Loading...

Follow Brown Girl Magazine on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

Earlier this year, the Wolverhampton Literature Festival in the U.K. presented a weekend of talks, performances, and practical workshops, showcasing the creative talent of underrepresented voices — including The Whole Kahani (story). A writing collective of first-generation migrants, the team of The Whole Kahani read from their latest anthology entitled “May We Borrow Your Country.” This anthology is a collection of poems and short stories which provide an insight into what it means to be first generation immigrants navigating the borders and challenges that come with making Britain a home — an ongoing process for the ladies of The Whole Kahani.

A South Asian writing collective is particularly refreshing, considering that there is a lack of diversity in publishing — namely due to the proportion of white counterparts who dominate the publishing industry. Brown Girl Magazine speaks to one of the members Reshma Ruia to explore how The Whole Kahani fits into the wider issue of South Asian diasporic identity and representation in publishing. 

The Whole Kahini means the complete story. The title represents the fact that stories or versions of stories that we have been hearing are not really representative of what we have been experiencing. By we, I mean the South Asian diaspora – the first and second generation or even British Asian children who have been born here. The whole premise of this is wanting to bring our own collective.

Celebrate #InternationalWomenDay by reading #MayWeBorrowYourCountry Stories about displacement by #womenwriters from the #WholeKahani collective. Urgent, sharp and relevant tales published by @LinenPressBooks the only independent women’s press in the UK. pic.twitter.com/WJwV8Kok6G

— RESHMA RUIA (@RESHMARUIA) March 8, 2019

The Whole Kahani harnesses the power of a minority group to increase South Asian representation in publishing. Ruia explains the coming together of the group as being a natural progression.

It really came into being in 2011. There were initially 20 or 30 of us gathered together to collaborate on an anthology – ‘Too Asian Not Asian Enough,’ in which I had a piece in. As collaborators, we were batting for the same team but that coming together was a one-off. We wanted something more structured.

Ruia made it clear how working amidst a group that visioned common goals, provides a safe space for rigorous critical analysis by members. She highlighted the importance of staying away from South Asian friends who may be reluctant to provide constructive criticism.

You need someone who can understand your references, who doesn’t automatically say, what does daal mean or what does roti mean, or feel the need to put them in italics.

[Read Related: How Award-Winning British Comedian Sindhu Vee Overcame her Stutter and Found Success Through Stand-Up Comedy]

Ruia’s note on whether non-English words should automatically be seen as having a place alongside English lexicon, ties in with the foreword of “May I Borrow Your Country,” written by author Preeti Taneja, who questions

Is punctuation negotiable for purpose, should non-English terms be italicised, should there be translated in the text or must there be a glossary?

Ruia discusses the importance of dismantling industries by reflecting on her own childhood,

I think the issue is of representation. As someone who grew up in India, I grew up on tales of Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew so my whole experience was shaped around Western sensibilities, norms and values. We need authors who understand us and who reflect our journey.

A central problem relating to difficulties in being published in the literary world is the fact that the white, middle-class gatekeepers, impose stereotypical expectations of what they want to see from writers of colour. As Ruia eloquently frames the issue,

They want to be able to place books into genres. It’s easy for them to say write about colonial India or follow the usual tropes like an arranged marriage or unhappy families. The minute you write about something that deviates from that script, they have a problem placing you.

In a report commissioned by development agency Spread The Word, it was stated that BAME writers are “pressured by agents and editors to make their manuscripts marketable, by upping the sari count, dealing with gang culture or some other image that conforms to White preconceptions. Ruia’s own novel, “A Mouthful of Silence,” has been met with confusion by publishers who interpret her writing from the point of view of a white male protagonist, as something jarring and nonsensical.

The Whole Kahini team

She makes it clear that the aim of “May We Borrow Your Country” was to focus on the reality of living in the U.K. as a South Asian.

What with Brexit and discourse on immigration, we wanted to address and question what it means to belong. How do you claim a geographical space or emotional space as your own? We also didn’t want to bring a victim’s perspective on this. ‘May We Borrow Your Country’ is a tongue in cheek, and an ironic reference.

The publishing industry appears to be doing writers of colour a disservice, despite schemes and internships designed to target writers of colour. Ruia expresses her criticism,

Everywhere there’s a BAME thing. All major publishers will say that they have got initiatives but that’s sort of like positive discrimination. They might say that they have already published one Indian writer this year. It becomes a case of ticking a box so that’s not good. Rather than them, I’d say it’s the independent publishers which are really championing good writing and who are prepared to take risks

[Read Related: U.K. Theatre Director Pooja Ghai Tackles Family, Friendship and Power in ‘Approaching Empty’]

I was also interested in the barriers that came with having immigrant parents — namely the parental concern of children pursuing a creative career over an academic one which promises financial stability.

It’s a very valid concern. When I was 18, I got a place to study English literature at Oxford and my parents said ‘oh, what will you do with that?’ So I studied development economics at the London School of Economics. Some people don’t have the luxury of engaging in the creative arts. It is seen as a hobby that comes after commitments, responsibilities and jobs that pay the bills.

