May is Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is an opportunity for all Canadians to learn more about the many achievements and contributions of Canadians of Asian descent who, throughout our history, have done so much to make Canada the amazing country we share today.
To celebrate, we are featuring Cultures Connected, the Employee Resource Group for ACPI team members at REX, with Q&A about their heritage. Read Garvit’s responses below!
Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I am Garvit, from India. I was born in the state (province) of Rajasthan, a travel hot spot and an erstwhile land of kings. I am a new immigrant, fresh off the boat and building a life in Canada from scratch.
Was there a stage in your life when you truly began to embrace your heritage and culture?
Not really. I didn’t think about it much because I mainly lived in my home country. However, after migrating to Canada, I am trying to wrap my head around what my heritage is and what it means to me. It’s a work in progress, but I am hopeful.
Does your family celebrate traditions that are special to you?
I am not sure if this applies to me. I live alone, and my folks are back in India. Still, to answer the question, my family does and will celebrate traditions that are special to me. Growing up, Diwali was one of my favorite festivals. Diwali is a celebration of the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. I remember dressing up in new clothes (ahem ahem), helping my aunt and mother light hundreds of small oil lamps, and placing them around our house. Prayers, food, and bantering would follow afterward. The best part of the festival would start post-dinner when everyone in the family would burn firecrackers late into the night. The sweetest part, however, was the next morning when I, along with my brothers and sisters, would go on the terrace, enjoy the early winter sun and eat sugarcane.
Did you have an ACPI role model, someone you looked up to growing up, and are inspired by?
There are so many! There isn’t one particular person but a bunch of people whose work and careers are inspiring. Mindy Kaling, Jhumpa Lahiri, Kal Penn, Aziz Ansari, and M. Night Shyamlan (This list is too big!). I think Kal Penn’s journey is quite inspiring. I think his work in Kumar and Harold series helped Indian origin actors get roles that weren’t stereotypical, accented representation of an Indian dude. His work with the Obama administration was inspirational because there aren’t too many actors who worked full-time in the white house.
What ACPI resources do you recommend to help educate others?
I don’t know a credible resource that I can recommend to others. Google? 🙂