Dr. Rashmi Venkateswaran
Storyteller, Canada Celebrates Folklore, India
Rashmi Venkateswaran was born in Syracuse, NY, USA to a very traditional family with roots in Tamil Nadu, India. Due to their cultural upbringing, Rashmi’s parents, Dr. Ananthakrishna and Smt. Indira Venkateswaran were very spiritual and had a tremendous sense of hospitality, which they passed on to her. Knowing that she would be growing up in North America and that she would have many questions about her cultural background, her parents took exceptional pains to study the reasons behind all the traditions that they followed. Whenever she would ask a question, instead of saying “because we told you”, they would explain the reason behind the tradition. As a result, Rashmi grew up with a strong foundational understanding of Sanatana Dharma and a tremendous love of stories. She has used this story-telling background as the basis for her life and work, and applies the use of stories to explain difficult concepts in her teaching of chemistry at the University of Ottawa (where she is a Senior Instructor and Laboratory Coordinator in the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences) as well as Carnatic music (in which she has a BA and MA) to her many students in both areas.