Essays

Raj Kapoor, Mukesh, and Nostalgia for an Inclusive Nationalism

October 2, 2018

Challia, Awaara, Shree 420 – the singer Mukesh’s soulful voice is found across the soundtracks of films in an early post-colonial India, narrating the vastly different post-partition life on the sub-continent. With Raj Kapoor, an accomplished actor and producer, Mukesh would go on to play an essential role in forming a young India’s national identity … Read More

The Suitable Girl: Sari Fears

The women in my family are columns of silk when they wear saris. Statuesque, taller somehow, unattainable in their grace and assuredness, as if they wore the fabric like power. They took small steps but also long strides. They wore high heels that daggered into the floor of hotel ballrooms, leaving behind tiny indentations in … Read More

Transmasculine, Closeted and Dysphoric on Eid al Ahda

August 21, 2018

As a girl and then as a woman, Eid has always been the same. My mother and I rise hours before the other half of our household, brushing, dabbing, smoothing, and painting ourselves before dressing in the clothing she has picked. There are janamaaz laid out on the plastic turf in an Indiana high school … Read More

Kajal Vol. 2: Love Machine

May 16, 2018

This piece was originally published in Kajal Volume 2, Mytho-Techno. Order your copy of the magazine here. Social commentators often lament that technology explodes the world into a thousand little pieces, each floating about in alienated orbs, only touching when they collide in anger and acrimony. In market speak made social speak, they call this … Read More

I Have My Grandfather’s Hands

May 11, 2018

I have my grandfather’s hands. They are square and hardy. They can hold a lot. Like him, I suppose. I used to hate my hands. I have always found them to be too masculine and bulky. Too much for me. I have spent years hiding them, or wanting to (how do you hide your hands?). … Read More

Swipe Me Left, I’m Dalit

April 23, 2018

Everything from knowledge to housing to career is determined by one’s social location. And so are relationships. We are familiar with the stats from 2014 on OKcupid, which showed that black women were the least desirable group (Asian men were rated lowest by single women). Closer home, there is no survey to justify a similar … Read More

Coming to Terms with My Eating Disorder

March 16, 2018

I thought I was everything but bulimic. Gluten-intolerant. Carb-phobic. A sensitive soul with a sensitive stomach. But bulimia? Definitely not. That word and all other eating disorders were “white girl problems” to me. It was the 100 year old Chardonnay of shitty coping mechanisms that only grew more expensive and detrimental with age. I had … Read More

My Mother the Monk

January 30, 2018

During the first week of my recent family holiday to Sri Lanka, I was plagued by the unpleasant sensation of bile rising up in my throat. I wasn’t quite sure if I was reacting to the sudden stifling heat and one too many serves of sambol and coconut roti, or if it was the presence … Read More

Nachos: A Family History

January 21, 2018

I have a deep and abiding love for nachos. Tortilla chips. Cheddar Cheese. Black beans. Lettuce. Salsa. Guacamole. Sour Cream. All piled atop one another not haphazardly, but meticulously. I like to control all aspects of the production process—blocks of cheese shredded but in only one direction, tomatoes and onions finely diced, long, thin ribbons … Read More

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