Austin, Austen and Austenistan

If celebrated British novelist, Jane Austen was alive, she would probably think there is a spelling mistake in the word Austin.  She would have wondered if Austin, a city with the same name but a different spelling, needs spell-check. She would be intrigued by Austenistan for sure. Here is my article from Austin South Asian discussing that.

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Mohsin Hamid Speaks to Mayor's Book Club

My first published article with the Austin Chronicle! Mohsin Hamid, best selling author of Exit West, and someone whose writings I have followed from Moth Smoke was in Austin. I wrote, “There was a familiarity about the evening. It seemed like no one was a stranger there. Austin, the heart of Texas, and Hamid, the heart of reason, were thinking alike. How could people who had never met before – or even been in the same city – be so comfortable with each other?”

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SXSW, ‘Big Sick’ show influence of South Asia on the arts in Austin

So happy to announce my first feature in Austin-American Statesman!  I enjoy every minute of the writing experience... It makes me continue to grow as a person.

This article is about the South Asian influence in SXSW.  Interactive, Music and Film - each category had the South Asians and especially Pakistani's taking part and drawing crowds.  A big hit at SXSW was Kumail Nunjiani's The Big Sick.  The film was so well appreciated that it was released on the big screen soon after.  

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A Twitter of Feelings Around World Cup Cricket

When the Indian and Pakistani Cricket teams reached the finals in the World Cup Cricket 2017 at the Lords Stadium in London, Rishi Kapoor, a Bollywood Film Star,  published a Tweet in support of the Indian team and went on to criticize the Pakistani team.  This started an online back and forth with people from each side showing support or feelings of hurt against Rishi Kapoor.  I wrote about Rishi Kapoor's following on social media and how it all worked out in his favor while sitting in my hotel room in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  

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South Asian Pop Sensation performs in Austin at a Concert of Sorts

Austin has become a satellite city for South Asian concerts in Houston and Dallas.   Once a star is in Texas for a big concert, the Austin organizers try to secure last minute dates for a smaller gig like concert.  The stars are also keen to test the Austin waters with it's live music scene.  What happens is fun of the crazy sort.  This is what gladly makes Austin weird!

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In Memoriam: When I Met the Edhis

I was on flight from Austin to NYC when I read on social media that the world famous humanitarian Abdus Sattar Edhi, had died due to Kidney failure at the age of 91.  While the news was expected, I could not believe how strongly it still hit me.  I was transported to my childhood when my mother had tagged me along to meet his wife.  How I was influenced by who I met, I did not recognize at the time, but when I look back now, I say, "O yeah, I guess that is why I too do community service in Austin."

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Mindy Kaling in Austin at the Teen Book Festival

I wrote this article for the Austin South-Asian. A fan of Mindy Kaling, I went to hear her talk at St. Edwards early morning at the Texas Teen Book Festival.  I almost didn't go, thinking I was too old for the event, but decided to push my boundaries. I'm so happy I did. I saw so many women like me sitting there amidst the college students – all of us just enjoying Mindy's humor and earnest advice.

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"Desi" Kids at ACL

I love ACL.  I think every high schooler should start attending it once he or she is ready. My daughter showed first inclination to head that way in tenth grade.  At that time, my husband and I went along and separated from her and her group of friends once we dropped them.  We agreed to meet at a marked location and set some rules. Subsequent years, its pick and drop and learn as you go.  Now I decide when I am going,  and my daughter makes her own plans.  Invariably, she decides to go one day with me as she say, "You always manage to have the most fun!"  I secretly love to hear that.

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Should We Leave Behind Pakistan?

Life is busy and it gets busier if you belong to two cultures.  I struggled with space on my calendar when a famous personality from Pakistan came to UT Austin to deliver a talk.  My dad happened to know him and while I took dad to the talk, after tending to family activities, I asked myself why I needed to put both cultures on top priority all the time.  Whether it's worth it or not, played upon my mind as I drove back and forth for it in heavy downpour.

This article was first published in the Mangobaaz, an online publication emulating Buzzfeed.

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