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Reshmi Nair: CBC’s rising star

S. Thenganamannil

Special to South Asia Mail

The recent installation of Canada’ new Governor General, David Johnston is being announced in CBC evening news, 7-9. Who is this young Indian woman (looks less than 30), with sparkling eyes, curly hair and a contagious smile describing the event and its importance? Her name is Reshmi Nair.

Reshmi was born in Toronto, the daughter of Mohan Nair who immigrated to Toronto from Kerala, India in 1968. He, educated in University of Waterloo (from where GG Johnston was plucked) had said, realizing Reshmi’s passion for journalism, once: “I want to see my daughter on CBC”. And she ended up with CBC though he passed away at the age of 62,

Most Indian immigrants want their sons and daughters to become doctors or lawyers. I asked her how she did not enter one of those professions. Reshmi says that her passion for investigative reporting started at a young age.

“I grew up reading the Toronto Star and used to practice my reporter signoff during the CBC News at 6 when I was doing my homework in front of the TV. So the passion was there at a pretty young age. When I was about eight or nine, I would sneak around the house on the weekend, scribbling down notes on what my parents and brother were doing, put three copies of a handwritten newspaper together, and then sell them to my family for a quarter a copy. And they would buy my paper every weekend! I love the investigative aspect of journalism, and I always loved telling stories.” Reshmi narrates.

This “daddy’s girl” as she describes herself was asked by her Dad questions on the stories she had read in the Star as a young girl. Her Dad said it is important to develop a capability for critical thinking. “I owe my journalism career to my father” Rashmi says on the verge of breaking down.

A Columbia CA grad, Reshmi, continues to do great things since graduation. She got her start at Mountain FM in Squamish, BC, then moved to News 1130 in Vancouver. From there she made the bold leap to television as a reporter for CTV News, Vancouver. And now she's landed an incredible new gig as the co-host of Connect with Mark Kelley, a two-hour nightly news talk show seen on CBC Newsworld.

“I remember when I was really young, walking past homeless persons in the dead of winter and asking my Dad why they couldn't just go home. That sparked my interest in how someone's life could take a turn for the worst. I used to take the subway downtown with a backpack full of sandwiches and trade food for stories with Toronto's homeless. I've always loved interviewing people and hearing their stories. I think the best stories offer you at least one piece of information about someone that will stay with you for a long time.”

Reshmi is single and is not sure whether she would marry and have children since it is not often easy to have such a good work-life arrangement when one is in a busy and competitive journalism career. One thing she admits is that she has several tattoos and will likely get more, because they're addictive and I love them.

Reshmi’s quick mind is reflected in her ability for quick but gentle repartee when called for. One can only hope that one day she would be one of the top journalists in North America. She has the talents, the brains and the beauty. How about opportunities and the ability to take a tough unbeaten path?

Only time will tell.

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