prose

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Theatre of Witness and Resistance

July 2017
For Arts and International Affairs, Institute for International Cultural Relations

"In the safety of the workshop, the women acted out possible options to resist domestic violence. Sachita1 beat up the husband; Paro asked the village chief to intervene; Sneha took the husband to the hospital; Madhuri called Prime Minister Modi to ban liquor in the entire country. Their energy rose as they tested out each possibility, but none of these options seemed feasible. How can theatre hold up to such extreme and daily violence? What was the point?"

The Ethics of Storytelling

for Office of Campus Ministry, Georgetown University
April 25, 2017

"Despite the conference theme, Voices Across Borders, the attendees were a fairly homogenous crowd: white, Baby Boomers, career storytellers. They told true tales about crossing racial or socioeconomic lines to help—read: save—black, brown, or otherwise vulnerable communities. While I admire the work of a female Chaplain in a maximum-security prison and am grateful for the protection that wealthy Chicago Christians afforded their local mosques after 9/11, I am disappointed to hear the same, dominant narratives: white people saving their disenfranchised neighbors, speaking up for the voiceless.

But it’s not that people of color cannot defend or advocate for themselves—rather, the problem is that society does not listen and dismisses the validity of their stories. Structures like these enforce a suppression of narrative."

 

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gladly Beyond

personal travel and research blog

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What we can learn from student activism

for the Marshall Scholarship Blog
February 2018

"As staff and students have been picketing against the pension cuts for weeks, the fence is not only a pun but a thoughtful critique of current socio-economic conditions. It invites passers-by—including the thousands of tourists who visit Cambridge—to re-evaluate the Western dream of a ‘white picket fence’: a house, two cars, a marriage with kids, all protected by the ubiquitous wooden barrier."

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artistic statement

for the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics
February 2018

"Within my artistic practice, I hope to do this duty for a wider community of underrepresented narratives. Stemming from my own history and work with individuals from worldwide conflict zones, I tell the story of the Other — the people who are too often essentialized, ignored, or otherwise marginalized. My focus is on refugees, migrants, and other nomadic peoples because migration, which is often made into a political issue, is actually deeply personal."

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Citizen diplomacy: international artists speak on cultural ambassadorship

Citizen Diplomacy: International Artists Speak On Cultural Ambassadorship

for SixByEight Press
July 2017

"As a facilitator, I am careful to check my own opinions; I know that my outsider suggestions may be culturally inappropriate or otherwise damaging to the group. After all, the theatre is not for my benefit, but for the well-being of a healthy community. I think the same respect should be allotted wherever I go, whether I am doing theatre or not. In order to open myself to the experiences of a new place, I aim to listen in order to understand local customs, attitudes, and judgments without taking up too much space in the conversation. Of course, this is particularly salient in conflict zones, but applicable in any other situation as well."

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The creative process of i pledge allegiance

for Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service
October 2017

"It is said that Minerva’s owl flies highest in the night– especially in these dark times, theatre and art helps us to understand the chaos around us. Another etymology: the word for “theatre” comes from the Greek root of “seeing something from a different place.” It compels the audience member (and the performer) to travel in their understanding… to foster empathy by witnessing experience."

 

The colored museum: a play on the struggle of cultural identity

for the Berkley Center for Religion, Ethics, and World Affairs
March 20, 2015

"I’ve learned that we all carry contradictions. I am Hindu, Indian, American, a woman, a Georgetown student. I eat beef. I watch trashy television. I don’t say my prayers enough—or maybe I say them too much. Every day, these contradictions challenge me. And because of daily experiences and satirical works such as The Colored Museum, I have learned to meditate on these contradictions."

 

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I Pledge allegiance: the birth of a Performance

for The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics
May 17, 2017

"I came of age between 9/11 and the Trump administration, when being brown — and an immigrant — was something of suspect. I wonder who I am in this era and what it means for me, and my family, and my classmates, to be American — more than being citizens, or voting, or filing taxes, what does it mean for us to be American? How could I engage with a country that rejects me and the things that I believe in? To what do I pledge allegiance?"