Updated: Jul 25, 2020
If you’re reading this welcome to the first-ever weekly round-up that will be hosted on Pardesi. Like everything Pardesi - I’ll make sure to post content that inspires, empowers, broadens views, educates, and most importantly, amplifies women’s voices.
Here’s my favorite weekly :
Inspiration - Two Words: MILAN MATHEW! She’s a model based in Houston who loves showing off her Indian heritage. At the end of June, she took part in TikTok’s #HotSeat Challenge which raked over 10 million views. Since then she has inspired loads of TikToker’s to embrace their culture.
Article - I was scrolling through Facebook and I remember seeing a post someone wrote about how in desi households women usually serve men at dinner parties first/wait for everyone else to finish before eating. In the comments section Karima Khan, a standup comedian from Mumbai, posted this piece called “Ladies Never Get the Leg Piece”. Karima light-heartedly tells us about her frustration about giving up her favorite piece of meat from the biryani for a male guest whilst also talking about a deeply entrenched patriarchal act that most of us have probably grown up partaking in/witnessed.
My favorite line is when she’s talking about her beloved leg piece and says “[…]this tender piece of heaven has managed to elude me my entire life. The very hands that type this have cleaned it marinated it, and prepared it to succulent perfection… only to have to serve it to someone because they have two XY chromosomes.”
Show - Aarya (available as a Hotstar Special)
Sushmita Sen, former Miss Universe and Bollywood actress, plays Aarya who belongs to an affluent family in Rajasthan. Tej, who’s Arya’s husband, owns a pharmaceutical company but is also at the forefront of leading an illicit drug empire. Arya disapproves and asks Tej to quit. Before Tej can escape he’s shot dead and Aarya finds herself taking over. With mini-plots, twists and turns and foreshadowing Aarya keeps you on the edge of your seat with every passing episode.
In most of Sen’s past roles, she’s played “the other woman” who the male protagonist leaves for the “docile woman with conservative Indian values that exudes simplicity.” Aarya is like a breath of fresh air for Sushmita’s acting. It makes us question why it took the industry so long to recognize her as the fierce actor that she is that can carry an entire show with her personality on-screen as opposed to labeling her as an actress that “eats men like air” or belittling her for not fitting the damsel in distress Bollywood usually looks out for.
TikToks - Since we started the roundup by talking about Milan it’s only right that we end it with some of her TikToks.
Milan’s viral #HotSeat Challenge video:
Milan’s feature on NylonMag alongside a compilation of others who also channeled their culture for the #HotSeat challenge:
Milan Mathew’s brown version of Scooby-Doo characters: