands and a baby on our way. Initially I had to work in a printing shop for few months. After that I studied for one year and completed my Office Management Diploma from Campbell College and soon after I got a job at Catholic Social Services. I worked there for seven years, alternating to working with NAIT for a while. From there I eventually transitioned to work at Tempo School teaching computer classes. Currently I am working towards a new and different career path as I feel it is never too late for further education and new endeavors in life.
I believe in giving back to community. I like to volunteer my time as much as I can. I believe we are really fortunate that we are able to do this. Of course, I value the support of my family in everything I like to do. I have been involved with the board of the Hindu Society of Alberta for about three years now and I really enjoy contributing to its cause and trying to make a difference in our community. As of today, I am serving as the General Secretary of the Hindu Society of Alberta. I am also volunteering as a Director with the Hindi Parishad of Alberta.
Your regret in life
No regrets whatsoever. God’s been kind and I am living a rewarding and fulfilling life within the family and the community.
Pick up one of your best achievements
I feel personally proud of my decision to make my children the focus of my undivided attention during their formative years, even though it meant giving up a full time career for a while. I believe this has contributed significantly to making my two daughters – aged 17 years and 13 years – the strong and confident girls they are today. I have also received several awards for my work ethic and success in my field of computer programming during my tenure at University.
Were you ever discriminated?
I cannot say that I as an individual have experienced any discrimination myself, however I feel that as a woman in today’s world I have and still do. In a time as advanced as ours, women are still paid only 74 cents to the every man’s dollar in Canada. An injustice such as this gender wage gap is only one of many which exist in many countries all over the Globe.
What you miss in Canada
My parents are still in India so I really miss them as well as my younger sister who currently lives in the UK. Our family has made it a point to preserve our Indian values and culture when immigrating here and thus I cannot say I feel as though that is an aspect I “miss”.
Are you happy in Canada?
Absolutely!! I am a proud Canadian!
Canada is another home to me now and I am just as proud to be Canadian as I am Indian. I started my family here in the hopes of giving my children all the opportunities a woman in India may not get and more.
Any Comments on Canada’s weather
I would say that, for the most part, I appreciate Canada’s weather. While it’s lovely to get away from the winter snow sometimes, overall I have no complaints! My favorite season here is definitely autumn as the leaves look gorgeous during that time of year.
Any comments on Canada’s culture
Canada is often characterized as being “very progressive, diverse & multicultural” and I agree – this truly is a colorful place. It is a blend of beautiful traditions & customs. It is a privilege that we are able to preserve our beliefs in the manner we do; kids have the opportunity to learn about their own respective cultures and can acquire knowledge of others too.
What brought you success in Canada?
I believe that the key factors in my success are my dedication and perseverance. Juggling a family and other responsibilities simultaneously is no easy task!
Of course, my significant half, Advocate Atul Omkar is staunch supporter of my every endeavor.
Are you willing to help newcomers?
Absolutely! I would love to help new immigrants in this country. All of us living in Canada today, aside from the First Nations peoples, are immigrants here and as such should help each other prosper.
As part of my employment with Catholic Social Services and my volunteer work in the past, I have tried to help new immigrants with housing, job searches, etc. Through the Hindu Society of Alberta, we attempt to assist newcomers make connections within the community and to find a spiritual home, as much as possible. I am always willing to assist newcomers in any reasonable manner that I can.
Your message for Canadians of South Asian origin
I would say overall that, although it is difficult to achieve our ideal life, it is not impossible. We should help each other grow! One thing I have learned from my time here is not to neglect yourself – mental health is very important and, when ignored, can quickly become another obstacle to overcome. Lastly I would say that we should all live to make the world a better place by being more economically and environmentally responsible. Change begins with one person, and our kids will one day lead by our example.
Asian Star- Chitra Omkar
Native Village, Country, Parents background