Husband: Ruzaan Choksey
Working at:Hastings Racecourse /Protec Dental Laboratories
Designation: Professional Race Horse Jockey/ Lab Technician
Working at:Royal Bank of Canada
Ruzaan Choksey visited Vancouver for the first time in 2007 on a work permit. The following year, his wife Mehernaz and son Kyros came with him on a work permit for one year. The process continued – in 2009, they came back to Canada on a three year work permit. “After a lot of back and forth, we finally got our permanent resident status in February 2015,” shares Mehernaz.
Finding an affordable house was one of the problems the family faced. Besides that, weather was a big challenge, especially for Ruzaan as his job as a jockey involved being outdoors. “It is very hard on your body to be in the cold at 5 am every morning,” explains Mehernaz. Yet, it did not take them long to settle down in the city, she points out. “We found like-minded people around us and some from the same city back home as us. Weather-wise, the guys have adjusted but I still struggle with it.”
Back in India, Ruzaan was amongst the top jocks and rode some of the best horses for business tycoon Dr. Vijay Mallya for over 15 years. “Horses are Ruzaan’s world since he was 13, and he has always ridden them,” says Mehernaz of her husband, “Ruzaan’s passion for racing rubbed off on me as well and I was very involved with the racing.” Mehernaz worked for the airline Jet Airways as cabin crew.
While Ruzaan was on work permits, it did take time for Mehernaz to find a job in Vancouver. The first year, she couldn’t work as she came on accompanying visa. The following year she applied for an open work permit hoping to find a small job anywhere. “Initially it was very hard but persistence always pays off,” she adds.
Ask them how their overall journey in Canada has been so far, and the Choksey family states it in one word: Interesting.
Biggest obstacle faced so far in Canada:
After being on top of your game and then coming to a new land to start from scratch itself is a big challenge. To add to that, the weather conditions, facilities, and work environment is all different. It does take time to get used to it all.
For our son, we still face challenges finding families with kids the same age and similar thinking as ours, but we are hopeful that in the course of his journey he will develop his own relationships, just as we have here in the last eight years.
What do you like and dislike most about this country?
Like:Beautiful long summer days and equal opportunity for all. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, you are treated with respect.
Dislike: Wish we had better race tracks and quality of racing here like we do in India, USA, UK or Dubai.
Advice for immigrants:
Come to Canada with an open mind and with the attitude that I will do ANYTHING! Who you were will carry little weight here. If you are willing to start from scratch with no airs about it, it helps. Ego will not get you anywhere in this world.
Memories of your homeland:
Family, beautiful sunshine, and world class racing.