Indians on TV

I finished watching Aziz Ansari’s TV show “Master of None” on Netflix a while ago. I loved his character on Parks and Recreation, and the message put across in this new show makes me love it just as much. Aziz Ansari is not afraid to call society out on it’s issues, and that’s why my favorite episode is “Indians on TV.”

In this episode, Dev (played by Aziz Ansari) is confronting the issue of race head on as he tries to land a lead role on a TV show with another Indian actor. A TV executive says “there can only be one” sparking a debate about the representation of Indians on TV and the arbitrary number of Indian actors allowed before it’s known as an “Indian show.” According to the white executives, there can only be one Indian character in order for the show to be popular in mainstream media.

This episode has got me thinking about the lack of representation I see in our media of Indian people. Masters of None does a great job of not only including many Indian characters, but also an overall diverse cast. However, this show is an anomaly. Off the top of my head I can only think of a few Indian characters in TV shows that are popular in the US; Mindy Lahiri from The Mindy Project and Cece from New Girl. There are probably more that I’m missing, but these are the only two that jump out at me right now. As you can see, there is a huge problem with the amount of non-stereotypical Indians on TV right now, which is why I was glad to see Priyanka Chopra land a spot on FOX networks Quantico. Not only did she land a spot on TV, but she landed the leading role. As an Indian American I love seeing her on TV. I grew up in California speaking English, so to see Chopra’s character on Quantico live a life not defined by her heritage is refreshing because it’s so relatable.

Besides these few characters, there is normally no one in the media to represent people like me, which I honestly didn’t think was a big deal until I started watching videos on YouTube. I’ve been interested in beauty videos, watching lots of makeup and hair tutorials. I find watching them interesting, but trying to recreate the looks is nearly impossible because most of the people I watch are white. When I try makeup that they recommended or try to recreate a hair style I love on them, I have to remember that my skin color is darker than theirs and my hair is darker and thicker. It’s discouraging to have no one to look to, no one to represent my body type or skin tone.

I recently saw this article on Buzzfeed about PoC, female, and LGBTQ+, representation in the media. The article showed the positive effects of diverse representation on people growing up surrounded by a lack of representation. I loved reading this post and seeing everyone’s comments about how seeing themselves represented on TV had the biggest impact on their younger selves.

However, it made me realize yet again, that the progress of representation doesn’t extend to Indians. The progress that has been made is great, but it hasn’t gotten to the point where I can see myself reflected across multiple media sources, like TV, movies, etc.

I brought this up to my dad once and told him that everything in the media is focused on white or black people. I said I wanted to see Indian people in advertisements, commercials, magazines, etc. He responded by saying something along the lines of “it’s best to stay out of the spotlight.”

At the time I agreed with this line of thinking, because flying under the radar is so much safer. After seeing this Buzzfeed article, though, I realized how much I want to see someone like me on TV. It’s one thing to be tolerated, but it’s an entirely different feeling to be welcomed. I want to relate to the kids in the Buzzfeed article who are empowered when they see people like them in American movies. Growing up, I didn’t see Indian actors unless I was watching an Indian movie.

Everyone deserves to feel like they belong, and the only way to do that is to actually include them in the media.

I identify as American, but my foreign heritage will continue to marginalize me and people like me until action is taken in the media to mirror what America is really like. America is not made up of all white people and a token black or asian person, it’s a diverse country that is not accurately represented in the media, no matter how far we’ve come within the past decade.

Let me know what impacts representation in the media has had on you, I would love to hear it.

2EDE21F0-F420-446D-86A0-E2B93B8D2B25-1-2048x1536-oriented

Minimalism

Living in a college dorm for four weeks has made me very aware of a few things. First, I don’t use nearly as much stuff as I thought I did. And second, I don’t need nearly as much stuff as I thought I did.

In my dorm room I have three drawers of clothes, a space for hangers, three shelves, a desk, and a bed. It doesn’t sound like a lot of space, but I don’t have a lot of things.

