Anupreet Sandhu Bhamra shares her journey from an award-winning media personality to finding self.
“I have never looked at my life in phases; to me it is a path. I seek an aim, and then I create the path to get to the aim. When I get there, I try and make sense of the journey’s revelations and from that, I seek further, and so my journey continues,” Anupreet replies back as I ask her if she would describe being a blogger and yogini as the best phase of her life. Anupreet Sandhu Bhamra, a name synonymous with OMNI BC’s former identity, Channel M, is an award-winning broadcaster who has lived a career that any aspiring journalist would dream of.
Raised in the city of Jalandhar, Punjab, Bhamra was the first in her family to break into the profession of media. It was while pursuing her undergraduate degree that she started freelancing for The Indian Express, an acclaimed national daily. After completing her undergraduate degree, Bhamra stepped out of the local scene and ventured out into New Delhi, the hub of media industry. She enrolled herself in a postgraduate journalism program and midway, scored herself a full-time position at The Indian Express in Chandigarh. From here this passionate journalist hopped on to another major national daily, The Hindustan Times.
Moving on to the Canadian chapter, Bhamra explains she arrived in Canada in 2002 and within a period of one year, she was offered the position of a reporter at Channel M, now OMNI BC, which soon translated her presence as an anchor for the Punjabi news segment. “That platform helped me connect with the community and understand its role and struggles in shaping Canada,” Bhamra recalls.
“But as a seeker,” she goes on, “I wanted to move on. I sought to report on larger stories and work as an active ground reporter.” Although, moving over from a comfortable and sought-after position on a popular platform seemed questionable to many, for Bhamra it was a path furthering her journalistic explorations. A contract job at the The Vancouver Sun was followed by admission into a journalism Masters program at the UBC, and soon, arrival of their first child.
During the course of her Master’s program, this media personality was recognized with many awards including Global TV’s Broadcaster of the Future Award, and also produced a CBC-commissioned documentary showcasing the journey of a team of medical students travelling to India and assisting a boarding school in the Himalayas to set up a health centre. Straight after graduating, she earned herself a position at the Globe and Mail at their Vancouver office.
“The so-called success still didn’t charm me. One fine day, sitting at my journalist desk, I realized I was so focused on getting to the aim of working with a Canadian national newspaper that I didn’t pay attention to how my immigrant journey had changed my perspectives and me.” This moment, Bhamra describes as her moment of “epiphany.” After serving her contract term, Bhamra quit and used her time to examine her journey’s revelations. Around this time, Bhamra was pregnant with her second child and for the first time in her life, she decided to take a break from her career. “But the world is unfair to mothers by categorizing them as full-time mothers who don’t work, and full-time working women who are mothers, as if one is lesser than the other.”
Suddenly, Bhamra found everyone questioning this newfound space she had created for herself - her choice of raising kids at home, over a booming career. “As our young family enjoyed bonding over cooking fresh food from scratch, going for walks, swim and art sessions, watching cartoons, people literally told to my face that I had destroyed my career.” Amidst the societal analysis, Bhamra engrossed herself in yoga and launched her blog SandhuBhamra.com. Her first blog “I have a womb, breasts and brains. Now give me the freedom to make my choices,” reflects on these experiences and thoughts on her two stay-at-home-years. This award-winning blog touches on various topics including parenting, Canadian identity, gender equality and yoga, which she describes as the biggest gift to herself.
For those looking for more answers about her future - she is pursuing academic research on media at the UBC and continues to voice her ideas in media and as a guest speaker. Recently, one of her research papers was incorporated as a chapter in a book that came out of University of Lincoln, UK.
PHOTO: Adam Rootman