Book Review: Modern Romance

I figured I would reviwe another book by an Indian American author – Aziz Ansari’s, Modern Romance. I picked up the book when I was in Portland earlier this summer on a visit to the amazing Powell Books. I was excited to read it as I like Aziz and the topic is very relatable.


When I think about how much technology has changed the way we do, well everything, in just the last five years I get a little taken aback. So much has changed in such a short amount of time! Dating has essentially been the same since the beginning of time, so these last few years have basically changed the game. People are still trying to understand the “rules” (spoiler: there are none) so Aziz’s book is very timely.

Modern Romance focuses on the dilemma facing millennials everywhere: with so many apps and websites that make it easier to meet others, why are people still struggling to find a partner? It’s never been easier to meet people than it is now, so why are people settling down later or not at all? There are lots of reasons for this, such as the changing role and expectation of women in recent years. Now it is considered normal for women to live alone and work outside the home, focusing on their career, whereas just twenty years ago that would have been unheard of.

Aziz also focuses on the illusion of choice and how maybe having too many options isn’t the best thing. He uses the example of an average looking guy who stumbles across the dating profile of a good looking girl, who is smart, funny, basically the whole package yet he decides not to message her. When Aziz’s questions the guy, he responds that the girl is a Red Sox fan whereas he isn’t.

Knowing so much information about a person is nice because you can make sure you’re looking for the same things, but it is also a double edged sword. We place a lot of emphasis on little details that essentially have little to no value in determining compatibility. This is interesting to me — people are layered individuals with many different qualities and characteristics. And yet we place so much value on what people say online. We read a person’s Facebook or OkCupid profile and think we know them when we are probably just scratching the surface.

I was actually very impressed with the way Aziz wrote Modern Romance. It’s a leap for a comedian to write such a book, but he did it very well. In true Aziz fashion there are some jokes sprinkled here and there throughout the book. The thing I loved the most was how well researched it was. Aziz enlisted the help of Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist who teaches at NYU. It’s rich with data and stats if you like that sort of thing (I do) as well as personal anecdotes from people around the world.

So, if you’ve ever wondered why he hasn’t texted you back in 2 days or why she just texted you a pizza emoji, then this book is definitely for you. Don’t expect Aziz to solve your problems, but rather find comfort in the fact that you’re not alone!

If you like reading about how people meet and communicate with each other, then you should pick this book up as well! I don’t do audio books, but if you enjoy them you listen to this book since it’s voiced by Aziz himself.

Have you read Modern Romance? What did you think?

Why Not Me?

I’ve only been waiting for Mindy Kaling’s second book to come out the minute I finished her first, Why is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). So I was pretty excited when Why Not Me? finally released on September 15th. I received the book in the mail on Thursday evening and by Friday evening, I had finished. It was a fun, easy read with a variety of essays that I felt I could relate to on many levels.

So those that know me, know that I am a Mindy Kaling fan. I love her show and basically anything she does. I suppose this doesn’t come as a surprise as like Kaling, I am an Indian-American woman with immigrant parents. Seeing someone that looks like you and has had a similar upbringing become a prominent figure in American media is pretty cool. It’s not something I was able to see on my TV when I was growing up, so it makes me happy that younger Desi girls have someone like Kaling on their screens.

While her first book focused on her life story and how she made it in the television industry, her second book is really all over the place, but not in a bad way. It feels like you’re actually reading her diary or meeting up with her for drinks. The essays range from what you should bring to her dinner party (if she ever has one), a hilarious look at what her life would be like had she not become a writer/actress, a motivating piece on confidence, and a day in the life of Mindy Kaling (with pictures!).

It’s an in-between kind of book, for this in-between time in her life. She talks about the success she’s encountered since the last book (namely The Mindy Project), but she also touches on the fact that many of her friends are now married and having kids while she isn’t. It’s something I could definitely relate to (sadly, not the part about having a hit TV show though!).

I suppose it’s cliche for an Indian girl like me to like Kaling, but reading her book just made me realize why I like her so much and it isn’t entirely because of our shared background. She’s real and honest. She knows that she does not fit the ideal Hollywood standard of beauty and she definitely knows some people despise her because of that fact. She admits how it bothers her, as she is human after all, and how she has days where she feels very low. That kind of openness is very refreshing to read and not something a lot of actresses or people in general will share.  It’s especially nice to read because in Desi culture a lot of “taboo” things, like failure and low self-confidence are not really discussed.

Kaling can admit to feeling down but also share her recipe for confidence and neither statement negates the other. Being vulnerable and sharing the good and the bad only emphasizes how normal these feelings are. It’s also okay to not fit the mold and to be different. There’s value in that.

When Kaling talks about her confidence, the line that struck out to me the most was: Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled

It often feels like entitlement is a bad word or quality to have, and while I agree that I try to steer clear from feeling entitled, in this scenario it makes so much sense. Many young women often feel like even if they have worked hard, they shouldn’t feel entitled to anything. But if you really know what you are talking about and have proved your expertise, you should absolutely feel entitled. Entitlement means having the confidence and belief in knowing what you deserve and going after it – something that I think young women (including myself) can never hear too little of!

While I highly recommend reading the entire book, if you are interested in hearing more about Kaling’s thoughts on confidence and bravery, check out this expert that was post on Glamour a few weeks ago.

Have you read Why Not Me? What are your thoughts on the book?


To say I was hesitant to watch a Lifetime show is an understatement. But wherever I turned I was seeing the buzz for UnREAL, especially upon it’s renewal for a second season. Since I was in the need for a new summer show (I had been rewatching Parks and Rec, #amiproblems?), I decided to give UnREAL a REAL shot. Besides I’ve been a Shiri Appleby fan since Roswell, so I knew I had to watch for her alone.

