‘Fast Five’ Interview with Guyanese-American Art Curator Grace Aneiza Ali

Migrating to Washington D.C. at the age of 14, her curatorial work heavily focuses on migration, particularly from Guyana, and examines the intersections at which art, activism and social change connect. We were happy to speak with Ali recently about the ways in which her chosen profession shines a light on artists of the Guyanese diaspora.

My Last Hours: A Journey From India to America – Part I

The Pan Am flight was confirmed for the wee hours of May 19th, 1989. I discussed my pending future with Beeji, my paternal Grandmother, who raised me as her own daughter

Say My Name, Say My Name (Or At Least Try, Dammit)

My middle name, Ann, had always been my point of entry into assimilation. It was an act of pride to repeat this common, Christian, “normal” sounding name that was sandwiched between my two very South Indian first and last names.

Scarves: A Representation of my Pakistani-Japanese-Muslim-American Self

I hold the (unofficial) world record for the number of scarves owned. Different cuts, fabrics, colors, textures—I’m a scarf enthusiast with a collection boasting 258 scarves. Since the first day of high school, a total of 1,098 days so far, I’ve always worn a scarf around my neck. It’s not just a slip of fabric that makes a bold fashion statement. My scarves make a statement about a major stereotype I face as a Muslim female: the hijab.

‘The Strongest Bond of Fraternity’: Social, Political And Artistic Links Between India And African Americans Before And After India’s Independence

Indians and African Americans share longstanding social and political connections that go back to the late 19th century. These connections, grounded in the shared anti-colonial and anti-racist histories of the two groups, and their impact on American politics and culture are usually overlooked in historical accounts of Indo-US ties.

Dear Aunties, Stop Telling Me It’s My Turn to Get Married

Okay, I get it – Indian people love weddings, dancing, eating, etc., but does that really mean at someone’s wedding all the aunties need to be on the lookout for who’s next? Honestly, they’re probably better at scouting singles than professional scouts are at finding good athletes. Weddings are great and all, but really, what does “it’s your turn next” even mean when it comes to getting married?

Onam and the Generation Gap

As every self-aware Malayali knows, there are two ways to deal with Onam: either go all out and happily drown in the many cups of thin white payasam you have been served, or God forbid, take the high road and pull the ABCD (American Born Confused Desi, to quote a much-beloved Malayalam movie).

Celebrating Rakhi: An Ode to Our Brothers

On a day that celebrates the sibling relationship in all its forms, our staff shares our favorite memories of this holiday, and the brothers it honors.

A Photo Series Displaying Diversity Among Modern Muslim Women in the U.K. and U.S.

“As an American Muslim artist I have to be honest it has been hard at times to carve a space out for my music. My sound has changed over the years.”

My Arangetram, One Year Later: 3 Things I Learned From The Journey

It’s been one year since my greatest achievement thus far, and to this day I look back in awe and thankfulness for all that I have accomplished and gained through bharatanatyam.

Shiva: Transcending Social Constructs

By accident, I ran into the sensual image of ShivShakti, also known as Ardhanarishvara (meaning: the lord who is half woman) or Ardhanaranari (the half man, half woman), picturing the god Shiva and goddess Shakti as one entity. Amused by this image, I started to read more and more of the Hindu scriptures. The story of Shiva and Shakti in the Skanda Purana says that the Goddess Shakti asked Shiva if she could sit with him while embracing him firmly. She, jealous as she was, wanted to be with him continuously. Shiva agreed to her request and so Shiva and Shakti became two energy’s in one body.

Understanding the Linguistic Cognitive Dissonance of South Asian Americans

Recently, a college friend pointed out to me that I transform into a different person when I speak to my parents on the phone. My t’s become softer, my r’s become harder. My words end in alveopalatal fizzes, a musical Carnatic cadence I associate with India. She was right, although I hadn’t noticed this before; linguistically, this is called code-switching, a term that perfectly articulates a nebulous identity confusion I’ve always felt but have never quite been able to pinpoint before.

Overcoming Today’s Pakistani Desire to Look Arab

Some Pakistanis – at least in London where I am – pretend that they have Arab heritage. This is a fact that I’ve never really questioned until recent years when I became more curious, confident and knowledgeable of my own lineage. Why do some of us lie about our bloodline?

The 9to5 Misfits Learn Some Interesting Things from a Non-Immigrant

The secret’s out — we’re immigrants! Gaasp! Quelle horreur! In the last episode, we recounted our experiences of coming to America and navigating life in a new country. It was no cakewalk, but we eventually managed to become comfortable in our own skin and assimilate, while also staying true to our Indian roots.

‘Spread Your Legs’: A Poem on Sexual Harrassment

Spread your legs, man.
It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing pants,
a dhoti,
just your kacchi,
a thong
no underwear
who cares?
Spread your legs

Ramadan Brings Couples Closer Together —That’s What I’ve Always Thought

I’ve always thought the month of Ramadan, the time to worship and not indulge so much in worldly matters, would strengthen one’s bond, make hearts flutter with each other’s commitment to God.

The 9to5 Misfits Talk About Their Experience Immigrating to the U.S.

For Pavi and Nammy, being immigrants in a new country was rough — having to suddenly change their name, accent, dress, mannerisms, and even handwriting felt more like being spies on a covert mission than normal teenagers trying to fit in.

Dear Single Ladies: You Are a Brilliant Wonder Woman

For single desi women in their 30s and 40s, the comments from others just keep on coming and coming and coming. No matter how many times you hit them, they keep on coming, like tennis balls out of a machine. At some point, you just want to throw your racket away and run.

#WeDoBelongHere: Why I’m Still Proud to Be American, Despite Stereotypes

Every Fourth of July, when the Internet (or at least my corner) is abuzz about the hypocrisy of the United States celebrating a history of violence, war, and discrimination, I feel a little guilty for enjoying the day.

The Travel Ban Isn’t New: America’s History of Restrictive Immigrantion Legislation – Part II

Indians revel in their successes in America since the doors opened but completely gloss over the struggles and racism experienced by the first Indians who immigrated. Pioneers like Dalip Singh Saund, who lobbied and fought for citizenship rights for Asians and the struggles of the San Francisco-based Gadar party are all but unknown to the Indian American community.