I probably brought less than half the clothes that I own, but strangely- it’s the perfect amount. At home, I would stare at my closet and think the infamous saying, “I have nothing to wear!” However, here I look at the shirts I’ve brought and I just pick one and put it on. It’s so much simpler, because I know that the clothes I’ve brought are the ones I’m actually going to wear. It goes to show how many extra shirts I have at home that I bought thinking, “Yeah, this shirt looks cool,” and then never wear.

Besides clothes, I have a bunch of random stuff /trinkets at home that I’ve never gotten rid of, but also don’t use. Every time I try to do a room clean out, though, I always keep every thing thinking, “I might need that one day.”

That’s why pictures are so special for me, though. Pictures allow us to remember events, vacations, people, and feelings that can’t be shown through random objects. I would rather have a room full of pictures than one full of trinkets.

I’ve always been interested in minimalism as a concept, and living in such a small space this summer has reinforced this idea that we don’t need a lot of material items in order to function.

As soon as I get home, I plan on sifting through my room with this minimalism idea in mind. I know it’s going to be hard to part with some items because of my sentimentality, but I also need to keep in mind that during my stay in a dorm I was completely okay with a few shelves worth of stuff and three drawers worth of clothes.

PS- This minimalism mentality does NOT apply to books. I will continue to hoard those until the end of time 🙂

Let me know in the comments if you are interested in minimalism or if you live by a minimalist philosophy! If you are a minimalist, let me know about your transition into this lifestyle.

2EDE21F0-F420-446D-86A0-E2B93B8D2B25-1-2048x1536-oriented

Current Obsession: Thrillers… Kind of

I am not a fan of horror movies or scary books, but lately I’ve found myself leaning towards thrillers, more specifically anything with twists. I’m fascinated with the storylines and I absolutely LOVE the unexpected twists that make you question everything.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  • This was a super popular book a little while ago and I think it’s also being made into a movie which is exciting!
  • A quick summary (with spoilers): Rachel is the girl on the train who passes the same houses everyday to “work.” She has a very active imagination and concocts a story about a couple she idolizes, who she has named Jess and Jason. She sees Jess cheat on Jason and soon finds out that Jess is missing. Basically, Rachel’s life is already and mess and then she gets involved in a murder that ends up connecting her past with Megan and Scott- the real life Jess and Jason.
  • The twist in this book was so great because the entire story is told from Rachel’s point of view, and as a reader we have no idea she’s an unreliable source. I don’t think I’ve read a novel where the narrator was an unreliable source, so knowing that she’s a little bit crazy and prone to alcohol-related black outs was very unexpected for me. Since I don’t normally read these types of books, I loved the change in perspective that the audience went through when all of this was revealed.
  • I don’t want to give away the biggest twist, but if you haven’t read this book I highly recommend it- even if you don’t normally read suspense novels.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

  • This book I read by chance. I didn’t bring any books to San Diego,  so I borrowed this one from my roommate and I LOVED it. I really had no idea what to expect, except that some accidents happen and there are a lot of secrets.
  • A quick summary (with spoilers): Cadence’s grandfather owns an island off of the East Coast where her extended family goes to vacation every summer. This book takes place a few summers after an accident that left Cady with amnesia and intense migraines. Lockhart weaves the past and present together to tell the story of Cady and her two closest cousins Johnny and Mirren and their honorary cousin Gat. Lockhart spends almost the entire book letting the readers get to know this close knit set of cousins only to deliver the final twist that left me and my roommate questioning everything.
  • I don’t want to give it away in case you haven’t read it, but I’ll just say that after I finished this book my roommate and I talked for like an hour about every detail that hinted at this unexpected ending.

Now You See Me

  • This heist movie about magicians doesn’t seem like a thriller or suspense movie, but I’m including it in this list due to the huge surprise ending.
  • My roommates and I just watched this movie together and I think this is my third time seeing it. One of my roommates had never seen it before, and watching this movie through her eyes reminded me how great of a twist this movie has.
  • I needed to watch this movie a couple of times in order to understand the plot line, so watching it with someone who is seeing it for the first time is a great way to relive that shock, and that’s the sad thing about thrillers- once you see it, there’s no way to be as surprised again and that’s the best part of thrillers!

