My Thick Accent

Unfamiliar Lands and Unexpected Encounters: Tracing Pratik's Immigrant Journey | Ep. 045

September 07, 2023 Gurasis Singh Season 1 Episode 45
My Thick Accent
Unfamiliar Lands and Unexpected Encounters: Tracing Pratik's Immigrant Journey | Ep. 045
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if you were given the chance to completely change your life? To pack up everything and start anew halfway around the world? Meet Pratik, a brave soul who left his home in Gujarat, India, to start a new life in Canada. In this conversation, we journey with Pratik through his transition from a small city in Gujarat to the bustling metropolis of Mumbai, where he pursued a career in mass media, eventually finding success as a copywriter and line producer. He also shares his family's rich history of entrepreneurship and how it molded his own career aspirations.

 We'll also delve into his professional leap from marketing to tech, offering an honest outlook on the challenges and rewards of changing careers. Plus, Pratik shares a cautionary tale about falling victim to a scam, emphasizing the importance of vigilance when navigating unfamiliar environments.

As we conclude this compelling conversation, Pratik reflects on his experiences in Canada, sharing the ups, downs, and everything in between. He offers invaluable advice to those considering a similar move and stresses the importance of staying true to oneself. He also encourages us to reach out to those in need, reminding us of the importance of community in forging a new path.

Don't forget to subscribe and share our podcast. Your support helps us create more engaging content.

Follow the host and the podcast on Social Media channels below:  

__________________________________________

To contact Pratik:


Don't forget to leave a comment or a rating!

Stay tuned for the exciting new episode every Thursday and let's continue knowing each other Beneath The Accent!

Want to share your story? Or know someone I should invite next on the show? DM us or write to us at Hello@mythickaccent.com


Gurasis:

Hi, this is Gurasis Singh and you're listening to My Thick Accent podcast. So on this podcast, we venture into a multitude of topics, probing both the commonly asked questions and those that often go unexplored. From shedding light on stereotypes that surround immigrants to delving deep into cultural and language barriers, our mission is to uncover the insights and experiences that enrich our understanding of the world around us. It's all about fostering curiosity, sparking conversations and learning from the experiences of remarkable individuals, and our guest today is here to contribute to our ongoing quest for knowledge, since we know that no journey is without its trails. He will also share about facing adversity soon after his arrival, a challenge that forced him to return to India for some time. The impact of this experience and his decision to pivot from marketing to tech will reveal his resilience and adaptability. We'll also touch upon a topic often hidden from the spotlight the scams he encountered on his journey, the chapter of history that sheds light on the unforeseen challenges immigrants might face. So, without further ado, please welcome Pratik.

Pratik:

Hey, hi Gurasis and hi all of the listeners. My name is Pratik, as Gurasis has mentioned, and I'm super excited to be here on this podcast today.

Gurasis:

So I'm going to start by asking you a question which I asked some of my guests. Tell us, what is this one habit you adopted that has changed your life?

Pratik:

Yeah, great, great question. Yeah, I think when it comes to habits, after moving here, a lot of things have changed right. Very early in my childhood I was someone who got involved into sports a lot and I used to play a lot of sports. Back in India Around college time I sort of went a little bit away from sports and I stopped playing for a bit. But then again, since the last four years, since since my arrival here in Canada, I've picked sports again and I've started playing table tennis. I play squash regularly. So, yeah, that is definitely a habit that I've picked up and something that I love and keeps me active, keeps me positive, provides me with physical and mental strength. So definitely sports.

Gurasis:

Okay, great. So let me take you back to the time you spent in India, since you said you went into sports, since your childhood. Tell us a little bit about your time you spent in India, specifically Gujarat. Tell us a little bit about your formative years and what the focus was on growing up.

Pratik:

Yeah, 100%, I think yeah. So, as you mentioned, right, born and brought up in Gujarat, I was actually born in a very small city called Rajkot. I'm not sure if you are a lot of artists would know about Rajkot because it's a really small city, right? For those of you who follow cricket, ravinder Jadeja is actually from Rajkot, right? So Chitaishwari Pooja is from Rajkot, ravinder Jadeja is from Rajkot. So I did my schooling from Rajkot, played, as I said before, played a lot of sports.

Pratik:

Growing up and throughout my stay in Rajkot, I loved the city. The city has amazing food. After my initial few years in Rajkot, I decided to move to Mumbai, which was a little bit of a change for me, because back in Rajkot, I used to live in a big house with my parents, but when I moved to Mumbai, I actually moved to a hostel in Mumbai and I did my graduation in Mumbai. So that was a little bit of a shock for me. I'm staying in a big house to moving into a hostel In Rajkot. I was always ride my bike, which was always there in Mumbai.

Pratik:

In a city, you usually have to use a lot of public transport, so I started going oh, yes, yeah, and so that was a change and with that shift I also had to quit sports because in Mumbai there weren't a lot of big grounds. A lot of cricketers have come out of Mumbai but again, in terms of comparison with the availability of ground and fields in Rajkot, there's definitely a lack of it. The colleges in Mumbai that I went to were basically like small buildings rather than actual colleges and universities, whereas in Rajkot I basically studied in a very, very good school which has all of the amenities. That's actually where I picked up squash as well, I think in my 10th standard. That is when our school had basically created a squash court for the first time. It was fantastic. I had a great time in Rajkot.

Gurasis:

So, but tell me also, like, what about the family? Like what are your parents like working? They had a business, or that they were forced to get into, like a certain career? How about that?

Pratik:

Yeah, so my family has always been a business family. My grandfather, narinder Spao, was actually a freedom fighter. He was a freedom fighter who basically during independence, fought for the war and whatever it was with the Britishers and he was basically the right hand for Sardar, vallabhbhai Patel and my dad, all of my uncles, were basically into business for a long period of time. We had the agency or the dealership for entire Gujarat for Hero and Atlas, which were the biggest automobile sort of companies back then in 1970s and 80s. So I've always been in a business family.

Pratik:

There's not a lot of pressure from my parents around now that you have to become an engineer or you have to become a doctor, so that was never there. From a very early age in life I knew that I was going to be someone who is going to go into commerce or marketing that sort of a field rather than something into engineering or doctorate, and there was no pressure. To be honest, family wise, I also have two siblings. Both are elder sisters. They were a lot inclined towards education. They were a lot inclined towards reading, but I honestly never developed that. My interests were always going outside, playing, exploring myself and being physical as much as possible.