Despite the potential for young South Asian writers to be reluctant to immerse themselves into a writing career, Ruia explains the sense of persevering as an intrinsic quality in those who have a natural flair for writing,

I think if the voice is really strong or if the urge is there, just go for it. It’s like with anything, but you have to be prepared to make sacrifices. I don’t necessarily think that the starving poet in the garage is feasible all the time. It’s like a flame burning within you. You have to hear its call and go for it.

Finally, Ruia reflects on what she would like to see in the future of publishing,

Less tokenism for sure. I’d like to see more publishers who come from our background, Asian publishers in the mainstream, publishers, editors and literary agents as well. I’d like to see more books by Asian writers that aren’t just dealing with the so-called exotic themes. South Asian writers need to be on the shelves for us, like how American writers are.

The Whole Kahani, are trailblazers in their own right. Ruia has created a collective which provides an authentic lens to showcase what it means to have dual British and Asian identity during a time of political uncertainty. Navigating an industry with a culture of pigeonholing will always be an arduous task. The Whole Kahani serve to be the British Asian voices we need in order to work toward dismantling the whitewashing of the creative industries.

Readers can purchase ‘May We Borrow Your Country’ here.

The post The Whole Kahani: The British Asian Writers Narrating the Complete Story of Identity appeared first on Brown Girl Magazine.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

People often underestimate short films. They think it’s easy to make, easy to write, cheap, frivolous, and unable to tell a real story – but that is far from the truth. The art of making a short film is challenging. It requires careful story telling in a finite amount of time and the skill to leave a long lasting impression that cannot usually be reinforced by billboards and Instagram stories.

The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles — aka IFFLA — proved this year that Bollywood films like “Student of The Year” (which, don’t get me wrong, that movie is straight fire) are not the pinnacle of Indian storytelling. Here are some breakout short films that left a lasting impression with me because of how well they tackled perspective.

“BEBAAK”

IFFLA 2019 | BEBAAK | TRAILER - YouTube

Written and directed by debut filmmaker Shazia Iqbal, “Bebaak” is a stellar portrayal of the constant battle we face in the war of tradition vs. self. When unable to rely on her cash-strapped family to further her education, an ambitious and fiercely independent young Muslim woman seeks out a scholarship from a conservative Muslim trust. When she discovers that the money comes with strings attached, her liberal Muslim values are put to the test.

As first-generation children, we often forget that we are not the only ones who struggle with how we let tradition dictate our modern lifestyles; youngsters in India also struggle with identity, whilst immersed in the very repression they are trying to fight. It was truly eye opening to see this conflict depicted from a different angle. Shazia comes from the production design world, and works closely with Anurag Kashyap (who is also a producer on “Bebaak”).

“TUNGRUS”

IFFLA 2019 | TUNGRUS | TRAILER - YouTube

Directed by Rishi Chandna, “Tungrus” is the perfect mocu-short and the best pallet cleanser after a lineup of somber short films. When Mr. Bharde brought home a baby chick thinking it would make a fun toy for his cats, he could never imagine that the bird would grow into an obstinate and entitled rooster, wreaking havoc on the family’s cramped Mumbai apartment and spreading terror to cats and humans alike. Six months later, the eccentric patriarch struggles to reclaim his household from the reins of this formidable pet bird which his wife and sons have come to consider a beloved, albeit annoying, family member.

While I laughed my ass off for the entirety of this film, I didn’t ignore the truly incredible storytelling. I really admire the way Rishi was able to use humor as a companion to the underlying themes of family and unconditional love. I never thought I’d write a positive review for a movie about a rooster.

“NOOREH”

IFFLA 2019 | NOOREH | TRAILER - YouTube

Written and directed by Ashish Pandey, “Nooreh” is an endearing portrait of border life told through the eyes of a naïve young girl. Set in Kashmir, the film introduces us to young Nooreh whose life in a small village on the Indian-Pakistani border is disrupted by daily crossfire. One night, Nooreh discovers that she can control the gun battle by keeping her eyes open and vows to constantly stay awake.

Using Nooreh as the forefront of this film was not only clever but extremely effective. In a time where we are bombarded with visceral images of war and violence and forced by the media to “take sides,” Nooreh provided a perspective that I forgot even existed — a naïve girl who only knows that she likes to study. The film ends with the whole town of children deciding they shouldn’t sleep all under the impression that it will stop the gun fire.

[Read Related: The One-Year Anniversary of ‘Haneri’: A Punjabi-Canadian Short Film on Mental Health]

IFFLA continues its grand tradition of showcasing great short films that should not be ignored, even amongst their flashier feature-length narrative and documentary selections. The directors of these short films deserve a spotlight and more opportunities for their work to be displayed to the world.

The post IFFLA 2019: These 3 Standout Short Films Brilliantly Tackle ‘Perspective’ appeared first on Brown Girl Magazine.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

A movie that watches the way a good book reads, Ritesh Batra has once again hit a home-run (six runs for my brown folk) with his latest film, ‘Photograph.’ Starring the iconic Nawazuddin Siddiqui and the elegant Sanya Malhotra, ‘Photograph’ is a candid portrayal of love, class, and identity in the hustle of modern day Mumbai. (Poll: How many photography puns can a I sprinkle throughout this review? We’re already at two if you’ve been paying attention).