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

  • My dad recently introduced me to this 1950s TV series since it’s now available on Netflix. The only Alfred Hitchcock movie I’ve seen is Rear Window, and as a scared 7th grader I really hated it.
  • Now, I’m older and I have a greater appreciation for his work, which is why I’ve seen quite a few of these 30 minute episodes. I love that these are all in black and white, and that it was filmed in the 50’s, even though this time period is infamous in it’s portrayal of women.
  • Hitchcock portrays some women as smart and powerful, which surprised me. What I like the best about this show is the storylines though. Some of the episodes are just weird and they are so different than the suspense TV shows we have today. There’s a lack of background music and the show does move a lot slower, but I think it’s all a part of the charm.

 

Let me know what your favorite genre is right now or if you have any suggestions for books, TV shows, or movies!

2EDE21F0-F420-446D-86A0-E2B93B8D2B25-1-2048x1536-oriented

Glider Port

Today, my roommates (minus one) and I headed out for a nice relaxing day on the beach. We drove to the Glider Port, which is exactly what it sounds like- hang gliders take off and land right there.

From there, we walked down SO MANY stairs, all the way to the beach at the bottom…. which turned out to be a nude beach!

After the initial shock settled in, we found a good spot to settle past some cones indicating the end to the nude zone.

From our spot, we got to see hang gliders taking off, which was so cool and inspired an addition to my bucket list 🙂

We went on a walk down the beach to see a house sitting directly on the beach. It’s the house that looks like a wheel. (Bonus points if you can spot Eva exploring the house)

Overall, it was a just super relaxing day.

Enjoy the pictures!

IMG_7698IMG_7700IMG_7702IMG_7704IMG_7714IMG_7721

2EDE21F0-F420-446D-86A0-E2B93B8D2B25-1-2048x1536-oriented

Ho Chi Minh Trail

No, this isn’t the Ho Chi Minh trail you’re thinking of. This one is in La Jolla, San Diego and it connects a wealthy neighborhood to the wild beach. Apparently this trail was used by surfers as a shortcut to the beach, which sounds fine but seems physically impossible once you realize you need both hands and both feet to climb down. This trail is definitely not for beginners (my roommates found that out the hard way), but it is so worth the sweat and scrapped knees.

The main reason I wanted to climb this trail was the stand stone carvings that I’d seen pictures of online. It was 1000 times more amazing in person, but these pictures are pretty cool too.

The sandstone forms a canyon that we had to climb through, which is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I felt like a real explorer as I scaled the edges and jumped from one level to the next.

The only bad thing about the sandstone canyon is that I was so focused on going forward, maneuvering through it’s narrow curves, that I looked up at one point and noticed just how narrow everything had gotten… and how tall the canyon was… and how small I was… and then I remembered what I’d read online about how these sandstone walls were at risk of crumbling down in an avalanche at any moment.

Ok maybe that last part was a little bit of an exaggeration, but in that second all I could focus on was the lack of air around me and the towering sides closing in. My chest started constricting and my breath was getting faster and faster. All I knew was that I had to get out of there. Immediately. Not knowing what was ahead, I yelled over my shoulder to my roommates as I high tailed it back the way we came.

This whole ordeal has taught me a pretty cool lesson, I must say- adrenaline does wonders for the impossible.

On the way down, I didn’t think about how to get back up; I just jumped down when it was too high, slid forward when I had no traction, and asked for advice when I was stuck.

On the way up, however, I was alone with only one thought in my head, “GET. OUT. NOW.” Adrenaline did the rest for me. I somehow scaled my way out of the canyon until I felt the calming ocean breeze on my face.

I’ve never had a panic attack before, but this was definitely the closest I’ve ever been. I had no idea I was that claustrophobic, but luckily this incident didn’t ruin the rest of the trip for me. I had a great time climbing the rest of the way down, and the beach was gorgeous!

