(See below to order your Diwali Celebration Box!)
One of the gifts of immigration is the rich culture immigrants contribute to this land. Over the years, my own life has had infinitely more texture and joy having lived in two diverse cities like London & SF. It’s one of the reasons that many of us choose to live here in the City despite the high cost. We just couldn’t live somewhere that doesn’t have this richness of experience. It would feel somewhat flat.
It would be heartbreaking to have to give up the countless opportunities to experience cultures in subtle and effortless ways. I find myself passively listening to and learning the sounds of foreign languages of people chatting around me. I take in different mannerisms that people use to communicate, or when I’m in a rut, I have this strange hobby of watching soap operas in foreign languages without subtitles to experience pure drama from the heart.
It’s ear-opening listening to entirely new music, often with marvelous sounds that I didn’t think were humanly possible. (Mongolian throat singing is my newest obsession.) I’ve taught my body to expertly move to Salsa beats or appreciate Arabic beats so different to the American or Indian music that I typically consume.
I revel in different cultures’ vices to elevate my mood. I’ve sat in cafes happily over the years chewing Khat, sipping on Kava, chewing Manikchand, or smoking Sheeshah whilst sipping hot tea. Or relaxing at the Imperial Spa which I so selfishly want back in business!
But it’s the food that I truly fixate over.
I’ll eat something like a Turkish breakfast with Ayran and it enriches me forever in ways I don’t really have words to describe. Something about experiencing the taste of creamy Lebanese garlic sauce Toum on freshly baked bread, or traditional Mexican panuchos that has me in heaven with each bite, or the greens that I don’t know the name of that I buy in the supermarkets in Chinatown, stir-fried with garlic and eaten simply with jasmine rice, or the sweet potato pie with fresh vanilla that a friend from the south fed me that is now a staple on my Thanksgiving table. The little steaming baskets of Dim Sum on a Sunday morning are what I’m currently missing the most during this pandemic 🙁 Or the drives I’ll take west on Geary to the Russian market for stuffed cabbage leaves, or across the Bay to Oakland to stock my freezer with delicious Jamaican Patties or to Daly City for Brazilian Pao de Quiejo. These small experiences have enriched and moved me.
You can tell I love food, especially cooking and feeding people. It’s no surprise that despite starting out my career as a lawyer, I find myself instead weaving simple Punjabi food into the texture of the American fabric.
This year I’d like to invite you to celebrate Diwali on Saturday, November 14th with Kasa. It’s the biggest festival by far for us Indians. The festival of lights, lighting up the way during a chapter of darkness. A festival celebrating the victory of Good over Evil, uniting and restoring faith in humanity and life. And if there was ever a year to make a conscious effort to celebrate these concepts, this would be the year!
To help you celebrate at home with us, we’ve curated a beautiful Diwali Celebration Box, equally valuable for Indians who wish to honor cherished traditions with friends & family or for those new to Diwali who’d like to embrace something fun, new and positive.
The gift box includes:
- Traditional clay diyas (candles) to light up your evening
- Rangoli screens & powder to make beautiful floor art
- A curated playlist to Indian beats
- Lavender incense sticks with a beautiful wooden incense holder to usher in positive vibes
- Sparklers to light up the night & create excitement
- A box of sweets, because no Diwali celebration is complete without sweets to remind us of the sweetness of life.
I wish everyone a happy, unifying Diwali where we all take a moment to take stock of what we have and bring hope to our futures.