‘Photograph’ follows Rafi (Siddiqui) a street photographer whose primary source of income comes from taking pictures of tourists in front of the Gateway of India for money. It is here that he meets Miloni (Malhotra) a younger woman who is financially supported by her parents and is studying to become an accountant. After Rafi takes Miloni’s picture, she disappears before he can give it to her.

[Photo Source: Amazon Studios]We then follow Rafi home and learn his true living situation. He’s of a lower caste and is burdened by the debt of his family. As if that wasn’t enough to cause stress in his life, Rafi finds out that his dadi (grandmother) is refusing to take her medication until he gets married #priorities. To cajole her, he sends her the picture of Miloni along with a letter under the guise that she is the woman he will marry. What Rafi forgets is that for Indian grandmothers, the proof is in the pudding, so it does not take long before she decides to visit Rafi to meet his would-be wife. After explaining the situation to Miloni, she decides to play along once dadi arrives. The film follows the blossoming of the initially fake relationship into something genuine.

While I typically don’t enjoy “slice of life” films, I found this one charming, smart, and entirely unexpected given the basic nature of the plot. So naturally my first question to Ritesh was:

Is ‘Photograph’ based on a true story?

It’s just fiction! Something like this, as you probably know, would never happen in India. People from such starkly different backgrounds would not interact together for so long like this movie. Their interaction would be limited to ‘how much does this cost’ and maybe ‘here’s your change.’

[Photo Source: Amazon Studios]While the focus of this film could have very easily turned into a heavily romantic tale, it never became that. The affection between Rafi and Miloni is merely an anchor for both of their journeys to self-discovery and how they both suffer from the burden of choice given their social status within Indian society; both never able to make decisions for themselves. Rafi’s darker skin is constantly compared to Miloni’s lighter skin. Miloni is treated more like property that appreciates in value than a daughter with feelings to her parents. These are all ideals of caste and class that we tend to overlook but are the very reason the system persists to this day. And these parallels in conjunction with how they feel about each other is captured perfectly.

For me, the first scene I write for a movie is always what it is about. I wrote the last scene of this movie first. And then I just went from there to really figure out who these people are. And I had the basis of a rich girl poor guy story but wanted to make it more authentic and real and a little magical even.

Without going into detail about how the film ends, I’ll say that it was a flashback and that it was perfect. Enough closure to leave me satisfied but enough unanswered questions to keep me curious.

It’s very difficult to find a resolution to a situation that has none. Both for someone who is watching it and for someone who is making it. And there are many different ways I could have ended it but this is what made sense and felt the most authentic.

[Photo Source: Amazon Studios]In my conversation with Ritesh, it also came up that he started writing this film 2-3 years ago. He kept picking it up and putting it down but never felt like it needed to be adjusted for the times. Story telling aside, the film also incorporates many classic Hindi songs that only add to its timeless nature.

With a ‘slice of life’ film such as this one, what do you want your audience to feel after they watch it? What do you want them to walk away with?

I mean, what you really want is for people to take it home with you. So, when people watch this movie and get to the last flashback scene I want them to go home and re-think about the second half of the movie in the light of that last scene. That would be nice. But yeah it would be remiss of me to say that whatever happens happens because it is not really like that because I am trying to say something with this film.

[Read Related: How ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’ Challenges Convention: An Interview with Director Shelly Chopra Dhar]

Just as he did in his feature debut The Lunchbox, Ritesh Batra has once again stripped an unlikely relationship down to its core – the desire for basic human connection. Photograph is now playing in select theaters. (And my pun game was lacking focus today, so only 4. Oh wait, 5.)

The post How ‘Photograph’ Captures Class and Identity: An Interview with Director Ritesh Batra appeared first on Brown Girl Magazine.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

With the spring season fully upon us, and summer just around the corner, all you guys (and gals) know that means, right?: Spring/Summer fashion, of course! Now, where the fall and winter seasons are known more for solid and deep colors, layering, and all things wool, we know that spring/summer means you can play around with different textures, tones, (and, my favorite!) PRINTS!

Gentlemen, in my opinion, you can never go wrong with wearing prints—they automatically add dimension to any outfit and you know for a fact that you’re going to look fun and whimsical in a room full of light-washed denim and white tees (not hating! Just encouraging you to push the envelope a bit if you don’t already!).

With that said, I want to address those who want to experiment with prints but just don’t know how to take a staple printed item in their wardrobe and make it versatile. (Because obviously, you don’t purchase something to just wear it ONE way. Amirite?)

So, in light of keeping things simple to start off my series, I want to begin with an item that almost every guy has in his closet: the floral shirt. You just can’t go into wedding season without one of these bad boys—but, that’s not all you can use it for! Believe it when I say that you can take your floral shirt from a sangeet to street fashion by making just a couple of modifications to the rest of your outfit—the staple piece doesn’t change and, that’s the beauty of it: versatility.

