As the last days of summer fade away I did one of my favorite things – buy a street lunch from a vendor’s truck in Herald Square in Manhattan – and eat it while sitting in the public outdoor spaces which have sprung up in busy city areas. It’s hard to believe how these small parks have spruced up life and how easy it is now to catch a few moments of respite from the hurly-burly of Sixth Avenue with its endless crowds, its endless shopping and its endless drama.
“So today on this beautiful summer day, I decided to watch ‘The View’. The ladies of ‘The View’ played a game called Family Matters and the question was “What percentage of wives in America would cheat on their husbands if they weren’t going to get caught?” The correct answer? 74 percent!”
In this blog post, the Single Desi lists the pros and cons of being a Single Desi versus a Married Desi and wishes for each the lifestyle that is suited to their personalities.
It was a rare occasion to have the two Jaffreys – Madhur and Sakina – together and both celebrities talked about life and success with over 200 women over lunch. It was symbolic that these two noted New Yorkers were at an event which celebrated everyone’s favorite city while raising funds for its most vulnerable residents – the children in New York’s homeless shelters.
“So the other day, I Googled ‘woman over the age of 35’. There comes a time in your life where you have done all things that you have wanted to do, kept up with your interests, and lived your destiny. But since I am first generation desi, I am first and therefore I don’t have anyone before me to watch or see how things turned out.
As a woman, it is very important to grow and accomplish new things. Without movement, one tends to feel stagnated and bored. So what is a single woman approaching 40 to do?” Monica Marwah – GUEST BLOG
What constitutes an Indian? Are you Indian if you are born in India or is it your Indian genes which make you Indian? Are you not Indian if you are of a different religion or pray to a different God? Are you seen just as a vote bank by conniving politicians in the great tumult of the Indian Elections?
Sabina Himani, an Indian artist who is Muslim and lives in New York, reminisces on a comment which has dogged her through the years and now she hears once again, due to the ongoing elections.
“All Muslims should leave India and go live in Pakistan ..”
Here’s her answer to all those who make that statement.
We all plan our lives according to strategy. When you are young, you go through the motions and decide what you want to do, who you want to be, what you want to accomplish.
When you are in your early 20’s, you begin to shoot for the stars. Between the years of 20-30, life starts to unfold. Life pushes you in so many different directions, you wonder, “Where am I going and when will I get there?” Guest Blog – The Single Desi
“First commitment as CEO: I won’t wait four years between tweets!” tweeted Satya Nadella, the newly appointed CEO of Microsoft, whose last tweet was back in 2010. There is indeed a hunger out there to learn more about him; he’s tweeted only 27 times since 2009 and yet has a whopping 108,000 followers.
While most of Nadella’s tweets are about Microsoft and Bing, two old tweets give us the desi angle: “Great evening to be watching some good old fashioned test cricket!” Another tweet will sound like deja vu to most Indian achievers: “I may break my continuous work day record!” Family friend and retired Microsoft executive Vijay Vashee recalls the time Nadella, who’s passionate about cricket, watched the 20-20 cricket match from midnight to 6 am at and then went straight to a full productive day of work.
The Indian-Americans, now numbering a sizable 3.3 million, successful, entrepreneurial and with healthy, happy families behind them, seem to be at a crossroads for the demographics tell yet another story, a more sobering one. The Indian immigrants who came here in the 50’s and 60’s are now approaching their final years and many of these voices are disappearing – and with that, all the untold stories, the celebration of lives well lived.
Stories which are undocumented will surely be lost, silenced. Now is the time to gather these voices and record them for posterity. Some attempts are being made to do this, by institutions and individuals. A major effort is the Indian-American Heritage Project at the Smithsonian Museum in the nation’s capital which is launching a major exhibition spotlighting the Indian community in February 2014: “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation”
The Lassi Awards?!! No, no, I would never be so presumptuous! I’m not exactly giving out the Oscars but it’s a humble recognition of five people who are special, people whom you’d definitely want to have a beer with, or at least a lassi. They have all the wonderful qualities that we wish we had, have overcome difficulties to succeed in a complex world, and in turn made it a more humane world.
Well, here are five of these special people – Sheena Iyengar, Jasmin Sethi, Eboo Patel, Pratima Dharm and Leila Janah. As the year ends, it’s worth revisiting their inspirational stories and realizing that even with just the power of one, each one of us can make a difference.
In a world of shut doors and glass ceilings, success in life is difficult to achieve, especially for low income women of color, with little education. Enter Wishwas, an organization that turns the homely skills of these women into assets and helps them to market their hand-made products.
Wishwas, a fledgling organization started by New Yorker Nivedita Chandrappa had its coming out party at the beautiful Queens Museum of Art in Flushing, Queens with a cocktail fundraiser showcasing the work of the women of Wishwas. It was indeed a gathering of women helping women.
