August 5, 2022No Comments

Love That Endures

My grandmother loved me.

My grandma loved me so much that whenever my mom yelled at me as a kid, my grandma would yell back at her because her first grandchild could do no wrong.

My grandma loved me so much that, after she officially immigrated to the U.S. four years ago, she cried, but it was only because she got to see me for the first time in eight years.

My grandma loved me so much that she would continue crying tears of joy every time she saw me after that. For four years.

My grandma loved me so much that despite my having a big kid job with a well-paying salary, she still saw me as her baby who needed to be given money for pastries and little snacks.

My grandma loved me so much that every encounter with her consisted of those classic sniff kisses. On the hands, on the cheek, on the nose.

My grandma loved me so much that, whenever we were next to each other, she would hold my hands tightly and refuse to let go. For the last year I took advantage of that and grasped even tighter, if only to ingrain the wrinkles on her hands into my memory.

My family and I had the privilege of seeing her the morning before she passed. It felt like any other visit and would only be five minutes because we were only stopping by to say hi before our flight. For some reason I felt compelled to hug her extra tight that day. I remember pulling back to leave the hug, but something called me to lean back in. I tried to give her the bear hug I usually give everyone else despite her frail frame. I squeezed extra tight for extra long, and I am so glad I did because she passed the next night in her sleep.

My grandma loved me so much, and I know that on the last morning we saw each other she was reminded that I love her, too.

June 3, 2022No Comments

“Proud” Doesn’t Even Begin to Cover It

Sometime in high school, I remember laying in bed with my then eight or nine-year-old sister lamenting about petty drama. I was complaining about something insignificant, yet my sister’s response in that moment wasn’t to poke fun at my feelings. At eight years old, Michelle had offered a really grown up response, actually. What those specific words were, I can’t recall, but what I can remember from this tiny blip from our childhood is the way she made me feel: heard, but challenged. She had posed a question offering a different perspective, and my first thought was, “Sorry, aren’t you like, eight?” followed by, “Actually, I hadn’t thought about it like that.”

Another memorable exchange I hold fondly from our upbringing is me randomly exclaiming, “I love sleep! Don’t you?” to which my eleven? or twelve-year-old sister responded, “Yeah, but it makes me feel so disconnected from the world.”

Girl, what?

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December 30, 2021No Comments

Running Through the Worst Year of My Life

At the end of 2020, I discovered a running app called Any Distance. Enamored by the design, and as someone who has a relentless need to set lofty goals, I aspired to run a total of three hundred and sixty-five miles over the course of the next year. To me, this felt attainable because when you do the math, it really is completing just one mile per day. One mile, just ten minutes out of my day. As an avid runner, I thought I had set the bar really low for myself and felt an internal pressure to up the ante.

What I didn't account for when setting this goal was that 2021 was going to shape up to be the worst year of my life. I will admit on the record right now that I am an extremely (!) dramatic person, but when I say that this topped 2020 in being the Worst Fucking Year in the World I'm not being hyperbolic.

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August 22, 2019No Comments

Shining Light on an Unexpected Career Path

I really, really enjoy talking to people. So much so that I came up with a project that allowed me to converse with others about their careers and consume some of their time in exchange for a portrait taken by me. As soon as I found out that I was attending Strive, a user experience (UX) research conference based in Toronto, I knew I wanted to learn about research, design, and strategy through the process of interviewing other conference attendees.

Here is the second part of that series, in which I speak with Lorraine M. about how adjusting lights led to a career revelation, the distinction between academic research and UX research, and the pros and cons of both.

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July 9, 2019No Comments

Engineer-Turned-Filmmaker Nikita Hattangady Turned One Bad Day into Her Film Debut

Last month, I had the privilege of speaking with Nikita Hattangady after meeting her at the DFW South Asian Film Festival (SAFF) earlier in May. Hattangady, a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to everything related to engineering and filmmaking, is the writer and director of Falafel, a short film about a woman whose chance meeting with a man in a café changes her life. Situated at a wooden table right outside Mudsmith’s on a warm but breezy summer day, she and I discussed everything from the benefits of dabbling in multiple disciplines to Falafel’s British origin and how you can make even Dallas, Texas look like London.

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June 25, 2019No Comments

The Grand Re-Union: How a Physical Storefront Provides a Sense of Home

Oak Lawn has a new neighbor coming to town! At 3705 Cedar Springs Rd. now sits Union, a community-oriented coffeeshop that offers sweet Onyx beans and a mean Matcha Mint that'll give you a run for your money. I had the opportunity to sit down in this new space with Mike Baughman, who is the founding pastor and community curator who spearheaded the entire initiative, and we discussed his intentions with Union and the potential the newfound coffeeshop holds.

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June 12, 2019No Comments

What Do International Relations Have to Do with UX?

I really, really enjoy talking to people. So much so that I came up with a project that allowed me to converse with others about their careers and consume some of their time in exchange for a portrait taken by me. As soon as I found out that I was attending Strive, a user experience (UX) research conference based in Toronto, I knew I wanted to learn about research, design, and strategy through the process of interviewing other conference attendees.

Here is the first part of that series, in which I speak with Vivian C. about the relationship between public policy and UX, systems thinking, and the current challenges of designing for insurance. I hope you gain as much as I did from our conversation.

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May 15, 2019No Comments

Jitin Hingorani Looks Back on Five Years of South Asian Storytelling in DFW

Jitin Hingorani, a self-declared serial entrepreneur, began the Dallas-Fort Worth South Asian Film Festival (SAFF) five years ago after noticing a lack of South Asian storytelling in the Dallas media market. He's one of the people who made my interview with Vikas Khanna possible at the Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF), which is how he and I met. We reconnected nearly a month after DIFF to discuss his rise as a businessman and media mogul, SAFF's fifth anniversary, and why it's important to have a film festival centered around South Asians in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

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April 17, 2019No Comments

Michelin Chef Vikas Khanna’s “The Last Color” Paints the Town Pink

Many know Vikas Khanna as a Michelin star chef, a judge on MasterChef India, or for his work as a humanitarian. However, this well-known restaurateur is now making headlines with his directorial debut The Last Color, a powerful narrative about India's Supreme Court decision to overturn a law that prohibits widows from celebrating Holi. Drawing from his own life's experiences and driven by the need to tell honest stories, Khanna addresses misogyny, India's caste system, and the importance of advocacy in this touching film.

Jitin Hingorani, Khanna's PR manager for
The Last Color, invited me to join them on the eighth floor of the Canopy Hotel for a private reception. With the Dallas skyline as our backdrop, I asked Khanna about the similarities between the restaurant industry and the film industry, India's rich culture, and why The Last Color resonates with so many people.

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