Before jumping into the tips and tricks, let me tell you that styling a floral shirt isn’t hard at all. All you need to do is find colors that complement the shirt and mix and match! The added bonus is getting to match the turban to make a killer style statement each time! So, here is how to style your very own floral shirt with items that you already have in your closet. I’m sure I’m sparing you a trip to the mall, boys!

View this post on Instagram

Styling Series Part 1 – The Floral Shirt It’s finally ready! This is the first of many styling series that I will be showcasing! These videos will be highlighting specific pieces in a gentlemans wardrobe and showing how an individual can create mutliple outfits with a single piece of clothing. The hope for these videos is to help the every day man find new ways of incorporating these fun and different items into their wardrobes and inspiring them to take more chances with their style and clothing selections! HUGE HUGE thanks to Vivid Media for helping bring this all together from a techinical and creative point of view. Would not be possible without you! @vividmediaco #styledbyharj #stylingseries #floralshirt #stylist #fashionconsultant #videooftheday #newproject #love #passionproject #wardrobe #trendsetter #snap #inspiration

A post shared by Harjas Singh (@styledbyharj) on Feb 11, 2019 at 3:17pm PST

The post Style Files: Wear Your Floral Shirt 3 Ways and Make a Killer Statement Each Time appeared first on Brown Girl Magazine.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

You would think since Boston is right by the water that it wouldn’t be so dry here, BUT, you would be wrong. I swear dry skin is the devil. I hate how patchy it looks and the itching is not fun. All I want is silky smooth skin—like a baby’s butt. Is that too much to ask for?

I am a HUGE fan of rosehip oil and use it every day all over my face and neck…sometimes even twice a day. The antioxidants in rosehip oil combat free radicals that cause damage; vitamin A, combined with the oil’s essential fatty acids, help improve skin tone, texture, and pigmentation. Not to mention it helps improve the appearance of wrinkles, stretch marks, and damaged hair. So, why wouldn’t you use it!?

[Read Related: 17 Coconut Oil Hacks you Need to Add to Your Beauty Regime]

My go-to brand for Rose Hip Oil is by Radha Beauty. They keep it organic, cold-pressed and more importantly, cost efficient!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by k o m a l (@sweetandmasala) on Sep 15, 2017 at 9:01am PDT

But, I recently ran out of my rosehip oil, so I switched it up and decided to try the Pomegranate and Argan Nourishing Oil by Crabtree and Evelyn. First, I’ll start off by saying that it AIN’T cheap. Despite the price, I am totally digging this product!

Argan oil is knowns as “liquid gold” and it contains vitamin E, carotenes, squalene and is rich in unsaturated fatty acids; properties that combine to support intense hydration and moisture. It has a long shelf life, so you don’t have to worry about it going bad, either.

On the other hand, pomegranate oil covers everything that Argan oil doesn’t. It’s rich in “antioxidants, vitamins K and C, potassium, copper, zinc, and iron. It also contains punicic and ellagic acids. Punicic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid while ellagic acid is a natural antioxidant, which alleviates skin wrinkling and inflammation. Pomegranate oil also promotes rejuvenation and fortification of the skin.” The Crabtree and Evelyn Nourishing oil is super light and doesn’t feel greasy or weigh down your skin. There’s nothing worse than feeling like your face is as greasy as those dripping pizzas—you know what I mean? The pizza, when you lift it up, just drips oil—YUCK!

[Read Related: Visha Skincare: Putting South Asian Skin Care First, Even For Mommies — And it’s Toxin-Free]

Coming back to the comparison between a rosehip oil and the pomegranate and argan oil, I want to say that both hydrate and both nourish. Both are packed full of antioxidants and vitamins, are lightweight, and can be used for multiple facets like skin and hair.

So, with all that said, do you still wanna know which one I like better? The Pomegranate and Argan Nourishing Oil by Crabtree and Evelyn. Although they have similar properties, and I would recommend that you try both at one point or another, it’s the smell that steers me towards my choice. It smells SO good! It just reminds me of summer!

So, if you have never tried natural oils before, now is the time. Most oils are natural and don’t contain any of that stuff you just can’t read or pronounce. MAJOR PLUS.

ALSO, natural oils are easily absorbed and not greasy. They have a low potential to clog pores, which makes oils perfect for all skin types. No more sitting in the drugstore aisle looking at the millions of types of lotions for millions of types of skins. Now, I’m not telling you to rid yourself of all lotions–since lotions penetrate your skin they leave it softer and hydrated longer—I use both! Oil for face and neck. Lotion for the body. That’s a good compromise, right?

The post Oil Me Up, Please! The Natural Oils Your Body Needs Right Now appeared first on Brown Girl Magazine.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

“Wow! I wish I had that!”

said one of my male best friends, as one of my female best friends took off her cardigan, revealing her normally hidden arms. It was a humid mid-May afternoon, so naturally, we were all overheating. As we left the air-conditioned halls of our elementary school, I don’t quite know what struck me more intensely—the afternoon sun or my friend’s comment.

