As I had sat down to write this in the evening there were gulab jamuns being made, diyas being lit, and all the prep for Diwali in two days. (And then I went away to eat the gulab jamuns… can you blame me? Who wouldn’t?)
The last few weeks I may have been away, but I was trying to figure out what content this blog deserved and what all was content I would be proud of.
The last few weeks, probably since Graduation, I have been more open about being brown. Don’t get me wrong. I love being Indian, well in most contexts; but I have realized, I am part of a unique middle. I am not just Indian but I am an Indian living out of India so my interpretation of being desi is different. I wouldn’t dress as the stereotypical Indian girl, these days I feel like that also is a mythical illusion.
Recently on one of my favorite Instagram accounts there was a post (@ready.to.glow) and that got me to thinking. I had a conversation on her post as well… “Honestly there is no clear cut definition of “being Indian” and ironically all of us outside of India are more Indian in the sense we speak fluently since language and traditions are practiced more living out of India because our parents took that as the only way to stay connected to India.” But even as I said this I realized, I have started to find it difficult to hold a conversation in Hindi for long periods of time. Being trilingual, I have become lazy. If I can’t figure out a word in Hindi, I will substitute it with an English or a Japanese word, because the people I speak to in Hindi here all understand the other two languages, so I’d rather stay in my comfort zone.
This post is not just about that. This post is being desi, being comfortable in my own skin… or at least trying to be comfortable.
For me to be comfortable with myself, and try to push myself I recently did a shoot with Emima Mitani (check out her Instagram @emimamitani), where we tried to portray Indian outfits with a fusion twist or simply with elements of Tokyo; because as I said earlier I wanted to show and be comfortable being a blend of desi and Tokyo. While we did this day shoot, the music video for Lost in Japan was about to be dropped, so as a nod to the music video and the song, I tried dancing whatever Indian classical dance steps I remembered to Lost In Japan at the edge of the Shibuya Scramble in my lehenga. That was an experience on its own. To be lost in the music and not be nervous about the people who would be walking by.
We also did one which was more traditional in front of Tokyo Tower. And that was more about being comfortable in my skin in front of the camera wearing such a desi blouse and being confident about my body shape. I work hard and it’s a slow journey but I will eventually get there.
There isn’t much to say for now… I wish you all a very Happy Diwali and may it bring you all the joy and luck you deserve.
I am off to watch the music video drop of Youth. (I urge you to see it…) I will soon be talking about the power of that song as well.