 The setting is a fictional reality show dating competition (think The Bachelor) and the characters are the cast and crew. It’s a smart look at the reality show industry. You realize how the contestants are manipulated to act certain ways that will result in the biggest drama and therefore the higher ratings. Each contestant is immediately given a persona by the production crew, ie the virgin, the villain, the single mom, and so on.

UnREAL is an eye-opening look at the brutalities of reality shows.  It’s cruel, calculating, and probably not too far-fetched to imagine that similar things happen on actual reality shows. There’s also moments of sharp humor and wit to balance out the drama.

I would say I am enjoying UnREAL so far. It’s a smart show with a gripping underlying message – reality isn’t always what it seems. Have you been watching UnREAL this summer? What are your thoughts?

Lessons from Muni

I’ve been riding Muni (the local San Francisco bus) for over two years now. There’s never a dull moment and you’re always bound to disembark with a story. Here are some lessons I’ve learned while riding the bus:

– Don’t cut your nails on the bus. I assumed this was a unspoken rule, but apparently not. No one needs to hear the sound of nails being clipped or having nails strewn all over the bus. So just don’t do it.

– Respect the personal space. If there are ample seats on the bus, there is no need for you to sit next to me.

– Don’t sit on the outer seat of the bus if the inner seat is available. I will come sit on the inside seat, with my purse and other bags hitting you in the face, while most likely stepping on your foot. It’s so much easier for you and me if you just slide over.

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– Be accommodating. No one dreams of being on a crowded Muni. So try to make things easier for everyone and be accommodating. Move to the back of the bus, slide on over so a fellow passenger can get a better grip of the pole, make yourself as flat as possible when people are trying to exit, etc. These things may be small, but they really help and I’m always appreciative when I am on the receiving end of them.

I spent a long time being annoyed or irritated when I was on Muni. But then I realized I rode it every morning and evening and I had a bitter Muni taste in my mouth long after I got off at my stop and that was no way to start/end my day. I realized that just as I didn’t like Muni, nor does anyone else (I know, duh). Once I had this quite obvious revelation, riding Muni has been more tolerable.

– Lastly, Muni has taught me that there are so many different types of people out there. It is so easy to be in your own little bubble and only associate with people of the same profession, socioeconomic status, age group, race, etc. Living in the city and subsequently riding Muni has opened my eyes to the different ways people live their lives. You see people that are young, old, professionals, retired, happy, sad, and so on. You see them every morning and every evening, wondering where they are going and where they are coming from. What a ride.

Young Adult Fiction for Adults

Ironically enough, as I approached my late 20s I became more and more interested in the young adult fiction genre of books. Growing up, all I would read was The Babysitter’s Club and then I progressed onto Sweet Valley High. While they were fun books to read as a high schooler, they seem like nothing compared to the young adult books being written today. The Fault in Our Stars, Paper TownsEleanor and Park, and most recently, Fangirl are just some examples.

What I love about these books is that the main character is almost always a misfit or an outcast in their high school. Yet that doesn’t faze them one bit. They are confident and fully embrace their quirks. Some come from happy families, and some not so much. It’s quite a drastic contrast from the Wakefield twins and the world of Sweet Valley I was accustomed to as a teenager.


Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell (now one of my favorite authors), tells the story of twin sisters who are in their first year of college. Cath writes fan fiction for a Harry Potter like saga called Simon Snow and resists change, so adjusting to college life is a struggle for her. Meanwhile her twin Wren is having the time of her life, attending parties, and meeting many new people. Sad, confused, and feeling like she doesn’t belong Cath continues to do what she loves to do: write. She doesn’t change who she is to fit in and by the end of the book she’s found like-minded people who care for her just as she is – a valuable lesson to learn no matter if you are 18 or 28.

As a 28 year old, books like Fangirl might be considered a guilty pleasure for me but I feel like that does them a disservice. These are the types of books I would encourage my nieces to read as they get older. They are genuinely well-written books, with engaging, well-liked characters, and a cozy, comfy plot. They make you feel those warm fuzzies; they make you cry and they leave you so engrossed you just might miss your bus stop (more than once).

Have you read any recent young adult books? Did you enjoy them or not?

Diversity on TV

I feel like it’s been a really good year in terms of diversity in television shows on primetime networks. Considering it’s 2015, I would say it’s about time! Along with Jane the Virgin (which I talked about previously), I’ve recently started watching and enjoying Fresh Off the Boat and Black-ish.

Fresh Off the Boat is about a Taiwanese family and the struggles they face trying to achieve the American Dream. It’s devoid of cultural stereotypes (for example, one of the kids loves rap music), accurately portrays the confusion many immigrants face, while also being hilariously funny. Another thing I enjoy about this show is that it’s based in the 90s, which feels like an ode to the greatest decade.

It’s a relatable show for any immigrant or children of immigrants. In this week’s episode the oldest son is forced to be friends with the only other Chinese guy in his class, except they have nothing in common. It’s really refreshing to see a show that doesn’t portray all minorities as similar.

Black-ish is about an African-American family that is trying to keep the Black culture alive with their children. Again, it’s a show devoid of stereotypes (the mother is a doctor and the father is high up at an advertising agency) but maintains its authenticity. It’s pretty awesome to see the mother wear her hair au naturale and curly. (It was only after reading this article that I realized we usually only see straight-haired women on TV!)

Do you enjoy Fresh off the Boat and Black-ish? What are some similar types of shows out there? I’d love to know so I can check them out!

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.