Before I continue, let me establish a few things about my male friend.

The male best friend that I am referencing is not some misogynistic, sexist, sociopath. I mean, do you really think we’d be friends if he was? To be clear, no, we wouldn’t. He is, however, a now 14-year-old, 5’9”, a fairly small built and without really knowing it, kind, teenage boy. To clarify, he is not a bad person and is most definitely not someone that I’m “out to get.” Finally, for the sake of narrating this story more easily, I will refer to my male friend as Mr. D for the rest of this piece.

Continuing with my story, on that sunny afternoon due to the discomforting heat, my friend took off her cardigan, revealing her arms with hair on them. Now, this didn’t really phase me as I’m a brown teenage girl with more hair on her petite body than her mama and papa combined. Nevertheless, I wasn’t completely unphased.

[Read Related: Hairy Situations]

However, it wasn’t her arms that struck me, it was, instead, Mr. D’s awkward comment. This comment struck me for a few different reasons which I further unpacked after the initial shock, revealing quite a few hairy truths about the role hair plays in traditional gender roles and many of our insecurities.

First off, Mr, D’s tone when he said “I wish I had that”: It was so genuine, so innocent, so pure that it hurt me, in a sense. What he was saying, he genuinely meant. He wasn’t making a snide comment. He didn’t want to hurt her, he was just saying the first thing that came to his mind.

Society has convinced young boys—that haven’t yet figured out how and when to use apostrophes and commas, and quite frankly, not even the difference between the two—that they need to have hairy arms and an overall hairy body to be considered “a man.” Secondly, his words themselves. Just as much as he could have remained silent, he could’ve made a dumb comment, called her a Wooly Mammoth or just straight-up laughed at her. But, he didn’t. He looked at something she had on her body that to him appeared “masculine” and expressed that it was something he wanted or felt that he needed on his male body.

[Read Related: 11 South Asian Women Break Through the Fashion Barrier by Baring Their Insecurities on Camera]

Was the hair on her arms really that out of the ordinary? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I wax my arms and before I began waxing my arms, I did tend to cover them. Although, I have grown to accept my hair as the growth pattern and volume decreased. And yes, many girls in my school wax their arms or cover them if they aren’t waxed. And yes, the television and film industry basically never display women with hairy arms—or brown women for that matter (which is a conversation for a later date). But, still, was the hair on her arms really worth the double take?

Was there something wrong with the hair on her arms?

Was there something wrong with the hair on my arms?

No, there wasn’t. There was nothing wrong with the hair on her arms nor mine.

Even if there was something wrong with the hair on my body, there’s nothing I can do about it and nothing anyone can or should say about it. Having hairy arms and legs isn’t a choice, it’s been in my genetics for generations.

You, you’ve been here for a mere eye blink of that time so if you have something to say, you can leave my life, but this hair?—it’s been here for generations before me, and it will remain here and pass down to the generations ahead of me.

Sure I can make the decision to wax it, thread it, shave it, laser it and use an infomercial gizmo on it, which, let’s be honest, will come with its own share of judgments. But, at the end of the day, the cost of these options add up over time (even if your mom is paying for it) and don’t have permanent results.

So, the hairy truth is, patriarchy doesn’t like the hair on my arms because it’s emasculating thus leading me to believe that I don’t want hair on my arms because it makes me less feminine. Creating what would appear to be a circle—a circle of insecurity—but is really a downward spiral which we could literally get rid of if everybody just minded their business a little more and stopped paralleling one’s body hair  with “masculinity” and “femininity.”

Having hair on my body isn’t a choice and the appearance of my body isn’t a subject for your voice.

The opinions expressed by the guest writer/blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Brown Girl Magazine, Inc., or any employee thereof. Brown Girl Magazine is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the guest writer/bloggers. This work is the opinion of the blogger. It is not the intention of Brown Girl Magazine to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. If you’d like to submit a guest post, please follow the guidelines we’ve set forth here.

The post A Narrative on Coming Into Terms with My Hairy Reality appeared first on Brown Girl Magazine.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Ramadan, also known as Ramazan, is one of the most special months of the Islamic year when Muslims pray, fast and help those in need. Learning and being a part of different cultures and beliefs from an early age is incredibly important. The introduction of new people, traditions and cultures allows children to learn about diversity and being a part of a celebration observed by other groups.

Here are a few ideas on how to teach, engage, help understand and be a part of the Ramadan celebration:

Books

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sumra | Level Up With Z (@levelupwith_z) on May 16, 2019 at 9:29am PDT

Children’s books are a powerful resource to help your child develop an understanding of Ramadan:

Hands-On Activities

While children’s books open their eyes to a different world, real-world experiences have the most profound influence on what children think and believe. Doing a more hands-on activity can get your child more engaged. Here are a few ways to get involved:

  • Storytime: Attending or hosting a storytime that talks about the celebration can help your child get more involved in the celebration.
  • If you and your children have the opportunity to celebrate Ramadan with a family who practices it, accept the invitation. 
  • Attend Chand Raat Mela, which translates to ‘Night of the Moon’ is an event that celebrates the auspicious time of Ramadan. You and your family can enjoy delicious food, shopping and much more.
[Read Related: How to Have Your Healthiest Ramadan Ever]

