“I’m the program coordinator at Eco-Equitable. I have very close relationships with the people who participate in our programs. So, if there’s struggling in their personal lives, I’m usually their main point of contact. So, that could be emotionally draining but it’s also super rewarding and I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. I had a participant who was fantastic and incredibly motivated. She went through a family issue, so she was away. Then she returned for a week and then she sort of disappeared. I had tried contacting her and I couldn’t get a hold of her. So, I kept trying once a week to get hold of her, and finally after a moth I did. She came in and told me that she had a family breakdown, she had an emotional breakdown – she had been in recovery for a couple of years but then she relapsed. That was incredibly sad to hear, but I assured her that I can always be her contact if she ever needed help with anything. So, the plan is for her to come back for next session and continue where she left off. I’m invested in these people’s lives and I truly care about what they’re going through. And that’s what I love about my job. Working here taught me that people are good. I have many issues with the way that our society deals with people who are living in poverty. I think, we stand in judgment of them so often. And standing in judgment of someone who’s living in poverty is potentially the worst thing that we can do for them. So, I think that if we can all just open our minds a little bit and see that people who are living in poverty don’t want to live in such conditions. They want to work and work hard. And sometimes they just need a little bit of support to be able to navigate the system. Because the system isn’t easy to navigate, and once you’re in the system it’s also hard to get out of it. But the people that I meet and work with every day are the most dedicated, motivated, and hardworking people that I know. They want a chance and they just need someone to give them a chance.”


"There are 4 of us that own this place equally. And all four of us work really hard. So, I have no idea how someone would do it by themselves. It would really be hard to do it solo. One of the main things is just to have a purpose. Like, make sure that there is a reason that people wanna come to your store or come to whatever you are doing. Instead of just being a skateboard store, you need to have an idea for people to come in. Independence is one thing that inspires me in what I do. Like, owning your own business is extremely independent. No one to talk to, no one to make money for, you're only doing it for yourself. In my case, I'm doing it for 3 others, and they're equally doing it for me. It's always a learning process. Respect is another big one- treat people how you want to be treated. If you're an asshole, people should treat you like one. It's true - it's that simple. Even in all situations - at work, in friendship, with family, in everything. No one is above it." HUMANS OF OTTAWA MORE STORIES
“Honestly, I think my short-term goal is to be happy, which I’m not right now. But I will be; in the short term and long term too. Well, I’m generally happy despite today. I’m laid back; I don’t take myself too seriously – at least I think I don’t. I’m a bit of an introvert lately, but people never actually believe me. Right now, I’m just preparing for a hearing. I can’t talk about the hearing itself, but it’s to see if my client can be released now or not. I’m a criminal defence lawyer. There’s a lot of people in the criminal justice system who are mentally ill. So, I’m hoping that we can do something to improve the way the mentally ill are treated in the system. A lot of people are going to jail and really what they need is to be in some sort of institution, or they just need better mental health care, as opposed to being thrown in jail - when they’re not being treated well. Recently, the Ford government cut a whole bunch of funding of legal aid in Ontario that has a huge impact on alleged criminals. A lot of them are people who are just poor, mentally ill, and indigenous. So, I think having fewer mentally ill people in jail – that’s something that I would hope to in some ways influence.” HUMANS OF OTTAWA MORE STORIES
“I always have questions, questions about the future; where should I work, where do I want to go, what can I do to help people in any way. It’s not just about helping but to try to put a smile on people’s face – just with the little things. So, I’m trying and keep on questioning. But I think, the more you question things, the more you start seeing the dark side of it. You know, we don’t know much. I think we act without thinking, and instead of being proactive, we’re always reacting to our environment with everything changing and evolving. At the same time, we’re amazing just because of what we have been able to create. But what’s sad is that we always think that we’re better than others. I think we should just be more thankful that we’re here. In general, or at least for myself, I tend to react more than being proactive. But I think, once you start taking a step backward, you’ll realize there are so many options that you could’ve listened to or choose.” HUMANS OF OTTAWAMORE STORIES
“I was experimenting with the drugs since I was little and that’s probably what got me in trouble in the first place. I started meeting the wrong people, marks went down, and I quit school. So, finally, It caught up with me. I ended up getting shock treatment sixty-three times. My brain is damaged. I didn’t forget that smoking is bad, but I just forgot that my life was worthwhile. That’s probably why I smoke – probably ‘cause I don’t have much to live for. I’ve been under psychiatric under since I was 22 because I had a nervous breakdown. I was on LSD with this guy, and he told me that I was the devil. We had a couple of kids together and split up in 1989. I have a lot of psychological problems. I’m still seeing the psychiatric. But I do enjoy watching people, partaking in social events, and also try to advise people against things that had gone wrong in my life – although I feel like a bit of a hypocrite. I still feel a little wiser than most these days. I still have my children, and they have all quit drinking and all that. They’re living away from me now, but they’re living a healthy lifestyle. I’m not the smartest cookie in the world. I’m not in a good vain right now, but I’m happy to be alive, and I see people learning every day. I hope that people have more incentive in life than I see it. I also just don’t think that my life is completely useless. That’s why I just take it one day at a time and keep a smile on my face – without drugs. I guess, mental health is more important than your average commitment to other things.” HUMANS OF OTTAWAMORE STORIES
