Thursday night I gave a talk at Tufts University’s Asian American Center to a predominantly undergraduate student population, many of whom were second-generation Indian-American Hindus. We touched on topics such as dating, eastern versus western values, mixed marriages, inter-generational conflict and the many ways one can formulate one’s identity in a two-hour event which also included delicious catering from a local Indian restaurant.
Category Archives: Events
For the first of two speaking events at Tufts University, I spoke to Professor Grace Talusan’s “Asian American Perspectives” freshman composition class about the writing process behind critical, analytical essays versus memoir writing. We also discussed how “everything is a text” (billboards, clothing, etc.) and in what contexts the skills we learn and hone in the university classroom are applicable to the “real world”. It was a pleasure talking about the writing process and meeting Professors Talusan’s diverse and engaged writing students.
On Tuesday the 28th of September, I gave a talk to Columbia University’s Hindu Students Organization. After indulging in some delicious spinach-naan bread, reading an excerpt from the book, explaining my research methodology and giving a brief summary of each chapter and some key findings, the event concluded with a Q&A session, perhaps the best I’ve ever had at the end of a BW event. Although “BW” is about love relationships and weddings, more than half of my audience was male and most of the questions were from the young men in the audience. I was really impressed by the audience’s inquisitiveness: questions ranged from asking about how caste and regional identity factored in choosing a spouse to inquiring about related areas of research that need to be explored. Thanks for Nina P. at the HSO for hosting me and Chaitanya M. for photographing the event.
Tonight I have a talk at The Nehru Centre, the cultural wing of the High Commission of India. It’s aim is to foster a continuous, varied and meaningful dialogue between India and Britain. The majority of audience members were first-generation immigrants from India and young women looking for a spouse. After the talk, the conversation was quite lively – a few parents asked me why their children are so “disrespectful”; some of the unmarried women asked me to describe the difference between the Indian communities in England and America. Afterwards, I talked to Jazmine Labana about her exhibition of paintings, “The Journey”, which is on display at the centre this week.
On Thursday the first of April, Aicon Gallery London in Mayfair hosted Kavita Ramdya’s “Bollywood Weddings” book launch. Guests celebrated the vibrance of Indian popular culture and the arts at the UK and Europe’s largest gallery dedicated to promoting contemporary South-Asian art. The gallery is currently showing “Royale with Cheese”, works by modernist South-Asian artists similarly invested, interested and inspired by popular culture (Ashish Avikunthak, Sarnath Banerjee, Debnath Basu, Simon Bedwell, David Blandy, Shezad Dawood, Simon Linke and Sadequain). Special thanks to Niru Ratnam and Jagroop Mehta for hosting the event at Aicon Gallery London and Mala KV and Rakesh Mathur for their photography.
Click here to read a “News in Brief” about this event in the “Mayfair Times“.
Last Friday afternoon I guest spoke on the BBC Network Asian Network. Satnam Rana, the radio talk show host, centered the debate around Sunaina Roshan, Bollywood actor Hrithik’s sister, who recently eloped. Satnam asked listeners to dial in and share their personal stories and express opinions answering the question, “Could you get married without the support of your family?” Click here to listen to excerpts (approximately four minutes).
March is Women’s History Month. This afternoon I participated in the Women’s Library’s first ever “Wise Words Bookfest”, a series of panels produced by Alternative Arts to celebrate “women writers, artists and performers”. The first panel discussed “Dowry”, a series of essays written by South Asian women. Needless to say, the discussion couldn’t be more different from my presentation about “Bollywood Weddings”. Although my audience was a diverse one, it was a little disconcerting that among the attendees I counted two men total – I should think that men would find women’s writing a great source for insight about the opposite sex…