Gurasis:

So you said that you knew that you want to get into commerce or something like that. But you also told me that you were like your school captain. For like three years you were into volleyball, basketball, cricket and all these sports. That why you never thought of getting into sports, why something else?

Pratik:

Yeah, that's a great question and a question that a lot of my friends, a lot of my family members ask me. So I think at that point of time, especially when I was in school, I used to play a lot of different sports. And because I used to play a lot of different sports, I was basically chosen or elected as the house captain to represent my house for three years straight and at that point of time I was playing multiple sports instead of focusing on one sport and going all in. That is probably one of the biggest reasons why I did not end up having a sports career. Otherwise, I had, like, fantastic guidance, I had a lot of coaches who were motivating me, but I was always kind of jack of all trades versus being a master of one sport. To be honest, I played a lot of cricket, played a lot of squash, basketball, volleyball, but there was never really that drive to pursue sports as a career. It always was more like a hobby rather than a career choice.

Gurasis:

And you also mentioned that you moved from Gujarat to Mumbai and you also lived in Pune for some time and it was also, like, I believe, the first time you were leaving your house. You know, your own nest. So do you remember or recall that moment that, the conversations you had with the parents or maybe in general, what the experience was like, just moving away from the family for the first time and trying to live on your own self, even though you were in the same country, but still, how was that like?

Pratik:

Yeah, 100%. That experience was was very difficult and very different as well, especially during my first couple of months in Mumbai when I moved to a hostel. Right, there were so many restrictions in the hostel. There was like an 8pm deadline before which I had to get back home, and things like that, and that was completely different. Right by that time I had almost stopped playing sports. I gained a lot of weight because I was eating outside all the time and that was not a good time right. Especially the first couple of months, it was very difficult.

Pratik:

I remember speaking with my mom and telling her that I was not a good time or that I don't think this is what I want to do. Right, I want to stay in Rajkot. That is definitely a life that I like, with my friends, with my family, as well as my sports and my circle that I had created there. So that was difficult and different, but eventually, after a few months, you get settled down. I also started actually playing a little bit of cricket with my hostel friends. I sort of created that group of people who were interested in playing cricket. We started playing cricket in hostel and things like that, but the first couple of months were definitely difficult. The other thing that I mentioned before as well right In Rajkot, I always had a bike.

Pratik:

Mumbai, that was no more an option, because a hostel wouldn't allow you to keep your own bike right, and so travelling became a challenge. I used to take trains all the time or public transport all the time. It was completely different. The life in Mumbai was definitely not what I expected when I decided to leave Rajkot, but yeah, I actually used to visit Mumbai a lot because my mother's family, my mama and my other relatives from my mother's side were all of them in Mumbai. So every summer vacation I would go to Mumbai, spend time at my mama's house and be there for like a month. So overall I knew that life, but I never knew how it will be to live that life.

Gurasis:

Yeah, well, I think it's always different to visit a relative and then started living on your own in a new place, so I think that really gives like a different perspective of living there. For sure, yeah, but tell me something that people might not know about Gujarat that you would like to share.

Pratik:

Yeah, sure, I think I'm not sure if a lot of people know, but Gujarat is it's a very industrial driven sort of a state. Right, it's a dry state, which means you there is no alcohol allowed and you also have tons and tons of ancillary industries developing in Gujarat At that point of time. I know I know this one fact which was really surprising to me when I was in school, which basically was that Tata Motors basically has more than 30, 40% of their ancillary parts actually built in Rajkot, in a small town near Rajkot.

Pratik:

Yeah, a lot of your watches are made in Gujarat, a lot of your T-shirts, a lot of your ready made garments with brands like Nike or Adidas actually have factories in Gujarat, which is not something a lot of people know. I think, especially with the current political situation and the infrastructure development that is happening in India right now, gujarat is definitely a state which is growing and has fantastic infrastructure for a lot of scope to grow further and do a lot better.

Gurasis:

So, even though you didn't get into sports you didn't pursue sports, but you got into marketing right, and before marketing, I believe you were also into content writing. So tell us, like, how did you get into these careers?

Pratik:

Yeah, 100%. So when I moved to Mumbai I was trying to get into Bachelors of Mass Media. Right, that was a course which basically was a good sort of a course for me because I was interested into mass media and marketing. But when I initially went to Mumbai I tried applying at a couple of colleges and I couldn't go through, get through to any of those colleges in Bachelors of Mass Media course. Finally I decided, you know, maybe I'll just do Bachelor of Commerce for now and then I'll figure out for my masters if I wanted to do something specifically in communications or media. Initially, for that first month, I started studying at Sydenham College. I pursued Bcom and then suddenly, after a month or so, I got a call from a college which basically had an opening in mass media and I was like you know, this is like a perfect opportunity for me. I wanted to always do mass media, so maybe I'll just go ahead and switch my courses and move to mass media. That's exactly what I did. I basically studied BMM for three years and BMM had subjects like advertising, copywriting, public relations, journalism, and so that basically became roots for me to pursue advertising and copywriting as my next career options After completing BMM.

Pratik:

I basically was looking for a job applied at a lot of places in Bombay as well as nearby cities like Pune, and then my sister at that point of time was actually working for IBM and she was working in Pune. So I had actually gone for a couple of weeks of holiday to Pune and there was this company which basically had given out some newspaper advertising and so I read one of their advertisers and it basically said there's an opening for a copywriter. So I was like you know what, maybe I'll just go ahead and apply here. I applied and I got an amazing role as basically the copywriter. The company was big. They were actually a BPO or a KPO who were basically doing digital advertising, outsourcing jobs for Canada and US based digital newspapers. Yeah, that was my first break and yeah, I got into copywriting that way.

Gurasis:

And you were also I read in your LinkedIn as well you were like a line producer for this Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which is one of the biggest theatre productions. Tell us about that experience, if you recall.

Pratik:

Yeah, 100%. So that was, I think, around 2015, 16, when I was back in Mumbai. So I worked in Pune for about two years and then I went back to Mumbai, joined an event, an experiential marketing agency called Show House, and at that point of time we had this opportunity to basically manage the line production for Disney's Beauty and the Beast. That was the first time ever that Disney was producing a theatre of this scale in India and Disney reached out to Show House and we basically had an opportunity to run that entire show. So, yeah, I got that opportunity.

