As a British Indian I am one of many women whose marriageable sell-by-date is often defined by society. A passionate Kathak dancer (north Indian classical form) and traveller, I have worked in the banking technology sector for over ten years until I was made redundant. In wanting to understand one of many South Asian stigmas, I flew to India last year with a fellow filmmaker friend, Shakir Kadri, and became the subject of a documentary, Desperately Seeking Husband, that attempts to understand the importance of marriage today. My experiences in India encouraged me to create a platform for discussion and I have written articles for Asiana.TV, Asian Woman Magazine, Chak De India as well keeping my own personal blogs and have been guest speaker for the BBC Asian Network on several occasions discussing social issues impacting British Indians today. Most recently, I participated in the BBC’s Asian Silence, a radio debate hosted by BBC’s Ritula Shah that aimed to discuss, how one year on, British Asians had been influenced by the increasing number of sexual violence attacks against women in India, in particular the horrific gang rape in Delhi in December 2012, as well as the impact Malala Yousafzai on Asian women in the UK.
In June 2013. in association with Global Arts Kingston, a multi-cultural community arts organization in Kingston-upon-Thames, my cousin Kishan Shah and I collaborated to create a production called The Evolution of the British Indian Woman as part of the Kingston Connections festival held in Kingston’s Rose Theatre. Through the eyes of one Kingston family, the presentation explored the essence of a British Indian woman through the experiences of three branches of one family tree. A grandmother, who moved to the UK 30 years ago with aspirations of a new future; her daughter, a business woman, wife and mother; and me, the granddaughter, who wants to explore the thread that interweaves within each generation. The production was presented in the form of a series of short films followed by a talk that I hosted, giving the audience an opportunity to interact and share similar life stories. My family members and I went on to share the experience on the BBC’s Desi Download and in Asiana.TV’s online magazine. I continue to blog and still write ad-hoc features for Asiana.TV and am a Features Columnist for the The Asian Today as well becoming a committee member of Global Arts Kingston.