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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What “my kind” of people means

When I was in IKEA once in Phoenix with my ex-husband, an Indian couple stopped me and asked me if was from India. I said yes and a conversation ensued. I was both put off by these strangers’ impertinent question and delighted by it, because, in actuality, every time I see an Indian person out…

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Dating as a bi-cultural person

I wasn’t allowed to date or even talk to boys growing up. This was a cultural ethos backed up by religion and the custom of arranged marriages and no premarital sex under any circumstances. My father was a very serious and very strict man and his number one priority was to protect his family. He…

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