I don’t know where I want to begin. There have been so many times in these past couple weeks- usually in the brief moments of silence that make up my six block commute home- easing up on the pedals and leaning forward into a breezy slump, where I realize that there are things- so many buzzing, important feeling things, that my tired fuzzy brain wants to write about.
I want to write about meeting Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi- how she inspired me to keep writing, to maybe consider taking this writing thing more seriously? To consider being you know, one of those kids- the kids who think they can write? Can they even? I hope they can because of the very vague possibility that I may end up being one of them. These days I've been listening to the Americanah audiobook on repeat as I chop vegetables, just because of the inspiration it infuses the rest of my day with- how her words, and her stories makes me see worth in my own story, my own words.
I want to write about my struggles with art. About what my art professor said last week- that us, this breed of ‘visual art majors’ and ‘students at large’ at chronically unable to commit. We ideate and gurgle with possibilities but what are we actually doing? She said that what we’re most afraid of is a blank page, and the pressure it puts on us. Truth is, I’m most at ease with a blank page. For me, it’s about taking things beyond the page. I could deliberate and angst-express forever, but how do we move past that? Onto the real work, the real core of it? I think we simplify. We take baby steps. We move slowly and tread lightly. I am chronically unable to do any of those things. But if I was, that's what I'd do.
I want to write about what Kelsey of Happyolks wrote about vulnerability and the sharing of it. She says it better than I do so I’ll leave her to it.
I want to write about meeting Ron Finley and Clare Fox and talking about food access and food swamps in the LA area- process what my take-aways from that were, critically reflect on how to approach this big, vast food justice world. Where to fall in? Where to be critical?
I want to write about being stuck between being an Indian closely observing American culture, and an almost Indian-American trying to find a culture to latch onto. I am a keen observer to this world of food- able to nitpick it apart, comment on issues of race and class and privilege and problem, and yet, my own positionality is murky. My race and class and privilege, which are so defined back in Bombay, they don’t translate so well to this place. Some parts get exaggerated, others get left behind, and I’m left as a mismatched version of an identity that I originally felt sure about. For example- I find hipster food culture both intellectually fascinating and a little bit revolting, but then emotionally wonderful and a little bit too much fun. Back home, the ‘hipster’ restaurants are not the ‘hipster’ restaurants- they are just the nice restaurants that are borrowing heavily from American/Western culture. There is no discourse on gentrification or class issues- I am upper class and here we sit in our apartment complexes and talk about the NGOs and social service and child literacy. The vocabulary is entirely different and I don’t know if that’s bad. It just isn’t applicable to this world of Liberal-Artsville, USA, you know?
I want to write about how my mother is the single most intelligent person that I know. About how we’ve come to a point recently where, after years on being on the same, exact page on pretty much everything, I’m seeing our viewpoints diverge. The littlest things that make her her and me me- that before I wasn’t me enough to even recognize. Her wisdom to me has always been to recognize my privilege and then go ahead and make the most of it. The more I think about it- the more incredulous of her I am- she is so at ease navigating tense spaces, assuming roles of leadership, and asserting herself, and yet, I’ve definitely come to a point where I can see where I will draw heavily from her, emulate her, and then those where I will do it completely differently- let a situation play out in a whole other way.
I want to write about food justice- and the fact that there are few waking hours that I’m not thinking about this big, huge world and all that it involves. Thinking about how it will translate back home? How my inherent biases and cultural experiences are translating it in the present, how to even begin, where to even begin? So I wrote this manifesto for my art seminar yesterday after a particularly bad critique where all my ideas were problematic and full of conceptual holes.
I’ll leave y’all with it for now.
// MANIFESTO //
// Community gardens pretty obviously lead to gentrification. Real estate agents fucking love that shit. //
// Food systems are chained down by class segregation and racial discrimination and carefully orchestrated elitism. Big ag. and black suits have the keys to those tightly locked chains. Farmers markets and/or CalFresh won’t fucking help. //
// Healthy food and yoga are only important to some people. It is not politically correct or morally okay to be that person. //
// Growing kale will not make people want to eat kale. //
// Obesity is not an epidemic. Our perpetuation of thin privilege is. //
// Just because social enterprise is sexy doesn’t mean it’s right. What if the venture capitalists are wrong? //
// Why do I need my honey to be harvested by poor women in India? //
// We are wasteful and don’t really care about compost. Compost will not save the world. Neither will you. //
Some photos from many many weeks ago- watching Dan play with his brand new hand built and shaped Grain surfboard at Manhattan beach, and a few portraits of cute children and awkward portraits thrown in too because surfing takes time and I am easily distracted.
(fōnuts) : gluten free, dairy free donuts and a gorgeous example of #onlyinla //
Keenly observing rows of fermenting beauties at the Koreatown Galleria and then promptly purchasing the largest jar I could find //
Made in L.A. at The Hammer Museum //