Some years ago, browsing the stacks in my university library, I happened across Thrity Umrigar's First Darling of the Morning, and have ever since held it as the story of my life. Umrigar writes of herself as an only child, raised in a middle-class Parsi family in Bombay. While the particulars of her life are certainly not identical to mine, the ways in which she describes the city and the community, and her place within them - how they made her feel, how she understood them, how they have shaped her - resonate deeply with my own musings of where I come from and how I got to the various wheres I've been.
Funnily, some years after reading the book, I got chatting to a woman from Cleveland, as we settled into our seats at the Mile High Stadium, in preparation for Obama's historic acceptance speech at 2008 DNC convention. Turned out, she was a good friend of Umrigar's. I must have gushed at her so much, she called Umrigar hoping we could speak, got her machine instead, and had me leave her a message. That is the closest brush with celebrity I've ever had.
I am an engineering student (Bombay) turned politics student with legal aspirations (Oberlin, Ohio) turned race and ethnic studies scholar (San Diego, California) turned management researcher (London). It has been a convoluted journey but somehow makes perfect sense. Along the way, I have picked up a love of writing, and held onto a commitment to justice.
One new year's, a student wrote to wish me 'a year full of beautiful struggle'. I find motivation in that.
I use the pronouns she/her.