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The Carolina Desi

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The Carolina Desi

Gurtej Singh & Rashmili Vemula

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Carolina Desis Gurtej Singh and Rashmili Vemula explore life as the children of Desi immigrants in today’s America. Constantly immersed in and inspired by two contrasting cultures, these South Asians raised in the American South discuss their experiences with “living a double life” and the challenges in reconciling the cultural and societal differences surrounding them daily. Thought-provoking, sharp, and occasionally silly, Gurtej and Rashmili question and flesh out the South Asian experien ...
 
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Brown People We Know, hosted by Suraj Kandukuri, is an interview podcast with South Asian Americans taking non-traditional career and lifestyle paths. By sharing these stories, the podcast aims to break down stereotypes about South Asians and to reduce social pressures from within the diaspora community to take a certain path. In this episode, Sura…
 
The Carolina Desis teamed up with Keith Chow (@the_real_chow) of the Southern Fried Asians (@southernfriedasians) podcast and the Nerds of Color (@thenerdsofcolor) to put out a special episode discussing this year’s rise in awareness towards AAPI issues as well as the general complexity involved in being labelled as “Asian-American”, especially for…
 
Tricha Kumar is a professional dancer and filmmaker who also happens to be the Bollywood film industry's #1 dance choreographer of Bhangra. Join the Carolina Desis this week as Tricha sits down with us to discuss current projects, her philosophy on dance as a career and an artform, the state of Bhangra in Bollywood, the value of labor as a backup d…
 
We've spoken before about the immigrant experience coming from South Asia to the US, but never the other way around! This time, we get to know Jessica Kumar, an American Midwesterner and Co-host of the Invisible India Podcast. Over time, Jessica found herself building a life with her husband and children halfway across the world in India. We sat do…
 
What do Rihanna, Greta Thunberg, and the farmers of India all have in common? They, along with a groundswell of supporters worldwide, are shedding light on the unjustness of three farm laws passed by India's Parliament. The passing of these laws, which has sparked the largest protest in world history, strip away previous protections for workers and…
 
Sachit Grover is a young Desi-American Actor and Content Creator making his way in the rapidly evolving landscape of the entertainment industry. We sit down with Sachit to discuss his film projects, experiences, and lessons learned both at home and abroad. Tune in to hear more about Sachit's creative process, the challenges of acting in a second la…
 
Elisheba Haqq is an author, educator, and nurse who has just released her debut memoir Mamaji, chronicling the adversity, challenges, and lessons learned through her own upbringing as a Desi-American in 1970s Minnesota. We sit down with Elisheba to discuss the social and cultural isolation felt in her life, the effects on her family and identity, a…
 
On today's episode, we had the great pleasure of speaking with Duke professor, economist, author, and self-described nerd Ronnie Chatterji on his 2020 political campaign as the Democratic candidate for North Carolina State Treasurer. Join us as we learn more about his vision for North Carolina, his background working for the Obama administration, t…
 
Everyone’s lives have been affected, but what does the rapid spread of COVID-19 look like from the eyes of a healthcare professional on the front lines of the fight? Kunal Joshi is a hospital based board certified physician from the Seattle, Washington area, one of the first places hit hard in the US by the current pandemic. Join us today as he sit…
 
Kripa Shah is authentically herself. She’s proud to be desi, and she’s proud to be queer. Understanding her origins within a socially conservative culture, she had to tactfully manage both finding her truth and then sharing that truth with her loved ones, knowing full well they may never truly understand her. Join us this week as we discuss her ong…
 
Happy End-of-the-Decade, Carolina Desi listeners! This decade of our lives has been a whirlwind, to say the least. Reflecting on this decade gave us an insight to the evolution (or de-evolution?) of our optimism for the past as well as the upcoming decades of our lives and future generations in this new bizarro world. What do you hope is in store f…
 
Sometimes, Free Speech requires a price to be paid. As a result, in today's polarizing world climate we see violence against political activists, government censorship, self-censorship, "Cancel Culture", etc. Join the Carolina Desis this week as they discuss their observations on these costs, their effects on social media, and why it can still be w…
 
