The immigrant experience – from scarcity to having choices

You know that feeling of terror when you first land in America as an immigrant? The feeling of “how am I going to feed my family when I don’t know the language or the culture or the ways things work here?” The feeling of “I don’t know how much things cost or how to buy…

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What happens at Indian weddings when you’re a single woman in your 40s

You go shopping at Indian stores for wedding-worthy shalwar-kameezes, lengas, garrarras, embroidered cigarette pants or whatever’s in vogue in the moment. You sustain comments from the shop aunties about how you won’t fit into the outfit you’ve chosen. You realize you’re too old to do a choreographed dance to perform at the wedding like you…

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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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