STRONG COMMUNITIES, STRONG VOICES
It is now more than ever the time to reflect upon the role of the South Asian community in American society. This is what our second issue of Shakti, "Strong Communities, Strong Voices," aims to do.
Had God put humanity in this situation, in quarantine, as a wake-up call? To remember those around us whose suffering did not begin and end with a global pandemic; rather, whose suffering was a long-standing tradition of a loss of sovereignty wrapped in political fervor? As I brushed my hands over my face, marking the conclusion of my duaa, I decided to pray harder, and longer, for the Kashmiri people; to remember those who were forgotten, whose quarantine was not out of the ordinary.
BY TAMICA PERERA
The original poems were all written by South Asian poets and describe three different aspects of the Desi experience. Each poem was then replicated in form and style to be a response to the subject of the original poem.
BY AVIK SARKAR
We feared silence like hunger, craved language like sweet honey, pulled prepositions from the air with sticky hands to fill our empty stomachs.
BY JANANI SEKAR
I see strength when I look at many South Asian women throughout history, from the Rani of Jahnsi to my very own grandmother who was silently the backbone of her family.
BY SETU MEHTA
During the 92 years of her life, my grandma lived through significant world events, including World War II and India’s independence movement. As a seventh grader, I vividly remember my grandma describing her childhood experience through these crises. The terror she felt during the curfews of the Indian independence movement was palpable in the quiver in her voice and the subtle shaking in her hands.
BY NIVEDHITHA SIVAKUMAR
I’m scared that my well of knowledge is so shallow that it will dry up too quickly when it comes my time to pass it on. As eager as I am to keep giving, there won’t be more than I know to give — and what I have to give is a mere handful of knowledge in a whole universe of customs, traditions, and stories.
BY RESHINI PREMARATNE
My ammi’s melodic pronunciation of “RAY-shin-ee,” the focus on the sunshine-laden first syllable, the way her voice would trail off at the end or sometimes even drop the last few letters altogether now just feel like relics of my childhood; of my summers spent in the muddy backyard of our family home in Colombo, Sri Lanka; and of the vibrant, native culture it all imbued.
BY NIKHIL DHARMARAJ
"When I look back on it, I realize I grew up in the back of my mom's college classrooms. She would just put me in the back of a classroom, with a book."
BY GAYATRI BALASUBRAMANIAN
ROTC was uncharted territory for both my family and me because we knew no one in our immediate circle who had served. Being a Midwesterner of Indian descent, military service was just not common. I grew up in a quintessential American suburb where the civil-military divide was more than evident.
BY PRANATI PARIKH
Truth cannot be a singular detail. Truth comprises the dusty, shadowed side of the moon, and the emanating ripples in a pond, the parts we don’t know and the parts we unconsciously generate. The voices in our community are representations of nothing less than the miracle of this fact.
BY AIMAN SHAHAB
A series of calls to my name leads me to get out of bed and throw on a socially “appropriate” outfit. My father’s childhood friend from Pakistan is visiting for the weekend, and I mentally prepare for a routine conversation as I take my time to walk down the stairs ––
BY NIV SHARMA
Your own Shakti is your candle flame. Even a small candle makes a big difference in the dark, enough to take a step forward. Soon more candles will be lit and more steps taken together to move into greater Abundance. Our collective Shakti is a true force of nature – a force to be reckoned with.