My love for fusion

I absolutely love anything that is a fusion of Indian and American styles. I can’t really explain why, other than that it is so quintessentially me.

I have just as many garba/bhangra/Hindi film tracks on my iPhone as I do Britney, Maroon 5, and Nicki Minaj. I enjoy chaat just as much as I love In-N-Out. My Netflix queue consists of Hindi movies and Gossip Girl. Fusion is just who I am.

Here are my favorite fusions in dance, music, and food.

Dance

I discovered this video a few months ago via Facebook and have yet to tire from it. The classical song selection remixed and paired with hip hop is brilliant. It doesn’t hurt that the dancers are amazing. My favorite part is in the first song when the beat kicks in. So, so good!

Music

This mash up of Nicki Minhaj’s Super Bass and Mission Kashmir’s Bumbro is my current jam. I first heard this song featured on the Curry Smugglers (who are awesome! Check them out.) and I was instantly hooked.

Food

Okay, I love food so after much debating I’ve decided that my favorite Indian-American fusion food is tandoori pizza. Pizza is amazing by itself, but tandoori pizza adds such a kick that it takes pizza up a few notches. Besides don’t pizzas called paneer tikka or mango chaat make your mouth water?

Some of my other fusion favorites:

I found this cake on Pinterest and immediately repinned it with the caption “My future wedding cake”. Jokes aside, I love the mehendi-like designs on these cakes. They look almost too pretty to eat.

There is no better Indian-American fusion book than The Namesake. This is the book that started the Desi lit genre. It’s one of my all-time favorite books and it’s what cemented Jhumpa Lahiri as one of my favorite authors.

Do you like fusion? Why or why not? What are some of your favorite things in fusion? (It doesn’t have to be only Indian American fusion.) I’d love to hear your thoughts!

PS – I thought it interesting to note that I was inspired to write this blog post during this morning’s work out. Don’t you love it when inspiration strikes at the unlikeliest of times? I sure do. 🙂

Branding

For those of you reading this post, please look at the address bar. Yep that is correct, I have my own domain: http://amisampat.com.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, especially after I revived this blog a few months ago.

I bought the domain on 11/11/11 and considering I’m not an engineer, it took me a while to figure everything out. But I got it! 🙂

I’m pretty excited, because I am finally starting to create a brand for myself. This is especially important in the marketing/social media field, which I hope to one day find myself in. Having read countless articles about branding and how it helps boost your visibility, I am glad to have taken the first steps.

Next up, I need help in making my site prettier! Any graphic designers want to help me out? I promise to pay you with an abundance of baked goods. 🙂

What caste are you?

Despite being born and raised in the US, I know a great deal about the Indian culture. I can speak Gujarati. I know the story of the Ramayana and Mahabharat. I have some shloks (prayers) memorized. I’ve read a lot about Indian history and have done kathak (Indian classical dance) for 12 years.

I was getting my make-up done for my brother’s garba-raas event (an Indian folk dance). The girl was an Indian-American (like me), just a few years older. While putting on my foundation she asks, “What caste are you?” I honestly replied, “I don’t know.”

I was taken aback by the question. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that before from someone in my own generation. What does it matter, especially here in America?

She then said “Oh you are so cute”, which annoyed me. I could tell she thought I was a naive little girl, but caste has never been a big factor in my life. I know I’ve asked my parents what our caste is on numerous occasions, but they themselves are not concerned with it. Therefore it was never anything important enough that I felt the need to remember.

It has never been a restriction for me. I’ve never been told I only have to marry only within my caste..in fact, my parents themselves didn’t.

It makes me wonder why this girl who was born and raised in the States was so interested in knowing my caste. Perhaps she just meant it to be small talk or maybe she was genuinely interested. If these are the questions she asks during small talk, well then…that’s a whole other blog post.

Does it make me a bad Indian for not knowing my caste? I don’t think so! It’s an outdated practice that has no place in the US and now has no relevance in big cities in India.

Has caste played a big part in your life? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Historical Fiction

I’m currently reading Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) which is a mix of her memoir and a compilation of essays about her life. I’m not really into non-fiction books, but Kaling is one of the few South Asian women on television these days, and she’s hilariously brilliant so I had to support.

However, in recent years my favorite genre has been historical fiction (with a particular focus on South Asian history). I love history and I love stories, so it’s the best mix of both worlds. Two of my favorite books are Beneath the Marble Sky and Veil of Roses. 

Beneath the Marble Sky, by John Shors, takes place during the Mughal Empire and the building of the Taj Mahal. I enjoyed reading about the richness of the Indian culture at that time. The fiction aspect deals with Emperor Shah Jahan’s daughter, who falls in love with the architect of the Taj Mahal.

Veil of Roses, by Laura Fitzgerald, tells the story of a young Iranian woman who comes to America with the hope of starting a new life. It was so interesting to read about life in Iran is so restricted and what the Ayatollah is like.

Another good read is The Twentieth Wife, by Indu Sundaresan.

Next I plan to read Partitions, a novel written by my friend’s husband about the India-Pakistan partition.

Do you have a favorite historical fiction book? What genre do you enjoy reading?

Where I’ve Been

I’ve abandoned the blog these past few weeks, but I’m back now. My brother got married a week and a half ago, so I was a tad bit busy with that!

My big brother and I on his wedding day!

The four days were an absolute blast filled with fun events, lots of pretty outfits, hair and make-up, dancing, and of course being surrounded by family and friends! Looking back, it all feels like one giant blur. Unfortunately, the minute all the festivities ended my body crashed, literally. All I did for a week was sleep, sleep and sleep. I couldn’t keep my eyes open for very long and ate very minimal. I lost weight. I was miserable.

Fortunately, things are on the upswing now in that I am able to stay awake. I still have very little energy, a bad cough/cold, and little appetite but I am able to enjoy the fun part of being sick now.

You know what I mean- being able to rest, take multiple naps throughout the day, catch up on all the TV shows I missed, and read a fun book. I just downloaded Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” on my kindle and it’s hysterical!

However, I am going kind of stir crazy since I haven’t left the house or worn anything other than sweats this past week. I can’t wait to become a presentable looking human being again and not to mention a productive member of society.

While in the depths of my exhaustion last week, I decided I would treat myself to something fun and/or nice. I desperately needed a pick me upper! Well, when my brother and sister-in-law returned home for a night after their honeymoon, they got me a sweet card and a gift certificate for 2 baking classes at a cooking school in San Francisco. 🙂 I think they felt guilty I got so sick from their wedding (they better -just kidding), but I’m so excited! I’m thinking of signing up for the holiday cookie class — that would be so fun.

Anyway, I hope you all have been doing well and I am looking forward to regularly blogging again!