Mississauga-based Pratap Reddy likes to describe himself as an underwriter by day and a writer by night. He arrived in Canada along with his family from India a little more than a decade ago. Like most of his compatriots he arrived with a lot of hope and needless to say a healthy dose of trepidition. He went through the heartache most immigrants end up experiencing but instead of internalizing it, he plunged into writing and despite his experience chooses to see immigration in a positive light.
“Nothing prepares you for the uncertainties and challenges you encounter in the first few month after you arrive. The difficulty in finding suitable jobs, made all the more difficult without Canadian work experience, the non-recognition of your educational credentials, non-availability of affordable daycare are just a few of the obstacles a new immigrant faces. To add to all these worries is the extreme weather of Canada which a new immigrant especially from a tropical country has to learn to grapple with.”
Today Pratap is settled, his writing career has taken off, his stories have been published in magazines and anthologies in Canada, India and the USA. He is the recipient of the Marty by The Mississauga Arts Council in 2008 and has utilized grants from the Ontario Arts Council to enroll in a creative writing program at the Humber School for Writers.
Any immigrant especially from the South Asian continent would identify with his stories or relate to it. For example, Ramki and the Christmas Trees is a heartwarming story about an electrical engineer who was unable to find work in his field, takes up a job which involves guarding Christmas trees in the middle of winter. Another story in the collection is The Toy Flamingo and it tells the tale of a young man who discovers his parents aren’t who he thought they were.
“I love reading, and therefore I love to write. I have devoured books right from the time I was a child. And it has always been my secret wish to become a writer, a purveyor for absorbing and creating entertaining stories. It took me many, many years to become one, and I wonder if I would have become a published author had I not immigrated to Canada. Like hundreds of fellow immigrants I’d like to say that all the challenges and frustration one faced after coming here have been well worth the while.”
Pratap’s new book ‘Weather Permitting & Other Stories’ will be available for purchase at his book launch on June 5 and at that time you can buy a personally signed copy. His book is also available online at www. GuernicaEditions.com, online at Chapters and Indigo, and at Amazon.ca or Amazon.com. – CINEWS