I would like to start by saying, I’m not the average Punjabi girl. I’m a host and a MC, plus I have my own radio show on Radio Asia in New Jersey, called Bhangra Beats. I’m an aspiring journalist and an intern for E3UK, a music label based in the U.K. and the U.S. But, most importantly, I’m absolutely obsessed with the traditional Punjabi dance form, bhangra.
My dad was a news broadcaster for a South Asian TV channel, so ever since I was a little girl, I knew my calling. I started working in radio and TV broadcasting at the age of 12 or 13 with a couple of random desi commercials. But when I was a freshman at New Jersey Institute of Technology, I was given the opportunity to host Bhangra Beats! My job is truly amazing because it allows me to bring my two passions together, which is broadcasting and bhangra.
Pursuing a non-conventional desi major during college is a struggle because most people assume that I’ve disappointed my parents by not becoming a doctor or lawyer. I believe my career and passion are my strength, which gives me a unique outlook to everything a first generation NRI (non-resident Indian) may face.
I grew up in a town where my parents and I were the only South Asian family and now I live in a different town that has become the epicenter of everything desi. I was pretty much a loner for most of my childhood and of course my nerdy glasses, frizzy hair and terrible fashion sense didn’t help me much either. It kind of sucks to admit it, but as a kid, my best friends were my cousins, parents and my stuffed animals. No friends equaled zero confidence. In either place, I felt like I didn’t belong because even among all the desis, I was “too Indian” despite the fact that till this day I have never been to India.
I would listen to Punjabi music, lock myself in my room for hours at a time and just dance to kill time because that became my “escape” from everything. It’s from there, I started performing at weddings and sweet 16s, which eventually led to cultural fairs and charity events. I can truly say, performing in front of others has helped me become the person I am today.
Recently, I’ve been able to host various events, like festivals and Bhangra competitions, which I absolutely love because I get to experience the Bhangra dance circuit all over the country and meet some amazing people.
I’ve been lucky enough to live my dream so far and I plan to move forward with it. While growing up, I didn’t really have any role models, so I want to make sure that other brown girls have positive influences to look up to. My main goal is to inspire women and give them the push they need to follow their dreams, like I have. It’s a struggle, but hey, if we can give birth then I think we can handle this too.
Although we deal with so much criticism, it’s our job to show how powerful we are!
Make sure to listen to Trisha’s radio show: Bhangra Beats, every Saturday on 103.3FM from 4 p.m.-6p.m.
Photos provided by Trisha Arora.