Women of the World

I traveled to India and Singapore last fall. Before I left, I decided to attempt street photography for the first time. I wanted to capture images of how women and girls, halfway around the world, lived their lives. Here are some of those photos.

Pop Culture, with a Twist

It’s been a while since I updated this little old blog of mine..I’ve always had the intentions of writing a post but was going through a bit of a writers block. Anyway, I’m back and talking about some of my recent favorites in the media/entertainment/pop culture realm.

Jane the Virgin

I’m ashamed to admit that I dropped the ball on this show and only started watching it over the holidays. Jane the Virgin is the story of a twenty something woman (and a virgin) who gets artificially inseminated at a routine gyno check up. I know the plot sounds like a telenovela and that’s half the fun. The show pokes fun at its dramatic, telenovela ways many times.

More than that, what I love about the show is that the cast is mostly people of color and one of the main characters (the grandmother) speaks only Spanish! It’s a smart, refreshing, and funny show. Not at all something I expected from the CW but I am pleasantly surprised. Oh yeah, and who can forget when they mentioned immigration reform and urged the viewers to look it up?

I missed the Golden Globes this year but when I heard that Gina Rodriguez (who plays Jane) won for Best Actress, I immediately looked up her speech.

“This award is so much more than myself..it represent a culture that wants to see themselves as heros.”

I need more people I know to watch it so I can gush with them about it. So get to it!

Chrissy Teigen

Okay, this girl is one of my all time favorites. She rose to the top of my list pretty quickly..pretty much after one day of me following her on Twitter and Instagram. She’s smart, absolutely hilarious, amazingly witty, and always has a comeback to those that are downright rude or mean to her on social media. She’s a model that loves to eat (!) and she seems to have the best relationship ever with her husband, John Legend. See what I mean? She doesn’t shy away from hot topics like gun control but never takes herself too seriously.

There’s something really refreshing about a woman (a supermodel no less who are generally paid to shut up and look pretty) speak her mind without any hesitation.

Gilmore Girls

There are no words to describe how much I love this show. Most of my friends know this already to the point that I had multiple people inform me when Netflix decided to finally add it to Instant. I watched it the day it came out (October 1st, best day ever) and I’m still making my way through the series (for the second time).

It is weird..I was Rory’s age when I watched the show for the first time and now as I’m watching it again I’m closer in age to Lorelai. I remember relating so well to Rory when it came to high school drama, the whole college admissions process, and moving away from home for the first time. Now I find myself in a similar boat as Lorelai (minus the having a kid bit) what with wanting to figure out her career and working on settling down. I think this really speaks to how well made this show is that I can watch it 15+ years later and still have it speak to me, albeit in a completely different way.

Not everything has changed, though. I am still gushing over Jess and Luke like I did when I was 16 and I still don’t want to talk about season 6. Not now, not ever.

Are you watching Jane the Virgin or Gilmore Girls? I’d love to hear your take on the shows!

Return of the Blog

I’ve been telling my friends and family for a long time now how I want to blog again and I’ve been telling myself the same thing for even longer. It’s been a little less than two years since my last post, so please bare with me as I get back into the groove of things.

Last week I read an article in which the Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi says that women can’t have it all. As we enter our late twenties (gulp) this topic has come up amongst my group of friends a few times. And yet, none of us are married and we definitely don’t have kids. I think this goes to show just how much “having it all” is something that is on every young woman’s mind, no matter what stage they are in life.

While I do respect Nooyi’s candor, women are so often told that they can’t pursue certain careers, hold positions of power, or even worse, they grow up internalizing these same beliefs, that for her (especially as a South Asian woman) to state women can’t have it all does nothing to contribute to the conversation. Instead it makes us women believe that this is our fate and that nothing we can do will change that. I wouldn’t want Nooyi to lie and say that having it all is easy, but she should keep in mind that she is a role model for many and that her words have an impact.

It is also worth noting that these kinds of questions are asked to women only. You never hear of a male CEO getting asked how he balances his career and family life. It’s a shame that it’s 2014 and yet these same questions are being asked. The way that we portray gender and gender roles in the media is something that desperately needs fixing.

What do you think of Nooyi’s interview?

The Mindy Project

I’ve long since been a fan of Mindy Kaling, from her work as Kelly Kapoor on The Office to her recent book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me. But what I’m most excited about is her newest venture, The Mindy Project, where she is the first Indian American to star AND write in her own show. That is a pretty huge deal!

I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in an area that is tolerant, liberal, and open-minded but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get asked some inane questions like “Do you speak Indian?” or my personal favorite “No, but like where are you really from?” after I mention that I was born in the US.

Even though it premiered last night, I caught the pilot online a few weeks ago. I loved it and I found it especially refreshing that it represented Indian Americans exactly as we are: just like everyone else. No we don’t have accents nor do we have arranged marriages.

Did you see the pilot? What did you think? If you haven’t seen it yet or read her book, I highly recommend that you do!

Mindy Kaling has made it in an industry where there are so few minorities and women, which is not an easy feat.

And because this video says it better than I ever could:

Book Review: The Secret Daughter

I remember the first Desi lit book I read – it was Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier. From then on I went to read books like The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri and Arranged Marriage by Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee.

Recently, I read The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda which has been on my list to read for a while. I loved the book. It touched on many various and deep topics such as female infanticide, adoption, and cultural clashes. Despite that, the book felt like a very easy thanks to Gowda’s simple writing style. I also loved that part of the book was based in the Bay Area.

I would definitely recommend people to read The Secret Daughter. I finished it over the course of a few days because I was really drawn to the characters and the story line. It got a bit emotional at certain points, at which I had to stop reading while on the train unless I wanted to be that awkward person on BART (no thanks).

Have you read The Secret Daughter? What did you think? What are you currently reading?

This and That

It’s been ages since I last updated the blog. The main reason for my lack of posts is the fact that I recently started a new job. I’ve been busy adjusting to a new schedule, the commute, and of course the job itself. I just finished two weeks there and I’m happy to report that I’m loving every minute of it.

When I’m not at work, here are some things I’ve been watching, reading, and listening to.

Watching: Scandal, Thursdays at 10 PM on ABC: Created by Shonda Rhimes of Grey’s Anatomy fame this show is about a crisis management firm in DC. It is loosely based on George H.W. Bush’s crisis aide, Judy Smith, who also dealt with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. It’s a really fast-paced show and I’m loving the fact that the main character is a woman.

Reading: I finished reading Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity. I don’t normally enjoy non-fiction books, but this was an eye-opening look into life in a Mumbai slum. As I was reading it, I had to remind myself that this is not a fiction book and that everything Boo writes about is factual.

Currently I’m reading The Girl Who Played With Fire, the sequel to The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. I’m only a few chapters in but I’ve already deemed it my commute book, rather than the one I read at night before I go to sleep. The subject matter is really dark and disturbing, although it promises to be an interesting mystery/thriller.

Listening: Here are some of my current favorite tracks, which I’ve been listening to on repeat. The beats are so catchy that I have to restrain myself from dancing while on the train or at work!

Justin Bieber’s Boyfriend (Don’t judge!)

Culture Shock ft Nindy Kaur – Save the World

What have you been reading, watching, listening to?

By the way, I recently wrote a guest post on the blog, Lipstick and Politics which you can read here.