Pratik:

There were two line producers for that show myself and I had one more, colleague, devarti. Both of us basically ran that show. We worked on that project for almost six and a half months. It was phenomenal. It was amazing. Even like today, when I go watch a Disney movie or I see Beauty and the Beast in school plays or even in theatre, the sound, the humming of that song Be my Guest is one of the songs that I always hum about. It's phenomenal. For almost six months we were working on that project.

Gurasis:

It was a dream come true for me 100%, it seems Sounds like such a fascinating experience. Just witness all that behind the scenes, how things really before the things, how they turn out to be on the screen. There's something else at the back right. You see that whole process, how basically things basically marinate and they become what they become eventually 100%.

Pratik:

Yeah, it's a lot of hard work, right? Even when you see a movie, you don't really see what's happening behind the scenes, but it was a lot of hard work. So for that show, which was basically a 15 day long show, there was almost one year long of practicing, one year long of behind the scenes work, lot of coordination. I was the line producer, but we had almost a crew as big as 400 people. On top of that, we had 140 artists performing at one point of time during the show. So it was a phenomenal experience.

Gurasis:

Sounds incredible. And also, you didn't again. Once again, the sports have been always part of your journey and you didn't get into sports, but you did work with some celebrities as well, some cricketers as well. Tell us about that experience.

Pratik:

Yeah, 100%. So I've done a little bit of sports commentary. When I was in my college I actually started. I was looking for a job right, I was looking for a part time job to basically move away from hostel and go into a flat sharing it with my friends, and I basically got a role of sports commentators for text based applications. So I'm not sure if you heard about you know cricket and things like these, but these are basically your applications on phones or websites where you can actually go read the commentary for each and every ball that has been bought. So I used to do cricket commentary for those text based apps.

Pratik:

And then after that I basically moved to Pune and when I got back in events I started working a lot with alcohol brands so our call brands, especially around that 2015 time. A Royal Challenger was very much inclined with cricket and alcohol at the same time. So I used to work with Chris Gayle a lot. I've worked with Zair Khan a couple of times. With Chris Gayle. I actually did a four day tour where I basically worked with him on a brand launch for Smonoff, and then I was working with him on an event in Bombay. We went to Calcutta, then we went to Hyderabad so I taught with him.

Gurasis:

It was again a phenomenal experience, for me and is this something that you think you can share from from the time that's working with? No, you said Chris Gayle and other celebrities as well. That's something that you know, which might not be visible to an audience, or something that you, as a postman, you know at the back, can share with us.

Pratik:

Yeah, 100%. So this is exactly what I remember. It's a very unique thing that happened to me. So when I was working with Chris, I was basically this was, if I'm not wrong, this was, I think, 10th December or 10th November when India basically had demonetization announced. That night I was going to fly with Chris from Mumbai to Bangalore sorry, from Mumbai to Calcutta and Narendra Modi at 8pm came on news and he basically said you know, the notes are banned and at that point of time I was carrying almost 60,000 rupees in my bag of all the events, expenses and things like that, and I went to the airport and I was completely clueless. I was like no, I don't know what I'm going to do, because it was. I literally had very little money in my credit card or my bank.

Pratik:

I had cash which was technically worth nothing at that point of time and I was with Chris and he's like hey, I want to go to the airport lounge. And I was like Chris, sure, I mean you have a business class ticket. I don't have an economic ticket. So he's like you know it's okay, like, pay for it. I was like, sure, I can pay for it, but these guys will not accept the cash that I have and I don't have a lot of money in my bank right now which I can use for an airport lounge, right. And so I went there.

Pratik:

I was trying to talk to the concierge and I was trying to explain them that, hey, I'm with Chris, I need to go with him, please allow me to go or extra this cash. They just wouldn't agree. And suddenly Chris comes. He basically comes with me to the concierge. He notices that I was having this huge discussion and argument with the concierge and he's like hey, guys, you know me, who I am right. And the concierge lady was like yes, we know you and he's like he's with me. I want you to allow him to come with me. And the concierge lady is like sure, you can go ahead. What? So? Yeah, yeah, exactly Like like it was so surreal for me to have that experience? Where so such a big celebrity is basically talking to someone on your behalf and making things happen for you?

Gurasis:

Wow, that's incredible. But again, just going back to that situation, with you carrying the 60,000 in your pocket and you can't use it anymore, it's literally of zero value to you and I obviously I'm sure you also remember the times of chaos that whole demonetization created back then. I think I think till that people have trauma of that time.

Pratik:

Yeah, yeah, 100% it was. It was a disaster. And and even so, even after we landed in Calcutta, right, what happened was because there was a lot of agony in people and people were completely prouless.

Pratik:

Right, what started happening was and around that time, vijay Malia's case was also pretty big Right, this was 2015 and 16, where it was just kids just fled India and for that time, vijay Malia was the owner of RCB and Chris Gale was actually representing RCB. Oh, so there was a lot of agony from people towards Chris, especially in Calcutta, which is which is a place where you know, people are expressive about their things, right, and so we we land in Calcutta, we start going out and there's this huge crowd who is basically coming near Chris and talking trash and trying to basically tell him that hey, bring us our money back, bring Vijay Malia back. And there was. We did not have any security, right, there was. We did not know there is going to be a demonetization and there is going to be such a big hassle gathered at the airport and it was.

Pratik:

it was terrible, but I was glad. You know, chris, chris was fantastic. He basically was my security guard. I was like I was walking on the side and he was like sort of helping me get away from the car.

Gurasis:

Okay, pratik. So let's just pivot towards your Canadian journey. Let's just talk about your first decision to move to Canada, and you were telling me earlier that you know your sister and her husband visited you during your wedding and that's where the conversation to move abroad started. Tell me about that.

Pratik:

Yeah, this was 2018. I got married in 2018, 5th February. I got married to my childhood girlfriend and my longtime partner, and my sister and my brother-in-law were basically visiting us for the wedding and before that, I never had the thought of pursuing Canada at all. And when they came, they came with my nephew and my niece, who were basically at that point of time, around one year and six years old, and we spent a lot of time with them. It was fantastic, it was so good and they always talked about you know how life in Canada is very different to life in India the pollution, the struggles overall, the opportunity that you get moving into a first world country compared to a third world or a developing country and it was fascinating.

