Anubha Mehta led a singular portfolio of the diversity officer at the regional government of Peel from 2005 to 2012.
She has been awarded and acclaimed for innovative program planning, education as well as working with diverse Canadian communities. With a doctorate in Political Science and over two decades of Canadian public service experience, Mehta balanced academics and public service with art and has been a classical dancer, theatre-actor, painter and poet. Her writing has been widely published in Canada and abroad.
Born in India and travelled extensively across the globe, her narrative is influenced by insatiable curiosity, imagination, and spontaneity, reflecting the reality in the East and the West.
Mehta’s blog, Tell -Tale, invites tales of natives and immigrants, from past and present, from lonely corners and loud hubs to share their stories and their messages.
She published her first non-fiction book, The Politics of Nation Building and Art Patronage in 2012 and her debut novel, Peacock in the Snow, releases this month.
Selected by the International Festival of Authors Toronto Lit Up, Peacock in the Snow is a genre-bending thriller about the power of love, sacrifice and the tireless capacity of people to hope, strive and succeed despite impossible circumstances. This is a story of shy and naïve Maya and how her perfect life with her new husband Veer is thrown into complete disarray when she accidentally stumbles on an ancient family secret. What begins as unwelcome behaviour by Veer’s family soon turns into something sinister. Trapped within the dark walls of her marriage home, the secret begins to haunt Maya and draw a wedge with Veer. To escape the malicious spirits lingering in the house, Maya and Veer migrate to a distant land and start rebuilding their life amongst adventure and hardship. Not knowing that the ghosts of their past have followed them, in a race against time, Maya is put to a final test. Armed with conviction and courage, she sets out to face the dark forces that lie in wait.
Will Maya ever be free of a dark past? Will she be able to survive so far away from home? Will her marriage stand the test of time, displacement, and hardship in a new country?
“Peacock in the Snow brings to life the possibilities of myth and magic that exist on the fringes of reality. It is a story of belief, vengeance, and forgiveness,” says Mehta. “It is a story of optimism rooted in the imperfections of life. Maya’s hope makes her resilient and her courage leads to her redemption. The only way to overcome past wrongs is to face them, to conquer our fears and confront our inner demons.”
It lifts the veil on present life and times in Canada. It reflects the changing complexion of Canada with a new cadre of newcomers from non-Western societies who are educated, affluent and are less tolerant of the structural challenges for newcomers in this country.
It is, she says, the culmination of a journey of a girl who was healed by her story. Some six years ago when Mehta fell ill with a mysterious tummy ache and when none of the doctors could diagnose the cause, she decided to find out for herself.
“I discovered that it was because of the umpteen stories inside me that needed to be extracted, not by a painful medical procedure, but by the simple act of putting pen to paper. So, for the next few months that’s just what I did. In the process, I realized that I healed a little every time another story spread itself in front of me.
“Reworking the concept of privilege has been very powerful for me throughout this novel. For my protagonist Maya, her courage, and peace came, not from her advantageous social placement, but by the exact opposite, her renunciation of it. So until Maya deconstructed her privilege it did not lead her to either freedom or happiness.
“I also wrote this book to talk about the ‘other side’ of sexism that falls within the shadows or silences of the noise. When women inadvertently become gatekeepers and vulnerable sons give-up their lives to perform according to expectations of a patriarchal society.
“And I’m afraid I may have some similarities with my protagonist as both myself and Maya escape to Canada to find our answers!”
More at anubhamehta.com.
Peacock in the Snow is available in bookstores across North America and on Amazon.com and inanna.ca /index.php/catalog/peacock-snow.
When and where September 28, book launch at 6:00 pm, at Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay Street, Toronto. Free event, Snacks and drinks will be served. Book signing and sales. Live jazz and more.