The Carolina Desis were joined this month by Transformational Coach, Varsha Mathur (@coachingbyvarsha). Varsha is a third generation Desi-American, accomplished master of many career industries so we wanted to get candid advice from someone who’s seen and coaches it all . From the stigma of dating to the taboos of divorce in the South Asian culture…
 
By definition, Brain Drain is the emigration of highly trained or intelligent people from a particular country. India and other surrounding countries experience the Brain Drain epidemic with their society’s top talent seeking prosperous opportunities abroad in countries such as USA or Canada. Why does this happen? What do countries “abroad” offer t…
 
The Carolina Desis were invited back to their alma mater to speak to a class about the Religion & Politics in India from 1800s to the Present, taught by Dr. Mou Banerjee. Thank you to the students: Lucas, Amy, Ethan, Darian, Liam, and Aaron (special thanks to Aaron for bringing us this opportunity) for the fantastic conversation! This episode is a …
 
The episode you have all been waiting for (or at least one of them) is finally here: WEDDINGS! From the planning to the week-long wedding events, the Carolina Desis break it all down with guest Kiran Mohan of Sonaa Wedding & Events (@sonaaevents). Kiran, a Toronto native and recent Charlotte resident, shares her experiences as an accomplished plann…
 
The Carolina Desis have RETURNED. To top it off, they’ve returned with a GUEST. Please join the Carolina Desis this week in their conversation with self-made fitness and nutrition coach, Dee Gautham (@squats_and_samosas). Dee shares her career transition from medicine to tech to full-time fitness and nutrition coach. We discuss the stigmas revolvin…
 
Meet Udit Rathore: Delhi born, Charlotte raised, and Boston dwelling. Udit and his family moved to North Carolina in the 90s and built a flourishing academy, Sangrock Blackbelt World. The Carolina Desis and Udit discussed everything from his experience in the US Armed Forces, his family’s Sangrock Blackbelt World journey, and the true meaning and i…
 
We had the pleasure of having a conversation with Manoj Kesavan. Manoj is an architect, urban designer, educator, creator, and everything else under the sun within the Charlotte Arts community. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Que-OS, a non-profit organization whose mission is to "transform the way art/culture is created and shared, and …
 
The American Dream: the epitome of what is possible, what you value, and what you want to be. The immigrant American Dream is exactly that but is strongly influenced by heritage, culture, and upbringing. Join the Carolina Desis this week as they reflect on what the American Dream is and what it means to them. Follow @thecarolinadesi on social media…
 
Have you considered or even noticed how brands permeate through your life? For example, using the brand name Band-Aid when referring to a bandage. The concept of brands and function are prevalent in any industry and any consumer market. The Carolina Desis explore brands from their childhood that are common in a typical Desi-American household. You …
 
We had the honor of speaking with Councilwoman Dimple Ajmera, for this week’s episode! Councilwoman Ajmera was elected in 2017 and is serving her first term on the Charlotte City Council At-Large and has the proud distinction of being the first Asian-American and the youngest woman to serve. She is passionate about creating a sustainable, equitable…
 
It's December already?! We can't believe it's the last Carolina Desi episode of 2017! We wanted to spend some time reflecting on an incredible year, the rise and shift of holiday symbolism, and what the holidays mean to the Carolina Desis. We've come a long way this year and we truly couldn't have done it without YOU. So, thank you to each and ever…
 
When time dictates, you will be required to step up into a role for the benefit of your family. The Carolina Desis constantly ask themselves, “What do I do when the time comes? What steps do I take to make sure my family is provided for at any capacity?”. We continuously try to regain diluted information from financials to traditions through conver…
 
Is love ever truly unconditional? This week, the Carolina Desis questioned unconditional love as they simultaneously attempted to understand the cultural impact and justification of love with conditions. For example, where is the line drawn on conditions that warrant disownment? Or even as simple as, how {desi} family members show affection to each…
 
Meet Akaash Singh (@akaashsingh)! A fellow American Born Desi Comic (see: Episode 13 with Alingon Mitra), Akaash is a regular on MTV (Wild n' Out, Guy Code), on the cast of Brown Nation on Netflix, and co-host of the American Desis podcast. Born and raised in Texas, Akaash has quite the perspective of growing up Desi in the American South. Before w…
 
