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Ramnik and Farida Lathia
Academic Field:
Electrical Engineering
Years at RTC:
Town of origin:
Recent Residence:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Life after RTC:
I will always look back at my time at The Royal College as some of the most formative years of my life. It not only rewarded me with the knowledge to pursue a professional career; it was also the place where I formed many enduring friendships. Best of all, this is where Farida and I met each other and subsequently became life partners.

The 1960s were a decade of profound cultural and political upheaval. ?Winds of change? were blowing with gale force strength across Africa, and the countries of East Africa were caught up in the struggle for independence, resulting in uncertainty for many of its residents. A violent armed revolution in Zanzibar in1964, one year before my graduation put an end to my desire to help in the rural electrification of the island. And so, in 1965, I started my first job as an electrical engineer with Aluminium Africa Ltd in Dar-es-Salaam. Soon after that I had an opportunity to join International Computers Ltd (ICL) as a systems engineer and worked on data processing solutions for many government departments and commercial companies.

Farida finished her degree in economics a few years later in 1968 and joined the Tanzanian government ministry of commerce as an economist. With both of us in Dar, we got together regularly, and talked about a permanent relationship. But the issue of marriage between a Hindu and an Ismaili was a taboo subject in those days and we decided to wait and see if we could find some way around the expected opposition from family.

Tanzania was going through some radical changes in late sixties and early seventies. The policy of ?ujamaa? and associated socialist programs was forcing a lot of professionals to think about their future.

I was fortunate to have a good mentor in my manager at ICL, who found me a position at the company?s headquarters in London. And so I moved to the UK in 1972. But I missed the warm, sunny life of Dar and so when an opening came up for a position in Jamaica, I seized the opportunity and moved to beautiful Jamaica in late 1972. And what a pleasant surprise it was to find our college alumni Arun and Detta already living in Jamaica!

Farida had moved to Canada in the meantime and started working in a bank in Toronto. We had kept in touch over the months and when she came to Jamaica, we could finally get married. Arun and Detta graciously hosted the joyous wedding reception at their residence. We had a thoroughly enjoyable two years in Jamaica, unquestionably the most beautiful island in the world.

At the end of my contract in Jamaica, we moved to Canada in the winter of 1975. The wintry land of cold and snow was a sharp contrast to the balmy conditions in Jamaica, but we persevered and adjusted to the Canadian life. After a short time in Toronto, I took up a position with Union Carbide as an engineer for their petrochemical plant in Sarnia, Ontario. I worked for a number of different companies and eventually started my own consulting business in 1995. As a business process reengineering consultant, I have worked on many projects across North America, with large corporations such as IBM, Siemens, Ernst & Young and other smaller companies.

Both of our daughters, Nina and Anita were born in Canada and after school proceeded onto their respective university courses. Nina is a pharmacist and has just completed her PhD degree and Anita is a practising medical professional. Last summer we celebrated Nina?s wedding to David Richards, a quintessential Canadian who plays hockey and loves his beer.

We now live in Oakville, not far from Toronto. And since 2007, I have cut down on the number of projects, and only undertake those that do not involve any travel. There are so many of our alumni in and around Toronto and it is a pleasure to meet with them now and again. And every time we get together, there are always such pleasant reminiscences about our glorious years at The Royal College.

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