Why I Love Cece Parekh and Mindy Lahiri

Oct 22, 2013
Why I Love Cece Parekh and Mindy Lahiri

By Priya Chhaya Here’s a truth about me. I love television. Another truth? I am one of those Indians that loves seeing Indians on television. I’ll often give a show a chance (or keep watching) for that reason alone. Case in point: When ER was in its later years, I kept watching primarily because Parminder […]

Culturally Appropriate or Cultural Appropriation? A Few Thoughts

Sep 30, 2013
Culturally Appropriate or Cultural Appropriation?  A Few Thoughts

by Priya Chhaya In early April, pop star Selena Gomez incited media buzz when she appeared in public wearing a bindi. She is not the first celebrity to wear something Indian, but I have to ask: Should I feel offended that someone has chosen to appropriate a piece of Indian cultural identity for entertainment? Or […]

Saying Goodbye Is Just So Hard To Do

Apr 12, 2012

by Priya Chhaya I love to write. In my day job I write about history and the past, about cities and the importance of place and space in the everyday and in the identity of individual people. When I’m not writing I love to read–books, newspapers, magazines, and other blogs. So on any given day, […]

Shwetak Patel: Are You Alone, and Are You Sitting Down?

Feb 29, 2012
Shwetak Patel: Are You Alone, and Are You Sitting Down?

by Priya Chhaya Last fall, Shwetak Patel was in his home office when his phone rang. The voice on the other end introduced themselves, before asking him: “Are you alone, and are you sitting down?” The call was from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and they were giving him a $500,000 genius […]

The Story

Jan 12, 2012
The Story

by Priya Chhaya I love listening to the story. We all have one, a narrative about how we came to America, how someone in our family made a choice to leave a home in one country and create a new one in another. While each of these stories is fleshed out with common elements, it […]

There is Just One Rule: Be Funny, But Be Real

Oct 13, 2011

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="Comedian Vijai Nathan"][/caption] by Priya Chhaya There is a point in Vijai Nathan’s comedy show where she imitates her South Indian grandmother describing her favorite television show….in Tamil. All around me the audience is in stitches–my friend who understands the language is grinning, while I’m responding to the familiarity of the […]

You Can Take It With You

Sep 9, 2011
You Can Take It With You

by Priya Chhaya Moving. A room once full of books, electronics, posters, and photographs now bare. Each item packed away into cardboard boxes that all look the same. Boxes, filled with nearly everything you own in two cars. Moving Out. Two words that mean so much more than just the act of packing up your […]

Preserving the Past in India and the United States

Jul 25, 2011
Preserving the Past in India and the United States

by Priya Chhaya My day job (when I’m not thinking about blog posts for HomeSpun) is working as an employee for the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP). We’re a non-profit organization that works to preserve and protect the places that matter to all Americans—through advocacy work, education, and community development. Most recently we released […]

Witnessing the Dream, Searching for Stories

Jun 15, 2011

by Priya Chhaya With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope. –Martin Luther King, Jr. Earlier this month I attended a sneak peek of the new memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. located in Washington, D.C. next to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. The […]

Come As You Are: Maximum India

Mar 24, 2011

by Priya Chhaya Suspended from the ceiling A map filled with arts Culture Symbols Dancing over a wheel, a chakra Calling for virtue from the people. And at the crowded, energetic stage Sounds of Rajasthan flow into the melody of the violin Embrace the dance styling of Punjabi rhythm Din. Dinaka. Din Din. Dinaka. Din […]

One Country, Different Cultures

Mar 7, 2011

by Priya Chhaya [caption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”182″ caption=”This design is a form of rangoli, colorful artwork that can be drawn with paint or sand, and is a decorative element during celebratory occasions. This particular set is ready made and may be used during one of the pre-wedding events for its splash of color. All photos […]

…And that’s the Beauty of the Open Mic

Jan 14, 2011

by Priya Chhaya It is a chilly Monday evening and I step inside a room on the second floor of a building along U Street in Washington, DC.  I am, as usual, casually late, thirty minutes to be specific which is really on time, if you think about Indian Standard Time (IST). As I walk […]

Getting to Know You: Making Connections

Oct 16, 2010

by Priya Chhaya When I was younger there were three things that I feared when my parents told us we were taking a family trip to India. The lack of American/European toilets (something that has mostly ceased to be a problem), spending time with cousins I barely knew, and consequently wasn’t sure I liked, and […]