Seeing pictures from Mindy Kaling’s Diwali party on Instagram gave me the indescribable feeling of watching your Desi friends get together and kill it. Pride? Happiness? Giddiness, even? Like when my Desi friend used to show me pictures of some Desi function or the other that she went to, the two of us huddled together at the back of a classroom just being our Desi selves. This is on a different level, though, given that some of these women are celebrities, artists, actors, etc. It’s nice to see influential Desi women together doing something undeniably Desi (Diwali party) and boasting about it.
It shows me how far Desi women have come compared to when I was an insecure teenager 15 years ago trying to grapple with all of the intersectionalities and hyphens that weighed me down in a city/school/community which didn’t make room for me. I’m not implying that Desi women have come far in the eyes of the general American public–I don’t know how the average non-Desi person reacted to those pictures. Frankly, I don’t care about how the “average American” (what does that mean and who is that these days, even?) feels about Desi women or cultures. It matters, of course, that there is more tolerance, acceptance, and respect of “immigrant” or marginalized cultures–so please don’t misunderstand me. But these pictures don’t conjure the glory of Desi women being Desi women for white/mainstream American eyes for me.
What these pictures mean to me is amazing Desi women having a great time together in their own Desi universe and that being the totality of it. Like a “we give zero eff’s and we’re just doing our own thing” vibe. Talented, trailblazing Desi women gathering together for a culturally/religiously significant event and looking gloriously beautiful in only a way Desi women can…yup! I’m ALL here for it.