Pratik:

But before that time, I never really thought about it seriously. And they came there. We spent almost four months together. We had a lot of fun. Obviously, there were a lot of celebrations and everything was going on, so it was a beautiful time and that's when we started thinking about this positively and thinking about this seriously. My wife Bumika she was she played a big role in us basically applying for aisles, doing all of the prep and, you know, within one year, within no time. We basically got everything approved and we came here in 2019. That was exactly a year after we started applying and everything was everything was very smooth.

Gurasis:

And you were also telling me that the age was also one of the factors which you considered right. Tell us about that as well.

Pratik:

Yeah, so when? So in 2019 or 18, rather, we were somewhere around 28 years, right, so at that point of time I don't know if it is the same right now, but for you to get express entry, you need specific number of points, and after you've done 30, those points that you get from your age start decreasing by like five points or yours or something like that and so our choice was either to wait and become 30 and then start losing out on those points, or try and apply as soon as possible to land here before we turn 30, so we can get maximum number of points from from our age sort of factor or category.

Gurasis:

Okay, so tell us about your first day. When you landed, what were the initial thoughts, initial impressions?

Pratik:

Yeah, so it was. It was a very beautiful day. I remember landing here, my, my Gju, my brother-in-law basically came and picked me up from from the air court. He drove his white Honda CRV and he came to pick me. We actually came back and we you know when, especially when you are coming from Pearson airport to downtown and the first time you see the CN tower, it's like wow, this is something that you've seen in newspapers and online when you are doing your research about Canada. You've seen CN tower and now it was literally in front of you, right? So so definitely a moment that I'll not forget.

Pratik:

The first day here was was, I think it was first June or first July, and that was the day when Toronto Raptors was playing, I think, golden state warriors and that was the third game. So this is the year when Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship game three, and you know it was basically the, the, the game which decided the next path forward. And yeah, we my sister and brother-in-law at that point of time used to stay in downtown. There's a stadium, the Scottish Bank stadium was very close, like so literally not even 200, 300 meters away, there was this amazing crowd. There was so many people and sort of summer. So it was beautiful, it was fantastic. I guess, even even that day when we landed, we landed about 6, 6, 30 and then the sun till 9, 9, 30 and we were like so shocked. We were like, wow, this is, this is fantastic right.

Pratik:

And it was. It was a beautiful experience.

Gurasis:

Yeah, yeah, but just a month after you landed, before you even get into your Canadian journey and before you, even you know, get a living here before you even get exposed to the culture here. Just within just like a month later, you had to go back due to an unforeseen circumstance. Please share with our listeners about that.

Pratik:

Yeah, yeah, so it was. It was about a month, so I think it was 30th June and I basically it was 11.30 in the morning and I was swimming downstairs in in our condo and I was with my nephew and my niece and I got a call from, from someone I don't even remember who it was and I think it was probably my brother-in-law, and he's like you know what, you need to come upstairs. And I was like sure what happened? He's like just come upstairs. And I was like okay.

Gurasis:

Hey, if you're enjoying the content and conversations we bring to you every week, we will love for you to join our growing community. Make sure to follow us on all major podcast directories, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or wherever you consume your podcast. That way, you'll never miss an episode and you'll always stay in the loop with the latest insights and stories. And speaking of staying connected, I always always encourage you to follow your heart, but also also on Instagram the handle is my thick accent We'll be sharing a lot more behind the scenes content, some updates and some even fun sneak peaks. So give us a follow and let's engage even more closely there. And to all those who provided their feedback and input, thank you so much. It truly, truly shaped the direction of a podcast, and I would love to hear from any of the new folks who joined us today. Don't hesitate to reach out with any thoughts, ideas or even suggestions for future guests. Drop us an email at hello at my thick accentcom. Now let's get back to the episode.

Pratik:

I went upstairs and my brother-in-law basically opened the door and everyone was crying and I was like what's up, what is wrong? And my brother-in-law is like it's your dad and I'm like what happened? And he's like you need to talk to your mom first. So I basically called my mom and I was like what happened? And she was continuously crying and then I think someone else from my home back in India spoke to me and it basically shattered me into tears. It was my dad was no more, and that was such a big shock because it was exactly one month since I left and when I left he was in good health. My dad had always had some sort of heart and cholesterol issues, but at the end of the day, he was taking all the medications. He was not really old, he was, I think, 67 when he passed away and it was a huge shock to not just to me but to the entire family. And so, yeah, we basically were all in a shock. My mom was there alone, Our entire close family, except for my mom, everyone was here in Canada. My sister had actually moved just one week before this, and so all of us were in Dyer Street.

Pratik:

We basically just took the flight back to India in like I think four hours. We just went to the airport. We are like you know, we need the tickets right now and we got I think it was Air Canada or some some tickets, lufthansa or Air Canada, and we basically flew to Paris, flew from Paris to Bangalore, and then, at that point of time also, it was raining in Bangalore. It was raining so bad. Our flight was actually from Paris to Mumbai, but because it was raining heavily in Mumbai, we had to reroute to Bangalore and then from Bangalore we waited there for like six, seven hours and then we again took a flight back to Mumbai, I think because of that, a certain situation anyways, a journey seems longer than than it actually is, and, on top of that, these weather conditions added to that.

Gurasis:

I'm extremely sorry for your loss, pratik, but I but I really wanted to, you know share with us that. How did you cope up with that emotionally and did it change your perspective or your decision of of moving to Canada?

Pratik:

Yeah, I think at least for the first few months I was, I was totally broken. I was like you know, I should have been there with my father, right, whether it was in India, or whether the decision could have been bringing him with me, because he always had a visa to Canada. He had been here a couple of times before then. So there was always that dilemma in my mind whether you know this could have been avoided in some way because my mom was alone with him. After a while you obviously move on and you see the bright side of things, where you know he did not have to sort of suffer at all. He was. He was actually watching a cricket match it was India versus England and he was on his bed watching TV and that's that's how he went away.

