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South Asian women breaking barriers: Tarannum Thind

Monica Sethi Darpan, 21 Mar, 2023
  • South Asian women breaking barriers: Tarannum Thind

"To me, being a woman means being tough yet tender, strong-willed yet vulnerable, and powerful yet compassionate. It means being intuitive and able to love, care and nurture only in a way women can. Being a woman means embracing your light and not being afraid to shine."-Tarannum Thind, Host & Producer at Chai with T Podcast.

Born to parents who were passionate about performing arts and theatre, Tarannum’s childhood shaped her for a career in mass communication. She grew up surrounded by her parent’s friends, mostly theatre personalities whose conversations revolved around literature, world drama, and poetry. She loved listening to their stories and, in the process, developed an inherent connection and deep empathy for people from creative backgrounds. During her summer holidays, she would perform on stage for the theatre group started by her father for the neighbourhood children. 

In 1997, Tarannum immigrated to Canada with her family and tried her hand at different study programs. Her dream, however, was to study Broadcast Journalism at BCIT. However, while still on the waitlist in 2003, she auditioned and got selected to host a multicultural show on Channel M in Hindi and Punjabi. It began the professional journey of one of the most sort-after, familiar, and personable South Asian media personalities in Vancouver and beyond.

After hosting and producing numerous shows for TV and radio, and voiceover work for hundreds of commercials, she is ready to release her podcast, Chai with T. This name suggests chai with Tarannum but also alludes to the “Indian masala chai,” often referred to as “chai-tea” in Canada. She believes her podcast could be the bridge between the two worlds, a safe space where people can have the hardest of conversations. “I’ve been preparing for this for the last 20 years. There’s so much bubbling inside me that I want to share with my listeners. I almost want my podcast to be the balm that soothes my listeners and makes them realize that they can get through anything,” she says.

Through her podcast, she wants to shed light on complex topics. For instance, when she was barely 8, her mother had a stroke that paralyzed her left side. It brought Tarannum extremely close to her father. It also made her grow up too soon since she had to take on the role of the nurturer in the family. “We don’t discuss how our childhood traumas and experiences impact us. Often, we don’t want to share our vulnerabilities, but these conversations are important,” emphasizes Tarannum.

Her advice to those wanting to follow her path is to learn from every experience and be 1000 percent ready when the opportunity arises. She also believes nothing can stop you from achieving your goals if you’re willing to work on your craft and give it your all.

Q&A

What does being a woman mean to you?

To me, being a woman means being tough yet tender, strong-willed yet vulnerable, and powerful yet compassionate. It means being intuitive and able to love, care and nurture only in a way women can. Being a woman means embracing your light and not being afraid to shine. 

What has been your most significant achievement?

My most significant professional achievement is my ability to connect with people with empathy and compassion, resulting in some of the most memorable and heart-to-heart conversations on camera. I am interested in the person behind their public persona and have been able to create a safe space where they can share their deepest thoughts and stories without judgment.   

 
 
 
 
 
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What or who inspires you to do better each day?

Storytelling inspires me. Whether it’s the stories of the people, I meet, films, or books, stories in all forms can be so moving. Music that I am constantly surrounded by inspires me—Sufi, ghazals, Bollywood, and old Hindi classics. My walks in nature, surrounded by trees or the ocean, inspire me. I find that nature has a calming effect and can be incredibly inspiring. My children inspire me. Their curiosity, kindness, openness, acceptance and honesty are truly inspiring.  

What is your advice to women who wish to follow your path?

Be authentic. Authenticity comes from knowing who you are and making decisions that align with your values and beliefs. Always listen to the inner voice that’s guiding you forward. Media can be a very competitive and male dominating world. Don’t be afraid to stand tall. If you do everything honestly and are true to yourself, the rest will follow. 

What is your success mantra?

My success mantra is a quote by Maya Angelou, “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” I genuinely believe that no one can dim your light. Your goals, passion, talents, and gifts are within you; no one can take that away. So, block out the noise, avoid negativity, surround yourself with people who uplift you, find your purpose, believe in yourself, and follow your path. 

Photo: A Master Media

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