Videos

Children spend a lot of time watching cartoons and many educational cartoons help children retain important lessons and information. So let their favorite cartoon characters teach them about Ramadan! 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Lavanya T R (Diva Likes) (@itsdivalikes) on Feb 5, 2018 at 12:15am PST

Be a Role Model

No activity is as potent as the role model of a child’s parent because children learn from adults. A child becomes culturally sensitive and respectful when they see their parents and family being responsive and respectful of other cultures. Learning cultures is one of the best ways to help children empathize with the people around them. Children who learn about other cultures understand that people’s opinions, beliefs and actions may differ from them—but that differences should be embraced rather than being a source of conflict. Children who can empathize with others are more likely to make friends and built conflict-resolution skills that are necessary both in childhood and in adulthood. 

[Read Related: Ramadan Reflections: How I Got the Best of Ramadan with My Children]

One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is the ability to better connect with others and with the world as a whole. This greater connection with the world will help your children make more friends, make better interpersonal connections, and, as they grow up, have a strong grasp of what it means to be an individual in our multicultural society.

The opinions expressed by the guest writer/blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Brown Girl Magazine, Inc., or any employee thereof. Brown Girl Magazine is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the guest writer/bloggers. This work is the opinion of the blogger. It is not the intention of Brown Girl Magazine to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. If you’d like to submit a guest post, please follow the guidelines we’ve set forth here.

The post Tips and Resources to Teach Your Children About Ramadan appeared first on Brown Girl Magazine.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

It’s that time of the week when you make weekend plans. Whether you are in school or playing the 9 to 5 game, it is likely you are confronted with either the desi dating scene or elsewhere. For me, it was either hanging out with my non-Indian roommates who went out to bars near campus or the desi party happening off campus with bhangra to start and a finale of reggae remixes.

After college, it was either salsa nights, the local bars, the busiest night clubs or the desi party. We all know there’s always some party around town that has a desi DJ, promoter or theme. You almost always know someone and can predict the music that will be played. I always thought that my chance to meet single desi guys (and yes, for me this meant American born Desis) was to go out with my girlfriends to the desi scene.

In hindsight, I realized that this plan was really hit or miss. As a coach, I am often asked by single women where the best place to meet men can be, especially when you know that you want to meet someone with a similar cultural background. There are pros and cons to going out to the desi dating scene versus the variety of other places you can meet men. Here is what this means for single brown girls:

[Read Related: For Gurki Basra, Netflix’s ‘Dating Around’ is About Positive Examples of Life After Divorce] Pro: There are Lots of People with Similar Backgrounds.

You know who is likely to attend desi parties. Most of them will be people like you. Brown girls and brown guys who want to enjoy good music and go out with their friends. You won’t have to explain the lyrics, or why (when he eventually meet your parents) your mom insists that he eats more at brunch. He will understand when you don’t get a plus one to your friend’s wedding or that you think Ranbir Kapoor is more romantic than Chris Hemsworth.

Con: Your Friends Already Know Him

Here’s the catch, if you hit it off with someone at a desi party, it’s likely you have mutual friends. The risk is that you may not get to know each other solely based the time you spend together because other’s biases will make their way to your ears even before you leave the bar. Would you still be interested in a guy if you heard your girlfriend say, “He was so scrawny in high school and had the worst haircut,” or “ He dated my other friend and broke it off over text?” Perhaps someone is telling him something irrelevant but potentially influential about you too. None of us were perfect in the past, but two people can connect and be perfect for each other regardless of their pasts.

Pro: Knowing People There Makes You More Relaxed

Knowing what to expect when you show up to a place definitely helps make you more comfortable. If you go out to in the desi scene, you’ll know what to wear, who you’ll show up with and might have been there before. These circumstances will make you more confident, and the best first impressions are made with confidence.

Con: Expectations are High

If you are going there to meet someone, likely so are many others. Despite the confidence and comfort of being there, if everyone is on their best game, the competition is high. Being in a room full of people who may seem similar to you, unfortunately, makes it easier to make assumptions and be conscious of materialistic or stereotypical things.

Pro: Desi Culture is Diverse

You can definitely walk into room full of desi men and find someone who is: artistic, nerdy, sporty, handsome, charming, smart, witty, cultured, educated, hard-working, a gamer, a CEO, or a musician. Of course, there is also all of the cultural diversity in South Asian society; religion, languages, and regional practices make it pretty interesting to meet desi men. Even more interesting is how different one western born desi can be from the next just based on how they were raised by their immigrant families.

Con: You Miss Out on Other Men

All over your town are people going out and meeting others. Studies have shown that up to 40% of the US population does not have friends outside of their race. Yet, there are huge benefits of interracial interactions in the dating scene. You can gain perspective on yourself and the world by opening the doors to new people. Meeting men outside of the desi scene just won’t happen if you don’t have friends outside of it. Plus, if you are more inclined to date outside of your race, but feel that some commonalities will be nice for a long term relationship or marriage, you may be surprised by how many desi’s are also going out and dating desi’s outside of the desi scene.

