Our wonderful friends at Dialogues of Diaspora have done something awesome. Get ready to sit-down and listen-in to eye-opening conversations in their brand-new three-part series which sheds a unique light on the South Asian Diaspora. They unpack interesting views on identity, history, music, fashion – share untold stories and ask thought-provoking questions. We’re so excited to share the first episode with you.
Created by our incredibly talented friends Sanvir Singh Chana and Ramneet Baidwan, they say of the three-part series:–
"Dialogues of Diaspora is a way for us to reconnect. In some ways, like me, this project is 26 years in the making. Hounslow, a rich South Asian pocket in West London was a somewhat welcoming place to grow up. Nurtured in the comfort of our culture, reflected in the Gurdwaras and pungent smells gently wafting from the litter of Punjabi restaurants frequented by the many faces alike my own. But any interest in my own heritage and faith was outweighed by the fluctuating need to fit in at school, and at sixteen, without a platform for my British/Asian identity to resonate, I only drifted further away from that comfort into a place of false assimilation.
If only I returned home to regularly feel part of the national story, to see myself reflected in mainstream media, I wouldn’t have contemplated the fate of my long hair. However, I felt the blame could no longer be inflicted on the industry if I wasn’t doing anything about it, and fortunately, a friend on the opposite side of the world felt the same. Together, Ramneet Baidwan and I, with an arduous eight-hour time difference, carefully crafted this talk show and two short films (to be later released) that we hope will inspire the next generation with the comfort to be themselves. Our passion for story-telling and platforming the vast history and narratives of the South Asian diaspora found the curious and energetic team and Dishoom. The sole purpose of pursuing this project was envoked by emotion; Dialogues of Diaspora is a way for us all to reconnect."
Episode One kicks off with Shamil and Shalina (who is brilliant and lovely in equal measure) whimsically reflecting on South Asian British history. From chapatis in World War One trenches to school history lessons and the importance of shared stories – it’s not to be missed.
With February comes a gladdening of spirits, lighter morning skies and discernibly louder birdsong. It is also the month to bid farewell to our winter cocoons (at least partially) and tune back into the world beyond our blankets. Allow us to ease the de-hibernation process, by sharing some of the things piquing our interest this month.
“Who wants to see some magic?” Chef Arun calls out. He flings the rolled out dough into the air, sending it soaring above the counter. It spins and twists, a graceful dancer in the air. The children watch its arc, their eyes wide with wonder, until it lands gently back in the chef's hands. The children shriek in delight.
January is a most divisive month. For some it heralds the hopeful turning over of new leaves; for others it is a month to trudge begrudgingly through towards the promise of spring. Whichever camp you find yourself in, we have plentiful diversions to share. See them as the cherry atop your already gleeful January cake, or a welcome distraction while you await winter’s end.
I AM HERE, dear reader, slovenly and slouched, staring into my drink at the end of the bar in our new restaurant in Battersea. My mind is still down and out, sifting around in the dregs of ’23 but of course it knows that I should really straighten my back, raise my chin and look squarely up into the cold new light of ’24. My drink – Choti’s Punch – clear and strong, sweet with a little salt, may help.