“My current struggle is the ability to remember the kindness of different people when I’m in an altercation with them or when I see them doing something negative. For example, today at work, my chef, she went and talked to the garbage man. She asked him, ‘oh, can you please get the garbage in the corner?’ And he made a big fuss. He was treating her very rudely – the garbage man was being rude. So, I had this initial instinct – 'oh, this guy is a dick,' you know. The thing is, my mind just grasps onto the idea that this man is a dick, but doesn’t see him in context. In context, this man might be a very lovely father, this man is the reason why our restaurant stays so clean, this man might be someone’s best friend, he might be consoling someone - who knows what kind of struggles he’s going through? But the problem is the mind just grabs onto the immediate experience – ‘oh, he’s a dick – a hundred percent dick.' Whereas in reality, if you use your investigative imagination, you can come up with very many situations and see that ‘oh, he could be a very nice gentleman, or he could be having a very bad day.' So, my struggle is counteracting my initial perceptions of others– which is also very inspired by Buddhist philosophy.” HUMANS OF OTTAWAMORE STORIES
“I was married to a girl in India. It was great. Unfortunately, I had to walk away from that because I was not happy with her. The day I marry her, she was alright. After that, I was not happy for many reasons. This was 20 years ago. I’m 50 years old now. I try to meet people, but nobody came across. My ex was great. We had a lot of money and everything, but I was not happy. So, that was my first and last relationship. I’ve been single for 20 years. After that, I moved here, and I’m thankful for becoming a Canadian citizen. Here, people have a lot of rights. Also, I’ve never seen racism here. I would say people are ignorant – they simply don’t know. People may say that there is racism, but I see it as a cultural gap.” HUMANS OF OTTAWAMORE STORIES
Today in microfashion...
“I am drinking a lactose-free vanilla latte. I’m lactose intolerant. The minute I have dairy products, my body does not like that at all. So, I have to drink all my coffees lactose-free. I actually drink all my coffee black. I love drinking black coffee with no sugar and no cream - just a good old black coffee that’s it. If I’m feeling a little be special, I’ll add little honey but I never get lattes, never get mochas or anything. So, today I was like, I don’t know, we’re feeling a little fun, try something new. I come here every single day. I was thinking, I’m gonna try out every single coffee that they offer here until I find my favourite and that’ll be my go-to coffee when I come here.”
“I used to be in the army. Went to Afghanistan, but that’s another story. Right now, I’m taking a course to become a fashion designer. I want to design clothes for men because men don’t have nice clothing most of the time, they always wear the same things. You know, everything is possible when you have the will to learn. You can learn and do anything you want in life. For example, I’m a biker – I ride a motorcycle and I love it. I have a Harley-Davidson. It’s a 1585 CC. I love bikes. I’ve always wanted a bike since I was a child. With patience, you can get everything you want. If you work for it, you’ll get it. You always have to work for it. And don’t push your dreams – you can put your dreams aside but come back to them. It was always my dream to own a Harley-Davidson bike since I was a child, but things happened in life. I got married, I had kids, and when the kid left I was like – this is the time. I started late, but you know, you have priorities in life. My husband has been riding a bike for 45years. I got tired of sitting in the back all the time and I said, ‘I want my own bike’. Harley-Davidson’s are pretty fast, and my pipes are really loud – one of those. We say, ‘pipes save lives’ – It’s true. When you drive, if you don’t hear a bike coming, it’s easy to hit it. But when can you hear it, even if you don’t see it yet or it’s in your blind spot you will be cautious.”
"I vape because I used to smoke. Smoke a pack a day – that's a lot. I'd say this may be my fifth-time vaping today. I'm here for – I'm rehearsing for the Beethoven festival – it's an orchestra. Music drives me. I've been playing for 35years. Playing in an orchestra, it's a lot of pressure, but it's also a lot of joy. And I'd say Beethoven 9 - Symphony is my favourite piece. It's an ode to humanity."
“I remember my father beating my mother. They had marital issues. My father had another wife. And that hurt me so much. I remember them beating each other. My brothers and I couldn’t do anything, we were young. They’re still together. Even though they had problems, they remained together. Now, they stopped – they’re old. But I also remember – in the village where I was born, life was hard. We had no electricity, no water, there was nothing. But when I arrived here in Ottawa, it was really a big deal for me. It’s a success for me. To be able to be an international student here is a big deal. When I was a kid, I dreamed of being here one day. I applied at Laval University and they later gave me an admission. Then, I took it to this private organization in my country and they paid for me to come study here. My parents have nothing, they don’t have enough money to pay for my studies here. So, this private organization paid for everything.”
“Studying the field of development is kind of frustrating sometimes. I think everyone comes to the table with such a different idea of what they see to be right and what their morals are. It’s like you come to the table not willing to see anything but your own perspective, and you’re so close-minded. It’s hard. I come from a perspective where both my parents were born and raised in India. So, I think I have a different perspective than someone who’s studying the same program as me but has family that has a been here for generations. And I think sometimes you can kind of clash heads even while trying to make this world a better place. It’s frustrating cause you just don’t feel like there’s any way to make people work together and actually make progress with all these opposing ideas. I’m not – I don’t know, there’s a lot of things that I struggle with or get frustrated with, but I’m not going to dwell on them.”

Share This