“The success stories are many, they say Wishwas has given them the opportunity to grow and learn. Our women have now started talking to everyone, know how to wish and how to negotiate, how to make extra income with the skills they already have.
I think each story is unique and personal – on the whole they are a happy bunch who work together, spend time together on a weekly bases, have bonded together, and they also do that while their children are safe around them.”
By winning the Miss America title, Nina Davuluri has scored big for all those little brown girls who were always the outsider and had to answer the taunt “But where are you really from?” Generations of kids were often asked why their mothers had dots on their heads and whether they lived in huts and about their connection to tigers, snakes and elephants.
The title of Miss America makes Nina Davuluri as American as apple pie, as American as American can be. In fact, you can dance the bhangra, eat dosas and sambar, worship any God you choose – and you’re still American. Davuluri’s win shows Indian-American children that their many differences are what make America rich and special, and don’t make them any less American
It was a power-packed evening with over 580 people from the worlds of business, arts and philanthropy. AIF, whose honorary chair is President Bill Clinton, has impacted the lives of more than 1.7 million of India’s poor. This evening raised big bucks – $ 1. 5 million – for AIF’s Market Aligned Skills Training (MAST) Program which provides underprivileged youths skill training in India.
In the larger scheme of things, what does one minute signify? Nothing. Yet in the universe created by Radhika Khanna, fashion entrepreneur and yoga expert, these mini one-minute poses can translate into the difference between stress and calm, good energy and bad health. In fact, utilized well, these minutes can make all the difference in the world of busy professionals.
Khanna knows through her own experience, because yoga literally saved her life. While working in the fashion industry in New York, she got Lupus, for which there is no cure. Normal, day-to-day life was a thing of the past and she found after many treatments that yoga was her best ally in fighting this disease.
Desis are a dynamic, evolving breed who are constantly surprising themselves and others with their creativity, success, and growing place in the world. And yet, despite all this, there are some things about desi culture that never seem to change, such as our craving for spicy food, our inherently musical nature, our extremely dry sense of humor…and our work ethic.
No matter how much we evolve, desis just cannot seem to give up the laissez faire style of working that we have long practiced in our motherland and which we import with amazing tenacity to the new world. So mind-boggling is this phenomenon, in fact, that it is difficult to express its essence in plain prose and requires an imaginary conversation between two desis to be communicated effectively. Guest Blog.
They may not even have a passport or American visa but everyone from a farmer in an Indian village to a street urchin in Mumbai will have visited Times Square, Fifth Avenue and the skyscrapers of New York – thanks to all the Bollywood movies which are being shot in the US!
Indeed, location shooting in America seems to be one of the hottest trends in Indian cinema, and superstars like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukerjee, Katrina Kaif and Preity zinta have all danced their way through the streets of Manhattan.
Does your family try to smuggle Tupperware containers filled with daal chaval into Disneyland?
Do your parents have drawers full of ketchup packages from McDonalds?
Do your parents yell into the phone even when they are not calling India?
Does your family own a Toyota or a Honda?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are definitely, really, Indian! These are part of a quick quiz by light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek ‘anthropologist’ Sanjit Singh whose book ‘Are You Indian?’ is a humorous look at growing up Indian in America. Singh checks out the Indian-American phenomenon right from infancy where the little bachas are being already prepped for the spelling bee by their anxious and ambitious parents to SAT and College Admission, right on to the traumas of finding a mate.
Thought you had put the 2012 Elections behind you? Not so fast! You now have to make the big bird decision and we don’t mean that Big Bird! It’s that time of the year when the President pardons one lucky turkey to live out its life in comfort. On Wednesday, November 21, 2011, President Obama will pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey in a ceremony in the Rose Garden.
The President will pardon Cobbler and his alternate Gobbler, both 19-week old, 40-pound turkeys. This year, for the first time ever, the American public decided which of the two turkeys – Cobbler or Gobbler – would become the 2012 National Thanksgiving Turkey by casting a vote via the White House Facebook page. And now there’s a winner!
Bali. Las Vegas. Hong Kong. Dubai. Miami. Mumbai. Singapore. And the list keeps growing! ‘Have Make-Up Kit, Will Travel!’ This could well be the mantra of Sanjana Vaswani, a traveling cosmetologist in New York who has flown to many cities and driven many miles to transform everyday women into dazzling brides at countless weddings.
It’s interesting how new careers can be created and willed into being, and now with the ever-burgeoning Indian-American community in the US, the business of beauty is a multi-million dollar industry, part of the Indian-American wedding industry. Along with wedding planners, caterers, decorators, and photographers, you have the make-up artistes…
For Sanjana, her car keys are crucial in the business, and she’s driven from Pennsylvania to Virgina. “Thank God for GPS!” she says. At any given time her car carries her makeover cases of cosmetics and accessories which are geared for any beauty emergency.