ANYWAYS, here are the pictures from our hike through the Ho Chi Minh trail.

Enjoy!

IMG_7660IMG_0556IMG_0552IMG_7664IMG_0560IMG_0571IMG_0572IMG_7671

2EDE21F0-F420-446D-86A0-E2B93B8D2B25-1-2048x1536-oriented

 

Summer in San Diego

As you can see from the title, this summer I’m in San Diego! More specifically, I’m studying at UCSD for a couple of weeks.

Classes just started and I’m loving it here in SoCal! The weather is always warm and the sun is always shining.

Before classes did start, my mom and I got to explore San Diego a bit. Here are some pictures from our adventures.

IMG_7528
Take off!
IMG_7534
Enjoying a lovely beach walk with my mom.
IMG_7544
The cutest interior design shop located in Solana Beach. (I bought some cute notebooks!)
IMG_7545
Little hipster cafe
IMG_7557
Hibiscus tea, almond milk cappuccinos, and chocolate chip cookies are pretty good pick me ups after walking in the sun for hours 🙂

IMG_7559

IMG_7575
I love food trucks, and it was so cool seeing a taco truck in the parking lot of Torrey Pines beach.
IMG_7577
Tacos from the aforementioned taco truck. So tasty, but the salsa was misleadingly spicy!
IMG_7578
Nothing like decorating sand castles with colorful rocks.

IMG_7580

IMG_7590
The most intimidating library ever.
IMG_7600
The view from the 6th floor of said library. Not so scary from the inside 🙂

 

Stay tuned for more adventures from San Diego!

2EDE21F0-F420-446D-86A0-E2B93B8D2B25-1-2048x1536-oriented

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day 2k16!

This year for Father’s Day, my family took my dad on a hike. I love hiking, but I don’t get to go as often as I’d like, so this was a really great outing for all of us!

The forest was really green and peaceful, which was very relaxing especially because I had finals the next week. We even saw a few deer!

I made this little video of the hike, so go check it out!

Also, let me know what you did for Father’s Day in the comments!

2EDE21F0-F420-446D-86A0-E2B93B8D2B25-1-2048x1536-oriented

Should you have a “Story?”

I recently went to see a Stanford Med student give a talk about med school. I have no idea if I want to go to med school but I thought it would be interesting to hear just in case. This student told us about her undergrad experience, applying to med school, and a little bit about her first year. It was all really interesting but there was one thing she said that really stuck out to me.

She was telling us about an interview that she had with one med school she applied to. Apparently these schools look at every single detail from the application and they ask tons of questions. One of the interviewers asked her why she chose to spend one of her summers coaching girls basketball instead of, say, doing research or something else that fit with her path of medicine. This med student then gave everyone in the room advice and said we should make sure that what we do during summers and free time should fit our overall “story.”

By “story” she meant that everything we did should contribute to this image of the person we wanted to be at the end of the day. I agree that there should be an end goal for who we want to be in life. However, I think that the only way to figure that out is though trial and error.

My personal philosophy is that you should try as many different things as you can so that when you do settle down on a career, you have already been exposed to as much as possible.

I’ve talked about this before, but I do feel like much of middle and high school is just prep for what’s next and that’s why I was so excited for college. I wanted to learn for the sake of learning and explore everything. However, the idea that we have to act in a calculating way and justify our choices to someone for the sake of having a “story” is the exact opposite.

I’m still figuring out what I want to do in college and for a career, but I do know that my decisions will be made based on my interests and not because I have to stay within the confines of some arbitrary “story.”

Also, it’s easier to see how all the choices you’ve made in life fit together in hindsight. For example, Steve Jobs dropped out of college but continued to take classes that he was interested in. He took a calligraphy class that later contributed to the typography in the first Mac.

You never know where you’re going to end up in life, so I say try as many different hobbies and take as many classes as you can, because you never know what you’ll find interesting until you actually try.

