Category Archives: local

selling to neighbors

i have to write about this. so we are moving to long island on april 8th, inshallah, and i have been selling a lot of stuff on fb at fairly low prices – from a treadmill to a yamaha piano, to bedroom furniture, bookcases, cameras, skis and bikes. i’ve also donated tons: i post on fb, add pictures of the stuff, and people come and pick it up for free. there is plenty of social distancing as they help themselves from shelves in my garage, with no human contact at all. it’s been one of the loveliest experiences ever.

not only did i get to meet a large number of my rochester neighbors (an extremely diverse group based on race, ethnicity, class, gender, age, and more) but i also got to know their stories and their visions for the stuff they’re picking up.

some send me pictures of how they’re using those things in their homes. one young guy and his wife bought two bookcases, then joined them to another piece of furniture, added moulding, painted everything, and created a gorgeous entertainment center. he messaged me photographs.

it does my heart good to see how my things, which were loved and cared for, will have another life after they leave our home, that someone else will use them and cherish them as well. they are only things of course, but this opportunity to share with our community has been incredibly joyful.
many times when people buy one thing, i give them another for free. someone bought a camera, i gave them a tripod for free. the reactions are priceless, unforgettable. i love rochester so much, and this has been a life-affirming way of saying goodbye.

the fb groups i used:

rochester online garage sale
rochester craiglist

Film Discussion to Explore Legacy of 1947 Partition, As Anti-Muslim Violence Surges In India

so a screening of ‘a thin wall’ followed by a community discussion at Douglass Auditorium at 36 King St. was cancelled on march 14th, in accordance with NYS coronavirus guidelines. we hope to reschedule some time in the future.

in the meantime, Darien Lamen spoke to Hibah Arshad, Thomas Gibson and i, and put together this excellent intro to the community conversation we hope to have. pls read/listen here.

panic and shortages

i am not an alarmist and i like to take things as they come, so today i went to wegmans for my weekly shopping and it was freaky. all the meat is gone, most of the canned goods, no cooking oil, no rice, no pasta, no garbage bags. i didn’t check the TP situation. this is extreme. people should buy what they need. it’s irresponsible to create shortages, as some might actually need that food right now. urgently. also, when people are gripped with fear, those in power will, inevitably, institute harsh authoritarian measures and trample on rights and protections. the process started a long time ago in the US, but this latest crisis (much like the war on terror) will allow robber barons and their state/defense machine to go into overdrive. let’s remember the shock doctrine and use our own calm common sense and compassion in the weeks to come. it will make all the difference.

dinner at maysaa’s

last night my beautiful friend Maysaa treated us to some exquisite iraqi, syrian and lebanese food. gorgeous salads to start with (fattoush and tabbouleh), kibbeh, dolma mahshi (stuffed onions) and dolmas made with grape leaves, fatayer with cheese, spinach and meat, and finally rice and qeema (a stew with chickpeas and ground beef, traditionally served during muharram). for dessert, we had warbat which reminded me of baklava (just as crispy, filled with custard or pistachios, walnuts, and almonds), and halawet el jibn (made with cheese dough, filled with cream, drenched in sugar syrup and rose water) – to die for. what a feast and what wonderful conversation. thank u so much maysaa and mazin.

‘books sandwiched in’ at wood library

spoke about ‘citizen: an america lyric,’ part of ‘books sandwiched in’ at wood library in #canandaigua today. discussed the book (with a clip from an interview with claudia rankine), the idea of #microaggressions, the toll they take on the body, and how my film #TheInjuredBody was inspired by the book. shared some clips from the film and explained how dance, the muscular contraction of the body, and breathing are important themes in the film. the Q & A was particularly lively with some resistance to microaggressions i shared as examples. will write more about that. but the library’s director realized how such convos were badly needed, and asked for names of activists and speakers. i guess that’s a step forward. here i am with jenny goodemote the library’s executive director.

Gifts from Janani

Haldi Kumkum ceremony, is a social gathering in India in which married women exchange haldi (turmeric) and kumkum (vermilion powder) – see the pretty sachet in the picture – as a symbol of their married status and wishing for their husbands’ long lives.

The ceremony is particularly popular in the western Indian states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Goa. In Tamil Nadu, it is celebrated as Aadiperukku aka Aadi monsoon festival.

dinner at janani’s

lovely, intimate dinner and #gupshup with the beautiful Janani Parthasarathi. janani treated me to tamil cuisine from the southern tip of india: delicious adai (pancake made with lentils and rice) that i sprinkled with gur (brown sugar from sugarcane), rasam which reminded me of karhi pakora, gojju made with tamarind and butternut squash, puliyore (a rice dish with peanuts), poriyal with cabbage and peas, and vella payasam (a fragrant kheer made with date sugar). there was also homemade dahi (yogurt) which took me back to pakistan. what a feast, what wonderful company. thank u janani.

panelists for post screening discussion

After the screening of ‘A Thin Wall’ there will be a Q&A discussion about the film, the 1947 partition, and the current news coming out of India.

I will be joined by Hibah Arshad, who will speak from personal experience about what it’s like to have family in India.

Hibah Arshad is a graduate of the University of Rochester. She majored in Psychology and is planning to pursue a career in medicine. She has been actively involved in interfaith efforts and community outreach for a number of years. She is a first generation Indian-American, and hopes to bring light to the impact that these recent events have had on Indian Muslims around the world.

My second co-panelist, for our post-screening discussion, will be Thomas Gibson. Tom will talk about British colonialism, the history of the RSS and European fascism. He will also locate the Delhi pogrom in a global, neoliberal context. Here is his bio.

Thomas Gibson is an anthropologist who has conducted extensive field research in the Philippines and Indonesia on religious nationalism, the indigenous peoples movement, and the legacy of Spanish, American and Dutch colonialism in Southeast Asia. He teaches courses at the University of Rochester on Radical Social Theory, American Empire, and Political Ontology.

Sat. March 14 // 6-9 PM // 36 King Street
Tickets on sale now:
$8/online // $10/ at the door