Pratik:

So it was difficult at the start. It was very difficult, for for for some time I was like you know what? Maybe I should just go back there. You know there is in Canada is great and everything is amazing, but but there is a life back in India which I've lived and I don't know if that is the right choice. Right, even till date there are. There are there are moments when when you think whether it is the right choice or not, whether it was the right choice back then four years ago, and if it is the right choice right now. So there was definitely that dilemma in my mind for a long time.

Gurasis:

So how long did you stay there when you went back?

Pratik:

Yeah, so I was there for a month. We basically had to wrap up everything, obviously, all the rituals and everything. I had to do a lot of those things. My sister, both my sisters, actually came with me. My eldest sister, rina, she came back out for a couple of days because she had kids to take care of, and my other sister was basically with me. My mom, my sister and I wrapped up everything in India. We were actually renting out a place, so we wrapped up everything, sold our furniture, gave some away, and then we decided that you know, mom has to come with us now, like we were alone at this moment. And so, yeah, in 30 days we basically did all of that, rituals and everything that, everything else that we needed to do, and we flew back here.

Gurasis:

My, my mom came with me and, yeah, so how did you, pratik, find strength to continue pursuing your goals, continue your journey in Canada despite such a significant personal setback? What did you do differently then?

Pratik:

Yeah, the idea was at that point out of time especially. The idea was to try and concentrate on the next steps. Right, there was definitely a lot of distraction in the mind, but we knew we had a job in hand. We knew we had a job in hand which had to be done. We had to basically figure out a way to start our career in.

Pratik:

Canada because we'd already left our lives back in India. Right, going back to India was not going to give us the life that we had left there. That life was already gone for us. And obviously, when you are, when you are in India and you, you are living a good life, you have a good job. My wife and I both and my wife and I both had amazing jobs in India, jobs that we were happy about.

Pratik:

We had creative satisfaction, jobs satisfaction money to be able to stay in Bombay and live that life. But when you're when you've decided to give that up, there are definitely some compromises that you have to make and you need to be strong. So that is exactly what we continue to do. We concentrated on our applications, we spoke, we networked, we met a lot of people and just continuing the good work that we wanted to do here after coming to Canada.

Gurasis:

Well, more power to you and your family to be able to find strength and such an unfortunate situation, and I I'm glad to hear that you kind of found the strength in that and you found that you knew that. Okay, the best thing you can do in that particular situation is to move on rather than dwelling in that thoughts, because obviously nobody can replace the person or the thought in that in that particular moment. But the best you can do in that situation is just move on.

Pratik:

Yeah, 100% and and for especially for that first couple of months are my, my, my sister and my brother-in-law were great support Having a niece and nephew who were in that age where you know they didn't understand what was happening right.

Gurasis:

The naivete they had yeah.

Pratik:

So they did not actually behave in a different way and so that that actually kept us going for a long time. Where you know you, you can't be sad, you can't be crying in front of your two year old nephew who basically doesn't know what is happening. So that really brought smiles on our face when we we could have been completely different or completely shattered.

Gurasis:

But then, after that, you also switched your careers. You don't only switch your countries, you also shifted your careers. You moved from marketing to tech Chalas. Then why did you decide to do that? And if any of our listeners is planning to change careers as well, what should be there on their checklist?

Pratik:

Yeah, yeah, definitely Just keeps on getting better, right, yeah, yeah. So you know, after, after coming here and I started applying for a lot of marketing roles, there were a lot of good interviews that I had second level, third level interviews, and I I couldn't really land a good job. I did get one marketing base job for a bit. It was completely different from what I was doing before and that was sort of a shock to me because I was expected to bring in a lot of business and a lot of new business, which was going to be difficult for me, especially in those first couple of months, because one the culture is completely different. I had no network here in Canada and so it was becoming difficult, right, and I always wanted to pursue or at least give it a shot moving into tech.

Pratik:

My role in India in marketing had always been around account management or client servicing, so I knew that was one of my skills and expertise that I could basically bring from marketing to tech. So I got a good break. My my brother-in-law basically had had a friend who was working in this company and he wanted to hire someone for about four months. It was a contract role for four months where he had some work to be done and he wanted to get it done quickly. So it was, like you know, this is a great opportunity and I wanted to give it a shot. I started working there first January I think 6th January and then, I think, my contract was till May. So I did not know whether I'll be able to continue in that role. But here I am. I've been with the same company for three and a half years and it's been fantastic.

Pratik:

So something that I've learned throughout my professional career is you know, when you are into a new role or when you are into a new industry, the one thing that you need to do is start learning it as much as possible.

Pratik:

Don't just learn about your role, but also learn about what is your counterparts role or what is your boss's role, what is your team members role. So when I was in events right, I was into client servicing, but I would always be on the ground and also learn what the operation guy is doing, right. Clearly, when I started working with form assembly, which is, you know, a big sort of a data collection platform and a market leader in the Salesforce ecosystem, I not just learned about form assembly, but also started learning about Salesforce. That is what basically gave me the skills and the lingo to talk about it and to gain that trust in people that I was working with, that I know about this ecosystem and that is exactly what I would recommend to anyone who's looking to make a change like learn about the ecosystem, learn about what roles there are, what kind of skills you need to become a part of that ecosystem and really lead that ecosystem in some ways, would you also say, to have a plan before making that shift?

Pratik:

Yeah yeah 100%. I think especially especially here right A plan is very important Back in India.

Pratik:

A lot of your opportunities, a lot of your roles that you get is by reference, is by people you know. It's very easy to switch roles in India and get a new job in India compared to her right, Because unless and until you have a specific plan and you've shown already that you are 100% committed to this plan, it is very difficult for you to actually be able to implement that plan. So, yeah, do your certifications in that ecosystem plan around and then venture into it, Go all in. It's always tough but at the same time, if you take the challenge in a good way, then you'll get there somewhere.

Gurasis:

And throughout the transition, was there something that you would have done differently, or maybe like a mistake that people can learn from?

Pratik:

There are always. When you look at things retrospectively, there are always things that you could have done a little bit differently. Right, it's difficult for me to point out a specific thing, but one thing that I would definitely sort of point out is when I started learning, I started spending a lot of money on that learning. Maybe that is something that I could have done differently, whereas I would have used the free resources and online courses rather than spending money on things. So yeah, even for our viewers, if you want to become a part of the ecosystem, you don't really have to spend a lot of money to become a part of the ecosystem. You can just become a part of the ecosystem by learning more about it, posting about it, networking about it, and that's exactly what is needed.