[Read Related: 12 Common Mistakes Desi Women Make on Their Online Dating Profiles]

For me, it was always a mix that worked. I definitely went out in the desi scene less than most people but I ended up meeting like-minded western born Indians along the way. My American born husband and I met on e-Harmony, which is typically known as a predominantly Caucasian dating site. We hit it off right away and I often commend myself for the out-of-box thinking that led me to try a different dating scene. If I hadn’t tried it, I would not have met my husband who I absolutely adore. I encourage everyone to keep a balance between the desi dating scene and checking out the rest of what’s out there.

The post 6 Pros & Cons of the Desi Dating Scene appeared first on Brown Girl Magazine.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

A witty and irresistible celebration of boundary-breaking recipes written by your new favorite mother-daughter duo is HERE in all its glory. Of course, it includes an innovative desi-American spin, andwhich includes a foreword by host extraordinaire Padma Lakshmi and artwork by the talented Hatecopy.

The recipes come with surprising twists instead of obsessively long ingredient lists or complicated steps and are easy to whip up in 20 minutes.

“Indian-ish”— written by Priya Krishna, who grew up in Dallas, Texas, eating mostly Indian vegetarian dishes cooked by her mom Ritu Krishna — is a trove of one-of-a-kind Indian-American hybrids that are easy to make, clever, practical, and packed with flavor.

Think Roti Pizza (which we made from scratch — read below!), Tomato Rice with Crispy Cheddar, Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Green Pea Chutney, and Malaysian Ramen.

‘Indian-ish’ is a great starter book for anyone who has ever wondered how to make basic Indian food in an American kitchen. So our in-house team of powerhouse foodies — including food editor Nisha and contributors AnnZheel and Megha — took her advice and made the ‘Roti Pizza.’ They — no surprise here — loved every bite but more so, the making of roti into a pizza — both foods we cherish as desi-Americans — was the most fun part.

“What I find beautiful about ‘Indian-ish’ is the representation of Indian food. It’s so playfully captured and pays homage to a hardworking Indian mother who cleverly combined the best of both worlds for her family all on one plate,” Ann Itoop, a first gen South Indian food writer, said.

“What I loved most about the book is how Priya incorporated recipes she’s grown up with along with new twists on traditional Indian meals. ‘Indian-ish’ is perfect for young people who enjoy flavor and are learning to cook and especially for young moms who want to infuse desi flavors in their everyday meals,” Nisha Pawar, a mom trying to pass down her love of Indian food, culture, & lifestyle to her daughter, said.

In addition to trying out a recipe, we also had the chance to interview Priya and learn more insight on how the book came about and how it has shaped her relationship with her mom, the co-author.

What inspired you to write a cookbook?

An editor for another cookbook I had worked on, Power Vegetables, approached me because she had cooked and tasted a bunch of my mom’s recipes and felt like they would make for the perfect modern cookbook about Indian food. As soon as she said this, it totally clicked into place — that there aren’t too many Indian cookbooks out there that (1) tell a really contemporary story about what it means to live in a first-gen/second-gen household, and to be an Indian family in America (2) demonstrate that Indian food is not really all that hard! I wanted this to be super accessible. I wanted someone my age to see this book from across the store and think, This book I meant for me.

What was it like working together as a mother-daughter duo?

For the most part, writing a book with your mom is the best. My mom wrote pretty much wrote all the recipes in the book, and she did an amazing job! She is not a writer by profession (she works in the software world), but she wrote some pretty near-perfect recipes! My mom is also amazing at project managing and helped me stay on task, prioritize, and organize my thoughts.

Most importantly, though, she gave me the kind of support that you want and expect from a mom throughout the whole process. And because she was my co-author, she knew exactly what I was going through. Now I can’t imagine writing ANY cookbook without my mom!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Priya Krishna (@pkgourmet) on Apr 23, 2019 at 6:46am PDT

Do you cook together often? When did it start? What has your bonding experience been like over the years?

For as long as I can remember, my mom has been putting me to work in the kitchen. When I was little, I would clean the green chilies, then as I got older I was doing chopping and grating. When I was in high school, I would bring my homework down to the kitchen and just set up shop on the kitchen island so I could hang out with and talk to my mom while she cooked. Cooking has always been one of the main ways that we have spent time together, even before I became a food writer.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Priya Krishna (@pkgourmet) on May 17, 2019 at 7:22am PDT

Where did the recipes originate? Were the recipes you had passed along to friends and family before putting them on paper?

With the exception of a few sourced from friends and family, they are all recipes my mom developed in the time after she immigrated to the U.S. in 1980. A few of them she had passed along to various cousins and family members who had asked, but for the most part, these were recipes that were being written down for the very first time.

What has the overall process of creating a cookbook been like from start to finish?

Hard! It’s hard at every stage, from coming up with the recipes to the testing to the photo shoot to the promotion. There are so many little decisions you have to make, and each feels monumental. But when you hold the actual book in your hands, it’s awesome.
What’s something you now know about on another that you didn’t know before? That my mom is SO good at project managing! I mean, it is technically her job. But wow, I wish my mom were my boss.