In honor of World Mental Health Day on October 10th, we sat down with Payal Patel to discuss the stigma, assumptions, and systematic challenges surrounding Mental Health Treatment within the Desi community and American culture at large. Payal is a Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist hailing from New Jersey but now settled in North Carolina to st…
 
It took us long enough, but we finally had a chance to sit down with Yash Mistry (@yashyog), a Charlotte Digital Storyteller and a Day 1 fan of Carolina Desi! Yash runs Mistry Design Co. where he does Graphic Design, Web Dev, and everything in between. Join the Carolina Desis this week as they discuss with Yash, the process of pursuing and owning a…
 
It’s time for a... BOLLYWOOD BREAKDOWN! We know you’ve been waiting for this. Joining us this week is director, producer, film critic, and writer, Bhavna Singh (@theBhavnaSingh). Bhavna spends all day every day working, thinking, and dreaming about the film and media industries so who better to break down Bollywood with us? We sat down with Bhavna …
 
This week, the Carolina Desis dive into some of the history, importance, and influence of Dance as a performing art and institution within Desi culture. They differentiate between various fine arts and folk dances while staying true to each topic's religious, cultural, colorful, and emotive nature. How does dance play a tremendous role in a Desi’s …
 
SURPRISE! We’re releasing next week’s episode early! Don’t deny that you’re extremely thrilled :) Joining us this week is comedian, Alingon Mitra (@alingonmitra)! Based in NYC, Alingon has written for The Daily Show and has appeared on Last Comic Standing, Conan, Colbert…just to name a few. Hopefully Alingon didn’t mistake our excitement for obnoxi…
 
Would breaking a mirror really bring seven years of bad luck? The answer differs depending on who you ask. But more importantly, why does superstition still play a part in some of our lives? While each culture has its fair share of superstitions, the mysticism revolving around superstitious beliefs and the ominous control of fate play a different, …
 
This week, the Carolina Desis are in conversation with photographer Kripa Shah. A Desi, Charlotte native, and strong advocate for equality of all kinds, Kripa recently directed her photography skills towards shaping her passion project, Echoes of Equality. Inspired by personal experiences, Echoes of Equality aims to educate about equality in all it…
 
​Happy 4th of July, everyone! Banana Bread and Bald Eagles. Football and Freedom. Apple Pie and the American Dream. A country known for its freedom, opportunities, and prosperity - what's not to love? However, the Carolina Desis are questioned, unintentionally or intentionally, for their patriotism towards any country they may hold dear. Especially…
 
Think about every detail that describes your identity: nationality, ethnicity, heritage, values, skin color, language. Now, try placing yourself in one category. Can you? Not impossible, but difficult. Quite often, the Carolina Desis find themselves erroneously placed in one category or on one side of the spectrum. "ABCD", "FOB", Too Assimilated, N…
 
Have you found yourself questioning a significant part of your identity because of the majority? But, who hasn't? Maybe the real questions are: why and how did you grow from that experience? A central theme in their lives and others, join the Carolina Desis as they explore the effect of their religious differences without a Bible in the Bible Belt.…
 
While there is no right or wrong answer, the practice and concept of physical discipline are worth discussing. Join the Carolina Desis in today’s episode as they share their personal experiences and views on getting disciplined as children and disciplining as a whole. Bonus: tune in to find out why no one could babysit toddler Gurtej! Follow @theca…
 
What exactly makes food an integral part of family, community, and self? Is it the act of cooking? Is it sharing recipes and traditions? Or is it simply enjoying each other's company? The Carolina Desis think it's a special combo of all of the above and much more! Join them today as they discuss an aspect of heritage stemmed from cuisine. Follow @t…
 
Do you ever get a hankering for a nice, hot cup of Chai? So do our hosts! Join them as they discuss everything and anything related to Desi cuisine - from common misconceptions to key ingredients and their favorite desserts! Jalebi, Paneer, Lassi, Naan, and more: the Carolina Desis break it all down for you on today's episode! Follow @thecarolinade…
 
Originally introduced to South and Southeast Asian markets, Fair and Lovely is a fairness cream meant to lighten skin complexion. Today our hosts discuss how products like Fair and Lovely only encourage and perpetuate the already unhealthy standards of beauty pervasive in Desi cultures and beyond. Follow @thecarolinadesi on social media to join the…
 
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