Gurasis:

Where did you exactly send the money? I'm just curious to know where did you spend it.

Pratik:

Yeah, so I basically took a lot of Udemy courses and a lot of, so obviously it was I did not like waste any money. I took courses and I spent money on knowledge and learning, but now that I think about it, maybe I did not even need to do that.

Gurasis:

Okay, okay. So let's just talk about the topic which is not as commonly talked about as it should be, which is the scams, obviously the scams which I mentioned in my introduction as well, and you unfortunately fell into one of those and you lost your very first paycheck. Tell us, tell our listeners about that or, more specifically, I should say, educate our listeners about that.

Pratik:

Yeah, 100%. This is definitely the most embarrassing part of today's podcast, in my opinion. So, yeah, I mean I had no clue this was happening, right, and after it actually happened, everyone was like how did you not get this? This is so common here. And so when I got my first sort of job at Seagull Entertainment, which was the marketing agency where I was working here in Canada and I was actually only there for about a month I had this email in the morning at around nine o'clock and I basically saw the email. It was from my CEO, the CEO that I had just met Friday evening for a party.

Pratik:

And this is Monday morning 9am and I got this email which says hey, prithik, I wanted to quickly ask you for a favor. Can you go to a nearby Apple store and get me some gift cards? I've actually come to some clients office and I need to distribute these for our clients and, being in events, this is very common, right I've sent, not really gift cards, but gift hampers, gift boxes and things like that back in India to our clients and I've sent them to my boss to send it to clients. So it looked very natural and very real.

Pratik:

And this CEO of ours I just met her. On Friday she was actually in Vancouver. She lives in Vancouver, but she had come to Toronto for an event and we were here together and she actually told me that next week I'm going to go meet some clients and try and get some more business for you. So it all collated together and it looked like sure Kelly needs me. She asked me for help and especially when you are new to our organization, you want to help as much as possible, right, create that app or do basically feel that. Okay, you can be trusted with such things.

Gurasis:

And I was like sure.

Pratik:

I was already a little bit late for work and so I just read that email. I got up quickly, changed, went to Eaton Center it's very close by from my place and I basically grabbed five Apple gift cards from the Apple store, went back to a V workspace where I used to work from and we sent out those five gift cards and after a little bit of time I got another email which said the same thing and I was like, hey, maybe she needs five more, right? And I kept on doing that for almost three, four more times and at the end of the day around, I think around five o'clock, I had spent around $3,000. It was basically withdrawing cash from my bank and then going and buying Apple cards and my bank told me once and now that you think about it, the words and the meaning actually comes to you, but at that point of time I had no idea about it my bank actually told me once I hope you are not giving this money to someone and you are not in an emergency.

Pratik:

I was like no, no, no, this is not an emergency. I'm not giving money to anyone, don't worry about it. Yeah, I kept on doing that. So $3,000. Down the road I got an email, or actually I got a call from my CEO's assistant and she had something to talk to me about and we spoke about it and I was like Efrat, this is all good, but tell me one thing the $3,000 worth of gift cards that Kelly has asked me to basically send her, how do I get reimbursed for it? And she's like what are you talking about? Kelly would never do something like this. If she wanted something, she would ask me. Why would she ask you? And I'm like, yeah, that makes sense.

Pratik:

And then, yeah, she basically asked me to send all of the emails and she checked the emails the name and everything was correct, but the email domain was different and there were a couple of mistakes and so, yeah, I basically became a victim of scams.

Gurasis:

Yeah.

Pratik:

It was very depressing. My first salary basically went away completely and it literally shattered us. How can this happen? This is the first world country like scams here, like in India, it's expected, but even in. Canada. I was like okay.

Gurasis:

Well, right now we are giggling about it and laughing about it, but I'm sure in that moment you would be shattered that what just happened. You would even be mum for some time that, oh my God, how did I just fall into this? And this thing really boils my blood because I have had situations I've spoken to people who, especially the international students who are very new to the country, in their second week, third week in the country, and they have lost everything you know, like how every student has to pay from coming from India, have to pay the GIC amount, the $10,000 amount, and literally the half of the money from theirs, from their bank, is gone just because of these scams. Because they thought maybe their visa is in trouble or maybe their status in Canada is in trouble. And I have my personal story as well that I think I just came back from India. I visited my family maybe after, like just at the end of my program visited.

Gurasis:

I came back it was January, I believe 2019, I believe so and I came back and I hadn't even like properly, you know, got over my jet lag. I just came back and I got this call and they said we have some illegal activity on your send number. Send this number to get connected to an officer who's going to help you and tell you exactly how you can get out of it. And I got into that. I spoke to the person and he was very adamant. He was working very pressure. My name is this. This is my badge number. You have to note this down. And I was like, okay, so I seem serious. And then he said, okay, now read your send number to me. And I was like hold on, what do you mean? Read my send number to you. If there's something wrong on the send number, you would know what is my send number Right. And he said no, no, no, I need to confirm that it's the correct send number. I said why don't you read it to me and I'll confirm it to you.

Gurasis:

So we went, we had this banter for like few seconds and he said, oh, the police is going to come. And I said let them come, I'll talk to them, let them come. And immediately after that I got ready and I had a service currently about my place. I just ran to that place and I told them the whole situation and they said, no, no, no, no, such thing happens. We will never, ever call you and this is not the correct thing. So I asked them why don't you call them or do something with them? And they were like we tried, but they have multiple numbers and we are not able to really locate them. So I was like imagine students. They told me that students come to them with their bank accounts empty and that completely, completely, like maybe it made me so sad about that just because they are naive in their situation.

Gurasis:

Sometimes you come after 18, after just after the 12th grade. Right, we're just 18 or 19. So well, this is the purpose of discussing it today. I hope, if any of our listeners, if you're listening, to wait. Please pass this on to people. Educate people. That's the only thing we can do for now.

Pratik:

Yeah, definitely. And after this actually happened, for the first couple of days I was completely shell shocked and I was like this is so embarrassing, Right, how can I even talk to like my friends about it? It was literally stupid on my side, Like anyone else would have you know.

