Sari on the Snow launched

Shashi in sari signing a copy of her book

Shashi Kaila signing her story “Sari on the Snow”.

Shashi Kaila’s Sari on the Snow launched to a standing-room only crowd at the Strathcona Seniors Centre today. This is the story of a couple from India making a home in northern Alberta in the ’60s. It is a story of community and challenge, adjustment and courage.

Stories like this broaden our vision and create understanding. Audra Hollingshead shared her experience working with the project and Shashi:

“As I read and worked with Shashi on her story something happened to me. I walked in Shashi’s footsteps. I became more aware, more consciously accepting, more tolerant. I became more loving.

“Back on the day that the fates decreed that Shashi would – through an arranged marriage – hitch her future to an itinerant dreamer of a school teacher, from hot spot India, little did she know she would become the snow-shoe Princess of her own reality show. With little other than a travel bag filled with whispy silk saris, and a tiny baby, she headed out to something of which she had no concept – the frozen wilderness of Canada’s North.

“Like our prairie pioneers, Shashi had but two choices. Madness or survival. Shashi is a survivor. She has spirit… that nebulous thing around which you cannot tie a red thread and call it ‘brother’. It is the kind of spirit of our pioneer ancestors. That unshakeable will that built this vast country.

“This week we have the unveiling of a beautiful life story.

“I salute this author. One of the finest people to foster unity in our great Canada. I salute too, Shashi’s Prem for without his initial bout of insanity in coming to a frozen lake in the middle of nowhere to teach the three “R’s”, none of this ever would have happened, and we would have been the poorer for it.

“This is a great book for book clubs. It fosters many questions. Questions about not only the author, her culture and her indomitable will, it fosters also questions about ourselves.”

Shashi speaking to the crowd

Standing room-only at Strathcona Seniors Centre for Shashi’s book launch. Photos by Dale Youngman

Publication assistance and printing for “Sari on the Snow” was provided in Edmonton by PageMaster. It is available at our location, on-line at and is listed on Bookmanager for independent bookstores to order.

  • Linda says:

    Shashi’s book is emotionally engaging, colourful, and full of survival techniques for anyone thrown into difficult situations. Her bright spirit, sense of humour and turn of phrase make the book a joy to read.

    If you care about Alberta and the people who have made her the place she is today, reading this book about a young immigrant will give you insights you never dreamed of.

  • Rebekah Allen says:

    I would like to read this book! Is it a true story? It sounds fascinating, intriguing and relevant to many today who are newly making Canada their homeland! Insights into another culture and life journey often make us more grateful.

    • Dale Youngman says:

      Hi Rebekah
      It is a true story, and yes, like others, this slice of life gives insights, inspiration and understanding. I think we should all read a biography every month.
      Sari on the Snow is available through some independent bookstores, here in central Edmonton at our shop, and online at

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