Eids, Birthdays and Traditions

The smell of biryani fills the air in my parent’s house. Soon we’ll take it out of the oven and mix the masala and chicken on the bottom with the Basmati rice on top. Tired from the frantic morning rushing to Eid prayer at the Phoenix Convention Center and the long day of cooking before,…

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A Letter to Farrokh Bulsara

Dear Farrokh, You and I share so much of our cultural heritage that it’s almost laughable. Your parents were Parsi (ethnic Persians) Zoroastrians from Gujrat and my parents are Muslims from Gujrat. Your family lived in Zanzibar and my dad was born in Zanzibar, in fact, he was born in the exact same district that…

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Dinner parties and seeing your culture through the lens of white people

The spicy potatoes are crackling on the stove and the house smells wonderful from the baingan, cholle, and roasted brussels sprouts I cooked earlier. I’m waiting for my friend Afsa and Nidhi to arrive for the first dinner party I have hosted since moving to San Francisco. This party feels significant for several reasons. The…

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Language, Pronunciation and Feeling Uncomfortable

I was hosting a party at my apartment in Portland and we were at the point where I normally offer chai, after dinner and around the time for dessert. I started to ask each person if he or she wanted some and the third person I asked, who was immersed in a conversation, said, “do…

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Funerals and coworkers

Recently a coworker’s dad died. His dad had been declining in health for the past year and my coworker would tell us stories almost every day about how difficult it was to care for his very stubborn father who refused a caregiver or going to a skilled nursing facility and insisted on staying at home…

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