How has this process shaped your relationship with each other?

I have so much more respect for how innovative and innate of a cook she is. She developed these unbelievable recipes while she was working a demanding job and raising two kids. I also think she now understands more about what I do for a living. We’ve never had any food writers in the family, so it’s been hard for her to envision what this job entails. But now she’s gotten a front row seat to the action.

What is your favorite recipe to make at home?

Dahi toast! It’s like an Indian-ish grilled cheese sandwich and I constantly grave them. The crunchy curry leaves that go on top are just insanely good.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Priya Krishna (@pkgourmet) on May 4, 2019 at 12:08pm PDT

What is your go-to take out or indulgent meal?

I could eat pasta for the rest of my life. Bring on the spaghetti and meatballs and cacio e pepe.

Order “Indian-ish” to fulfil your desi cravings here.

The post Fulfill your Desi Cravings With this ‘Indian-ish’ Recipe Book appeared first on Brown Girl Magazine.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Winner of The Asian Women of Achievement Award 2019 in the Arts and Culture category, British comedian Sindhu Vee has come a long way from growing up in the Philippines whilst suffering from a stammer throughout her childhood. Her recent successful debut London tour, “Sandhog” was a hilarious take on everyday domestic turmoils — right through from love to motherhood. The Guardian also quotes that on her debut show, Vee “insightfully dissects the travails of long-term commitment and the tsunami of having children.”

Nominated for best newcomer at the 2018 Edinburgh Comedy Awards, Vee has performed at London’s Apollo Theatre and featured on several comedy shows, namely “Have I Got News For You” and “QI,” whilst also featuring in Channel 4’s comedy sitcom “Bounty” with fellow comedian Tez Ilyas.

Born and raised in India, Vee went on to obtain degrees from New Delhi, Oxford University and the Univerity of Chicago. After basing herself in London working as a banker, the mother of three realised she was ‘deathly’ bored and stumbled into comedy, quickly become a household name. In an exclusive for Brown Girl Magazine, Vee tells us more, 

What makes you laugh?

A lot of things. I’m a laugher (I’m also a cry-er – good to be in balance). But usually it’s something dark or irreverent…the kind of thing some say one shouldn’t laugh at. Recently I was trading racial and political insults with Eshaan Akbar, also a comic, my close friend and of Pakistani-Bangladeshi descent. I mean, I’m from India and he’s from those places so it stands to reason we have to go all out when we see each other. It got so bad that a (white) British comic who was in the vicinity got up and fled. Eshaan and I are still laughing at that reaction. 

When did you realise you were funny?

My ‘funniness’ has always been an issue, it’s always been on the agenda, and not necessarily in a good way. Before high school, I was told off a lot for always trying to be funny. This is pretty much the opposite of being told you are funny. My name and ‘funny’ being put in the same sentence started like this. In high school, I said things and behaved in ways that I knew would help me to get airtime with the cool kids. They thought I was funny, I was just happy they thought about me. Being funny was something others saw in me. I didn’t see it. It was only in my early 20s that I began to notice myself as the person who walked into a room and said things that made people laugh — over and above any other response from people, this is the one I went for. And I went for it pretty consistently. 

[Read Related: U.K. Asian Film Festival Screens ‘Pinky Memsaab’ at the Prestigious BAFTA]

Vee left her life as a banker — she loved her work but it was too heartbreaking for her to be away from her kids 12 hours a day. It was only later in life that Vee realised she was funny. However, her attitude is simple and brave.

It was a slightly wild thing to do but I didn’t tell anyone and had nothing to lose really from getting on stage one time and jabbering at people. It was crazy but low touch – perfect for what I needed at the time.

[Read Related: U.K. Theatre Director Pooja Ghai Tackles Family, Friendship and Power in ‘Approaching Empty’] How did your stutter as a child affect your confidence?

Stammering was the bane of my life into my early teens but it was also something that never stopped me from trying to talk. My desire to speak was so incredibly strong that I just powered through. I was always a bit of a loser-y kid so getting flack for my stammer was just one more thing in the basket of daily flack. God knows why it didn’t make me shut up. By the time I was in my early teens, I understood that my stammer was triggered by certain letters so I worked on my vocabulary and became proficient in sidestepping trigger words in real time, as I spoke. This masked the stammer and by my late teens/the early 20s it was as pretty much gone. Sometimes even now I can feel it poking around in my throat when I am about to go on stage, but I know better than to worry. 

Do your children see you perform?

No, they haven’t seen me, except for a few TV clips. They are generally quite mortified that I’m on TV. Nothing more. I like it this way. I don’t want them to take too much interest in what I’m talking about. Better they focus on their studies. 

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Doing more of the same but better at it.

Details of the 2019 Sandhog tour can be found at www.sindhuvee.com.

The post How Award-Winning British Comedian Sindhu Vee Overcame her Stutter and Found Success Through Stand-Up Comedy appeared first on Brown Girl Magazine.

Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview