My mom always tells me that I’m every South Asian parent’s nightmare. She’s joking, but she’s not wrong.
People don’t believe me when I tell them I’m Desi girl from Newfoundland. But this island in the middle of the ocean, jutting off the coast of Canada, is where my mother found solace for our tiny family of two after leaving her abusive husband and in-laws. I was raised by a single mother and my Nana ji, who carried the weight of having four daughters in an environment where sons are a socio-cultural currency. But they existed outside the confines of these belief systems, fostering my youthful accolades of being argumentative and steadfast in my ideologies. These attributes have, almost inevitably, culminated in me going to law school. I am currently an articling student working with low-income and marginalized clients and have found a passion for the practice of immigration and refugee law. This practice is so meaningful to me; one of my first memories is of my Nana ji bringing a young Punjabi woman to stay in our home because she had been sponsored by her spouse and was living with extreme domestic violence. That day my Nana ji and a complete stranger staying in my home taught me the value and strength in being a woman. I hope to propel his legacy and my mother’s resilience by using the law as a tool to give agency to immigrant and refugee women and children.
I am a South Asian woman who has tattoos and piercings. I identify as queer. I write soft poetry and opinionated commentary. I am dedicated to pushing our community to dismantle their shadism, misogyny and homophobia. I speak and laugh loudly and I wear clothing that is utterly unacceptable to most aunties. I do this because racialized women deserve a platform and a voice and an identity outside of patriarchal definitions. I believe I should have the ability, along with every other woman, to unapologetically flaunt my feminism, my queerness, and the fruits of my consciousness without the constant ear-worm of “log kya kahenge?” Our words have such profound importance, and I aspire to do everything I can to make sure they can be heard.