Indian | Irish

Photo by Maggie Marguerite Studio

Photo by Maggie Marguerite Studio

I usually say I am mixed, and if people press (as they often do!) I tell them I'm half Indian, half Irish (though the Irish half is actually mixed Irish/English - according to Ancestry DNA I am 24% Irish). I think I look pretty ethnically ambiguous and no one can really tell where I am from, but they always know I am 'something.' When I lived in Peru, most people thought I was Brazilian. When I am in India, people seem to realize I am some mix of Indian and white. I get Middle Eastern /Iranian quite a bit, generally.

I am an author, and my first book came out in May in the UK (MAN FAST). I started off as a journalist (BBC, Nat Geo, CNN) and then I worked at international organizations, the World Bank followed by the United Nations. I was a humanitarian aid worker for a few years and travelled all over the world for my job with the UN - Haiti, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Cambodia, the Philippines ... the list is very long! I moved back to NY from Bangkok in 2012. My dream was always to be a writer, and I write mostly about women, spirituality and health. I'm becoming increasingly interested in writing about race and immigration, so stay tuned.

My mom was born in Karachi the year of the Partition of India in 1947. She was a refugee, and my whole family had to flee Pakistan to India, eventually ending up in what is now Mumbai, before my mother and her two brothers immigrated to the US.

My dad was born in a small town in upstate New York called Rome, very cold winters.

My parents met in a bar called The Cave on Valentine's Day (in Washington DC) and fell madly in love. They never looked back. It seemed a lot easier in those days...

I grew up in the suburbs of Washington DC and I knew I was from two different cultures at an early age. I went to a small private school I could tell the food that we ate at home was different. Our annual trips to India were not normal. I wasn't going to have a bah-mitzvah (most of the people at my school were Jewish)

My friends are very diverse, in ethnicity and personality. I have no one 'type' of friend. Most of them have travelled extensively. I think this is also because of the career path I have been on. Generally I'm drawn to foreigners or people who have travelled / lived abroad. I do have many friends from the South Asian community, but I also have Jewish friends, blacks, etc. so really the whole gamut. I don't look at the culture, more the exposure they've had and their open-mindedness, if that makes sense.

Regarding dating or relationships, it doesn't affect my choice where a person comes from. My taste is all over the place, from race to gender to be honest! I've dated a 100% South Asian man, an Irishman, several Italian men (I lived in Italy!), a Lebanese man, a Caucasian woman from South Africa, etc. I am currently dating a man who is half Nigerian, half French-American. I think we would have really cute babies! (shhhh!)

I think people like to categorize people. It gives them comfort. But not everyone fits squarely into a box. I think of myself as whitish-brownish, but some may not see me as 'brown,' as I am fair for a brown person, and some may not see me as white, as I am tan for a white person. I am both - white and brown. People don't understand that, but it doesn't bother me? It gives me edge. I love being unique.

Being mixed race has always been a deeply positive thing for me. I love my Indian heritage: it has enriched my life with so many nourishing things (yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, etc.). I also love my Anglo-American background, and have spent a great deal of time in the UK and Ireland. I love being mixed - it's very cool, and it adds an extra layer of complexity. I never aspired to be a simple person.

I think it's becoming more the norm for people to intermarry, and have mixed babies. I love the melting pot the world is becoming. It can only be a good thing.