Gurasis:

I think anybody would have fallen into that. I think, especially the situation like I don't know. How is it even possible that the person you just went on a lunch or dinner with, like on Friday the same person has sent you an email and so it felt it feels like maybe there was somebody who knew about the conversations you had. It felt like that I don't know and from a third point perspective, third person perspective, it seems like that maybe the person knew you, that you had this competition with Kelly.

Pratik:

Yeah, yeah, definitely. It definitely looks like a like a social engineered sort of an attack rather than like a cyber attack. Right, yeah, and but after I started speaking about it with my friends, like a lot of people actually had the same story, a lot of people gave into it, a lot of people fought it like you did, but, but you know, I think awareness is definitely important.

Gurasis:

Okay, but these are before we get into the final segment. I want to talk briefly about you know where you were telling me that many of your friends do ask you some commonly asked questions like where did you move, what are the key verticals, what is Canada good and everything. So I want to ask you like three questions which I feel like which might answer and you can share with your friends. Tell us that. So this question was actually asked to me like few weeks ago and I think I asked you the same question. The question is is it worth coming to Canada in 2023?

Pratik:

Yeah, I think that's a great question and a question that I do get a lot as well. I think it completely depends, right. I think the the choice of moving to a new country or the choice of giving up your life back in whatever country you are in, and taking that leap of faith is very subjective, right, in my opinion. I think if, if you are someone who's ready to struggle, if you are someone who's ready to explore and you don't have anything to lose, then sure, yeah, maybe, maybe Canada is a good option in 2023. Overall, my experience from Canada was a little bit more troublesome, I would say, because of all the experience that we spoke about and the expectation.

Pratik:

But but again, as I said, right, it's very subjective. Canada is a beautiful country, but if you are enjoying your life in India, it is not going to be the same here. You are going to miss family. The culture is very different on days where your family is enjoying together and celebrating Diwali. You are probably going to be here working. Think about those things. If those things are important to you, then maybe not. But if, if you want to make a better career, you want to have a good standard of living and and at the same time you you want to freeze during winter, then sure Canada is probably a good choice.

Pratik:

I think a lot of people don't consider this and and you know, we don't really realize this when, when we are in India is is the weather conditions.

Pratik:

Yeah the weather is poles apart. It's literally poles apart. When, when people used to tell me that you know, Canada or Toronto goes minus 20 in winters, I used to say it doesn't really matter, right, you are at your home, it is not a big deal. But then you don't realize that you are not at home. We're basically logged in your home because you cannot go out. So yeah, if you go out you have to wear three layers of jacket, and once you wear those three layers of jacket, you can't really walk.

Pratik:

So, it's, it's, it's these small things which you know we are blessed in India to have, which we don't really care about, and you actually start realizing them once, once you are here, and the second question is what is it something about the culture that shock you a lot?

Pratik:

Yeah, I think, with regards to culture, like one of the biggest shocks was the work life. Right, a lot of people here strictly work like nine to five and it is nine to five, yeah, especially during summer, if you know it's a beautiful day people will stop working at 3,330. They'll go out, they'll enjoy, they'll spend a lot of time with their family. It's very different from India, right?

Pratik:

I come from a background in a, in a vertical, where working 12 hours a day was very normal. On a good day, you would work 11, 12 hours a day. On a bad day, where you have an event or you have some sort of setup or work going on, you would work 16 hours a day, which is completely different. Here. People value their time a lot, a lot. If, if, if they, if they've come at nine, they want to leave at five, they will leave at five no matter what. So I think, which is it's a fantastic thing, right, it's a great thing, and the culture is different, but at the same time, there are a lot of positives, a lot of positives here as well?

Gurasis:

Yeah, 100%. And the third is what is something you miss the most about your home country?

Pratik:

The most, I would say I miss the weather the most the weather is definitely something, especially from.

Pratik:

You know, october till till March, canada is very cold. Obviously, not being born and brought up here, we are not used to that cold, right, for Canadians who are born here or for people who've lived here for for longer than 10, 20, 15 years, it's kind of become habitual for them. But for someone like us who recently immigrated, the weather plays plays a big role and the ability to have that freedom of going out at whatever time of the day without looking at your weather app is it's a big virtue, right? You have to give it away when you come here.

Gurasis:

Yeah, okay. Is there anything else you want to add for your friends and family?

Pratik:

No, I think that those are actually great three questions. Something that comes to mind when you know you talk about Canadian experience and is basically Canadian experience, right, like a lot of people ask me what is? Canadian experience.

Gurasis:

And.

Pratik:

I think it's natural for a country to demand experience in their culture, experience in their professional ecosystem, because the kind of work that we do in India is very different from the kind of work that happens here in Canada. Even if it is the same vertical, the process is completely different. The way of speaking with people is different, the way of taking up rules is different. It's very different. So if you are moving to Canada and you're thinking you have 10 years of experience in India which is going to count here, that might not hold true for every one of you.

Gurasis:

Yeah, that's true, 100%. And if any of our listeners would like to connect with Pratik, where they can connect with you.

Pratik:

Yeah, they can always reach out to me via LinkedIn and my email. My email is Pratikpon619 at gmailcom619. For those of you who are wondering is for Ray Mysterio, but you can always reach out to me on LinkedIn as well. Its name is Pratik PON. It's upon its belt as BAUN. Okay.

Gurasis:

Okay, so links to contact Pratik can be found in the show notes. Okay so, pratik, now we are the final segment of the podcast. I call it beneath the accent. I'm going to ask you a couple of questions. You can answer them in one word, or a sentence, or house, or whatever you feel like. The idea is just to know more about you, so ready.

Pratik:

Yeah.

Gurasis:

So I do know that you listen to the podcast, so I have changed the questions of this segment a little bit Just to make it a little bit more difficult for you. So the first question, the classic questions what is one advice would you give to Pratik, who is in the initial months of landing in Canada?

Pratik:

One advice I would say network with people, go out a lot and just talk to people.

Gurasis:

Yeah. Next is if your life was a movie, what would be its title? That's a very difficult question.

Pratik:

Let me think about it Sure.

Gurasis:

I feel like it can be something around the world sports because that has been a major part of your life, right.