Side note- That’s also a lot of pressure to put on someone who doesn’t know what they want to do yet. If they don’t know what they want to do, how are they supposed to make sure it all fits nicely into one story? It’s like walking from point A to point B through an obstacle course for the first time, but being told you have to lead another group through as you’re trying to figure it out for yourself.

Those are my thoughts, let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments.

2EDE21F0-F420-446D-86A0-E2B93B8D2B25-1-2048x1536-oriented

Let’s talk about…

Community College.

As I said in the last post, I do attend community college and I wanted to talk more about that.

I feel like community college gets such a bad rap (maybe just where I’m from) and it really doesn’t deserve it. I’m guilty of looking down on it too, but I’ve since changed my stance.

I used to think that community college was a last resort place where only people who flunked out of high school go. Yes, there are people like that, but there are also so many other types of people: brilliant kids who couldn’t afford a 4-year school, international kids who are trying to work the system, adults who are rekindling their passion for learning, and kids like me who ended up there by chance.

Throughout my first year in community college, I’ve been exposed to the many benefits of this route- saving money (like so much money that I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t take this route), having small class sizes (my biggest class is a 60 person lecture), and getting to scope out different majors and classes before spending lots of time and money switching in a 4 year university.

All of these benefits are great, but there are a few downsides that I’ve experienced. The biggest one is transferring.

My goal going in to JC (junior college) was to transfer out as fast as I could. This is a lot harder than it sounds. For one thing, I’m 18 years old and I have no idea what the hell I want to do for the rest of my life. Sure, I’m interested in the brain, so I just default to what I’ve heard and just say neuroscience. But my JC doesn’t offer major specific classes like Neuroscience, so I have no idea what it actually entails.

The other thing that I didn’t know going in was that each (public) college that I consider transferring to has slightly different prerequisites for the same major. So forget about transferring out in two years if you have a high unit major, because by the time you actually decide what specific major you want and what schools you want to keep open, you’ll already have been in school for a year.

I really don’t want to discourage anyone from considering community college as an option, because I truly think the positives outweigh the negatives, but I also want people to know what their getting into, because I didn’t. It’s just frustrating to go into something with no resources. But I hope this didn’t completely turn anyone off of community college.

I’m still getting used to it here, but I’ve really grown to like it.

Let me know in the comments if you have similar experiences or completely new ones!

2EDE21F0-F420-446D-86A0-E2B93B8D2B25-1-2048x1536-oriented

College

All throughout middle school, teachers prepare you for the next step in life- high school. Same goes for high school, you spend four years preparing for college. I thought college was going to be the time when people stop preparing you and finally let you live, but apparently the rules are very different for those of us in community college.

As  a senior in high school I thought my life was set. I had a spot in a good college, I was almost done with high school, and it was almost summer. Little did I know that my life was not going to be that simple.

As a graduation present, my parents took my family and I over seas for one of the best family vacations. On vacations, the point (at least for me) is to be detached from everything, including email. Now here’s a tip about international travel- make sure you check internet at least a few times in your trip otherwise you may miss that very important email from your future. In my case, my college had emailed and asked for the transcript from that one elective class I took over the summer before junior year. Of course, being in another country, I didn’t send it in time and that was that.

In the split second after reading that rejection letter, my entire life was changed. I went through all seven stages of grief of course, but afterwards my eyes were opened to the endless possibilities of the rest of my life.

This evil email was no longer evil because it freed me from expectations. Yes, I still wanted a good job later in life, but after months of nonstop thinking about what to do, I realized that this is a blessing in disguise. I no longer had to follow convention, and I realized how ridiculous this convention was. People are so focused on the future that they rarely stop to enjoy the present.

I know how cliche this sounds, but it’s the truth. When you have the future laid out for you by the generations who came before, there is no time for self exploration, much less world exploration.

I am at community college right now, but this path is so different than the one I expected that it really opened my eyes to the world around me.

So, this is the story of how I was freed from convention.

Stay tuned to find out what life on the wild side is like…. 🙂