Experience a fusion of Indian and Canadian storytelling with a reading of Ramya’s Treasure (2018) by Pratap Reddy. Reddy will present his book Sept. 6 at the South Hill branch of the Vancouver Public Library. Ramya’s Treasure is a novel that blends two seemingly disparate worlds into a relatable tale of retrospection and reflection.
Reddy came to Canada in 2002 from the city of Hyderabad in southern India at the time he was working for a large company in India, but he found that it was not conducive to his writing dreams. Reddy was looking for a fresh place for creative inspiration, so he decided to uproot his life and head to Ontario for a change in scenery. In no time, Reddy’s authorly ambitions were realized. In 2008, he was bestowed the Mississauga Arts Council award for Best Emerging Artists and in 2009, received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council.
“I was conscious that my style could reflect the colonial hangover which the educational institutes in India seem to encourage, so I attended creative courses of Humber School of Writers and Ryerson University,” says Reddy. “I wanted to tell a story in a way which would be acceptable to readers and publishers in Canada, even though the subject matter and treatment would be East Indian.”
Reddy has poems, short stories, and novels published in the United States, Canada, as well as his homeland of India. His work displays that leaving India and coming to Canada is far from the hardest part of the emigration process. In his most recent work, Ramya’s Treasure, Reddy’s heroine Ramya
is having a mid-life crisis after several years in her
Ramya’s Treasure starts up 15 years after Ramya and her husband have immigrated from India.
Ever since arriving in Canada, Ramya has straddled two different cultures, but after a divorce rattles her world she decides to delve back into her past.
Memories play a huge part in Ramya’s journey within the novel and the past comes flooding back to her when she finds a sandalwood box from her childhood. Within the box she finds childhood memories that bring her current circumstances into perspective. Ramya delves into the treasure, and the book becomes an intertwining tale of life back in India juxtaposed with current day.
Reddy based these special treasures off his own version of a treasure box from his childhood.
“It was something in which my sibling and I would store stuff when we were children,” says Reddy. “The items were of little value to others but were beyond price to us.”
A female perspective
Choosing to inhabit a female perspective ended up being a spontaneous outcome of Reddy’s plot.
“I wanted to write about a vulnerable individual who faces challenges on many fronts, personal and professional to name a couple,” he says. “Who could be more vulnerable than a woman who follows her husband who has decided, most probably unilaterally, to immigrate?”
Being newly divorced and in a country she did not fully choose to move to, Ramya is left to her own devices to re-discover who she is without the influence of her husband.
“Ramya isn’t consciously modelled after somebody I know,” says Reddy, “Neither is she a collage made up of characteristics of various people in my circle of acquaintances. Ramya is completely a figment of imagination, an imagination which I trust is rooted in an author’s sensitivity to the world around him.”
Propelled by her old treasures and the power of memory, Ramya navigates this new chapter as she enters the second half of her life. The memories do lead to an epiphany moment the reader must discover on their own.
“Like any person who’s leading an unhappy life, Ramya is given to mulling over her past,” says Reddy. “But in case of Ramya, I am happy to add, her bouts of reminiscences eventually lead to making a courageous choice.”
For more information, please visit www.vpl.bibliocommons.com/events/5d378ae61e29962f0088a735