Pratik:

Yeah, yeah, that's, that's. That's what I was thinking, and I think when, when you think about sports, right, something that I've, you know I've. I'm someone who takes challenges positively and sort of overcomes those challenges, so I wanted it to be somewhere around challenge or like competition. But I'm short of words right now, especially thinking, thinking it's going to be a movie about me.

Gurasis:

Okay. So if you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Pratik:

To read people's minds. Spider-man has a lot of good powers, batman has a lot of good powers, but I think one of the biggest words you, a person, can have is basically able to read the people's mind and knowing what the person is thinking and understanding. I think that would be, that would be a great superpower, okay.

Gurasis:

So now imagine that you are hosting a dinner party and you can invite three historical figures or just any famous celebrities. Who would those three be?

Pratik:

Yeah, great question. I think I actually recently just answered this similar question to one person. I recently watched openheimer, so I think my first choice is going to be Robert J Oppenheimer. Interesting character, fantastic movie by Christopher Nolan. So that's going to be my first choice. I want to definitely talk to him about what his thoughts were at that point of time, because I think the movie touched a lot on what happened, but not actually what happened in Robert's mind at that point of time. So that is something interesting for me.

Pratik:

The other person. The next person would probably be a sports personality, so maybe we're at Coley right now. I've met with that once, but I did not have a very good opportunity to talk to him and ask him a lot of questions. But I definitely want to meet him, spend time with him, talk to him about his focus and his fitness mantra, because I think he's doing fantastic right now. And the third person would probably be a DJ Maybe Martin Garrix, david Gettar because at the end of the day.

Pratik:

If it's a party, you want to have fun, right? You don't want to be in a room with Virat, Coley and Oppenheimer and not have fun, so definitely would invite a DJ or a great singer Great great answer.

Gurasis:

Okay, if you could instantly become an expert in any field unrelated to your current expertise, what would it be?

Pratik:

Great question. So marketing is my current expertise, I would say, but I don't really work in marketing right now, so I would go for marketing actually, or maybe even, to make it very precise, consumer behavior. That is definitely a subject that is that's sort of interesting for me how consumers act, how consumers behave, what is the psychology of consumers when they do anything right, whether it is, you know, listening to this podcast or buying a car. That is definitely something that I would love to be an expert at.

Gurasis:

Well, that would not be less than a superpower. I would say yeah 100%. What's the most interesting or unusual thing on your bucket list that you might have not shared with anybody?

Pratik:

I'm usually a very expressive person, right, so I share, like most of the things that I feel I like and I want to do. Most of my family, my friends, friends circle basically knows about it, right, at least the close ones. I want to. One thing that probably a lot of the listeners might not know, or you might know not know, is I want to pursue MBA. I haven't done my MBA yet. I think probably now is not the right time, but it is definitely something that I wanna do very soon, probably in marketing or, you know, as I said before, consumer behavior. Yeah, that is definitely something. The other thing that a lot of people might not know about me is I actually had six fingers when I was born, really, yeah, so I had one more finger here.

Pratik:

So, my Twinkie or Twinny, whatever you call it. I had an extra one when I was born. My relatives used to say I'm a reincarnation of my uncle who had just passed away, and he also had six fingers.

Gurasis:

Okay, very interesting. If you were given a chance to time travel, where and when would you go and what would you do?

Pratik:

I would probably go around the independence time, maybe around 1947, somewhere around that time. Okay, basically, help my grandfather in his battle to get freedom, not against freedom, but a battle to get independence and freedom for India.

Gurasis:

Any recommendations for good Gujarati food in Toronto? That's a great question.

Pratik:

My mom, my wife, my family makes fantastic Gujarati food. Whenever we go out, we don't really go out for Gujarati food as such, we go more for Indian food or other cuisines.

Gurasis:

Other cuisines okay.

Pratik:

One place that we love having Indian food from is Banjara. It's an amazing place. We order from there a lot. The other couple of places that we love going to, especially when it comes to Indian, is we go to Brares a lot as well. Okay, definitely my top two picks, but usually when we go there it's more North Indian rather than Gujarati food. Okay.

Gurasis:

And is there any hobby or a skill that you have always wanted to learn but haven't had the chance to yet?

Pratik:

Yes, definitely, I'm glad you asked that. So I've been trying to learn how to swim. Okay, I, as I said before, right, gujarati is a dry state, right, not just for alcohol, but also for water. So growing up, I never had an opportunity to get access to a swimming pool. Okay, I'd never learned the life skill of swimming. After coming here to Canada, I realized everything is lakes, lakes, lakes, right. So if you want to stay here and if you want to basically be able to do everything that people do in summers, then you want to know how to swim so yeah, I'm learning it right now actually I'm taking classes for swimming.

Pratik:

But yeah, hopefully I learn it soon.

Gurasis:

So describe Canada in one word or a sentence.

Pratik:

I would say it's a breeding ground for people who love challenges.

Gurasis:

Interesting! So, finally, if you could leave me with one piece of advice, what would it be?

Pratik:

My one piece of advice for you would be to basically keep on continue doing what you are doing with this My Thick Accent podcast. I think you are doing a great job of not only talking to people and learning about their experiences, but also giving away for a lot of people who are thinking about Canada as their next destination, a lot of knowledge that they might get from this podcast. Right, this is a beautiful initiative, an initiative which will probably touch on lives that you and I can't even imagine about. So continue doing this and, yeah, I wish you good luck and I'm glad that you are doing this for all of us.

Gurasis:

Thank you. Thank you for your kind words, Pratik, and thank you for being on the podcast, sharing your journey and adding value to my listeners. Thank you 100%.

Pratik:

I'm glad I did this and I really appreciate your time as well. Thank you so much.

Gurasis:

Hey listener, thank you for making it to the end. I highly, highly appreciate you listening to the podcast. Subscribe to the podcast if you haven't as yet, and please share with your friends or anybody you think would like it. And, like I always say, we encourage you to follow our heart but also ask. On Instagram, the handle is @MyThickAccent . You can also leave us a review or write to us at Hello@mythickaccent. com. So stay tuned and let's continue knowing each other beneath the accent.

Life and Challenges of an Immigrant
Career Journey and Behind the Scenes
Airport Troubles and Working with Celebrities
Going Back a Month After Landing in Canada
Falling Victim to Scams
To Move or Not To Move to Canada
Beneath the Accent