Vasu Varadhan is a long-time friend of mine. We figured we’ve known each other for about 35 years. And though we haven’t stayed closely connected over those 35 years, we’ve stayed connected enough so that when I’m in NY or she’s in Seattle, we try to get together and have a laugh and a conversation.
Vasu and I met when I was in college and she was visiting for special presentation, it was an event being held at the university that I attended in Pennsylvania.
Vasu holds a PhD in Media Studies from NYU where she is currently a member of the faculty at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She’s taught a wide range of interdisciplinary seminars on media theory, identity in a multi-cultural world, ancient Indian literature and South Asian literature and we get into some of that in this conversation.
I was really eager to chat with Vasu because she recently published her first book, On My Own Terms: A Journey Between Two Worlds. This is a memoir that chronicles not only the early years of her life which included her struggles as an immigrant, first growing up in the US living in many ways a very traditional Indian life and then moving to India in her early teens (but there she was a very Americanized Indian) but also her arranged marriage which took place at the age of 16.
When you listen to this conversation, I think you’ll come away with a better understanding of the immigrant experience both for older and younger generations. But we cover many topics here including how she began work on her book shortly after the death of her eldest son in the 9/11 attack on The World Trade Center.
Please enjoy this conversation with Vasu Varadhan.
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Links/books/people mentionedAshtanga yoga Marshall McLuhen Zucked by Roger McNamee (Amazon) Moral Peril of Meritocracy by David Brooks Indra Nooyi (Wiki) Sakhi support group Manavi support group Carol Bergman Orhan Pamuk My Father’s Suitcase Raghu Varadhan (Wiki)
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