1. What does it mean to resist? When our head interferes with our heart, in our art, when our flow is interrupted, when there is disruption in our receptivity, we are resisting.
  2. Writing itself is resistance.
  3. I went to Barefoot College in Tilonia, one of the poorest villages in rural India. I saw puppets educating elders on matters of social justice and musicians educating children on social change.
  4. A kathak dancer, Mallika Sarabhai goes to villages all over India. She educates women on menstrual hygiene through theatre.
  5. I vomited on stage, an Aftertaste of my arrival in America. It was a play about the international experience.
  6. When I was seven, I wrote an angry letter to my grandfather when he wouldn’t listen. We cannot talk back, we need to respect our elders my culture preaches. I scrunched my letter into a ball and threw it at him. He threw it out of the window.
  7. I spoke about reclaiming my voice, my accent at Naropa.
  8. My parents challenge customer care representatives everytime they answer the phone. My parents’ accent “confuses them”. Dear America, must you only understand the norm?
  9. “What is the relevance of writing? Will it get you a job?” my father said.
  10. I speak perfect English. Are you waiting for me to talk in Hindi, will that make me more exotic? Will that make my activism special? Chutiye saale
  11. Two Indian Americans speak about the terror attacks in a school in Peshawar in broken Hindi at a silent vigil. My friend from Pakistan walks out. Must we always voice that which we don’t understand?
  12. Must we always have a cause to resist?
  13. Can’t we just lie down on the grass and enjoy this sunny day?
  14. Please don’t call my approach radical.


Dear fear,

Dear guilt,

Dear confusion,

Dear Youtube,

Dear Buzzfeed,

Dear Superwoman,

Dear Justin Bieber,

Dear Miley Cyrus,

Dear chronic backpain,

Dear insomnia,

Dear depression,

Dear weed,

Dear uncle,

Dear ex lover,

Dear future lover,

Dear Ria,

Dear Pema Chodron,

Dear Anne Waldman,

Dear Reed Bye,

Dear CA Conrad,

Dear Jane,

Dear Liat,

Dear John,

Dear money,

Dear woman,

Dear mother,

Dear Vassar,

Dear Social Justice Warriors,

Dear activists,

Dear Buddhists,

Dear white people,

Dear Americans,

Dear Indians,

Dear junk food,

Dear porn,

Dear Mom and Dad,

Dear Dada,

Dear incomplete sentences,


It was on that night that I was proved wrong…

I was scared… dubious… I couldn’t trust anyone. I always felt the need to rebel against my parents. I don’t know why, but I interpreted their advice as a command and squirmed at the thought that they were exercising control over me. All along I longed for support. I longed for love; I longed for care. My mistrusting nature kept me from being happy. As a result, I was lonely… But it was on that night when I lay between my parents that I realized how wrong was.

They had returned love for my hate and kind words for my sharp ones. Despite my many blunders, they continued to believe in me. Despite the fights and temper tantrums, they continued to think of me as their darling daughter. I was indebted to them for life and no gift could compensate for their love. I knew that I couldn’t continue  to be hostile anymore.

My mother patted my back while my father lovingly stroked my hair. I struggled to keep my face straight as my throat choked with emotion. The tears threatened to start their downpour at any minute. Seeing no other way of escape, I tiptoed out of their room.

As I closed their door, I took one last look at them and muttered, “Thank you.”