All The Q’s & A’s: Relationship Edition

Image/Art: Gemma Tickle Set Design

It’s hilarious – ha ha ha! – how curious and conflicted people can be over my relationship status and sexuality, especially in liberal art spaces like the comedy community. I mean, I get it. I’m already a confusing creature because I’m a woman. My brown skin makes me an incomprehensible exotic question mark. And I don’t openly discuss or social-media-document my relationship with my partner out of respect for my own ideas of privacy and individuality. So I really throw people off in their quest to make sense of me within their understanding.

But in order to satisfy curiosity and save myself future trouble, here are all the answers to all the questions I’ve been asked lately about my relationship status:

“What does your husband do?” Continue reading “All The Q’s & A’s: Relationship Edition”

I Understand Now

Kusho #1, Shinichi Maruyama. 2006.

What kind of mother leaves her kids? She asked. She and her siblings raised themselves and learned how to cook, clean, and be on their own. When she was in middle school, her mom brought them over to the States to live with her new family. Why did I have accept these new people as my family? But I understand now.

How did you come to understand why she did what she did? I asked, incredulous at the amount of compassion and growth that would take.

I’m a parent now, she said. She had a child as a teenager, and her child is now a teenager. She’s a single mother. And her son resents her.

Why do you work so much? Why aren’t you home when I come home from school? He speaks harshly and angrily.

You wouldn’t believe what kind of hold your kids have on you. I won’t let him make me feel bad. I tell him, ‘You don’t understand now, but you’ll understand one day.’

I don’t excuse what she did, but I understand now. 

Three Sikh Men

Photo: The Singh Project

Last Name Singh

I’m running late to class. It’s 3:20 p.m., right in the middle of the hour that cab drivers switch shifts. It feels impossible to get a cab at this hour. Just as I give up hope, a cab pulls toward me. The man inside asks where I’m headed and agrees to take me. I figure I’m on his way.

I get in and glance at his ID: last name Singh. Continue reading “Three Sikh Men”

Searching for CTM in East London

London’s Punjab Restaurant, established in 1946.

Finding Chicken Tikka Masala (CTM) that’s “just right” is a challenge.* In my unabashed opinion, there’s either amazing CTM, or cry-me-a-river disappointing CTM, which is better classified as ‘not CTM’.  I’ve had ‘not CTM’ at a lot of places, and CTM at a few.

I remember coming home from one of these few places and having a surprising exchange with my mom.

Mom: “How was dinner with your friends? What did you girls eat?”

Me: “It was great! We had chicken tikka masala with fresh naan.”

Mom: “Chicken tikka masala? What’s that?”

Continue reading “Searching for CTM in East London”

A Moment With: Her Past And My Present

bohemian necklace, neckline, paisley, tan
Image via

Meeting someone without your glasses or contacts can be an uncomfortably intimate experience. When things are blurry, you’re inviting someone to see more of you than you can see of them. You’re prompted to absorb this person’s voice more deeply, or even to move physically closer, just to understand what’s going on. This is how I met my optometrist. Contacts off – she saw me before I saw her. I wouldn’t come to ‘see’ her and be able to discern her features fully until the end of my exam. What ensued was a very intimate conversation as we related to each others religious experience – though the religion and religious symbol we had in common were in her past and my present. Continue reading “A Moment With: Her Past And My Present”

The Universal Face of Annoyance

The mailman for our building – a man whom I often run down to say hello so I can hear his complaints (he has a very particular style of complaining that makes me really happy) – well, he was on the other side of our block dutifully* delivering mail, when he saw that someone from another shift had delivered our package to the building across the street.

He was so annoyed, sooooo** annoyed, that he took the package, walked around the block, into our building, up four flights of stairs, to hand me the package and correct this heinous blunder by some unnerving fool, even though he still has to come back later to deliver the rest of our mail. “It SAYS the address on there, IT SAYS IT ON THERE! 123, not 132!” he exclaimed in exasperated frustration.

Like this, but backwards. Actual space stuff via Dailymail
Like this, but backwards. Actual space stuff via Dailymail

While staring at his face, I had about a million flashbacks to every time I’ve experienced this emotion or observed it in others. It was the best: like staring into the universe of a very particular emotion as it recedes into the past, connected to every emotion that came before it and will come after it, every eye roll, every grunt or sigh, every desire to flip over a table, every “I just can’t” that has existed in all of the languages of human expression. Exhilarating.

*Why hasn’t this word been shortened to ‘dutily’?
**Oh the frustration of writing an assignment for school or work and not being able to convey how much you mean something by adding extra letters because it’s not ‘proper English’.  This is why the majority of the populace cares not for grammar, and neither shall I.