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On Joy, Homesickness, About The Need For Flowers, & Some Pub News!

How to express joy in a pandemic and other such queries.

Hi, hi!
Happy belated Durga Puja, belated Bijoya Dashami, belated Dussehra and early Diwali. Yes, desis have a whole lot of festivals we celebrate at this time. We tend to celebrate throughout the year, but October-December, we go full throttle, on festivals, weddings, and celebrations all round!

This time—the second one during the pandemic that doesn’t end, I wore a sari, made food (as we ALL do), and grinned at the iPhone like a fool to celebrate Durga Puja.

The Question of Joy

I get asked why I am so happy in these photos which is curious and an interesting ask. We demand joy of each other. We expect the other to be joyous, positive, optimistic and we feel uncomfortable when the other says, no, I will NOT smile for you. But, but. We ALSO feel the other owes an explanation if we ARE happy, or ARE positive, or ARE confident. In this pandemic, ESPECIALLY in this pandemic, where we are all holding on by a mere thread, I advocate and hope you do too—I advocate consideration and care. You have NO idea what the other is going through. But what you do have is joy and the projection of it. If you feel joyous, even if you don’t feel 100% but it’s more than the usual gloom-and-doom, do it! Life is too short to be fake.

For Durga Puja, I cooked Baba’s meals—food he liked because he died the tenth day of Pujas of a massive heart attack two decades ago. I choose to celebrate his life, his laugh, his joy. Every year, I cook his meals, and feed my friends. This year, the second year in this pandemic, I was able to feed my #girlgab in person in the backyard. Joy is what makes sense to you. It shouldn’t matter if no one else gets it.

Here is a chicken curry that I baked instead of stovetop which gave it more of a tandoori/bar-be-cue taste I made to celebrate that day and my Baba.


Literary Representation

Dana Newman Literary Agency
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Los Angeles, Los Angeles County 90067, USA

Publisher, "Khabaar: An Immigrant Journey of Food, Memory and Family"

University of Iowa Press
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Ph: 800-621-2736