The brown Pandit's brown cows on the broadcast, we got some of my usual Confederate's on, but we have a very special guest, Nikil Maheshwari, I hope I got the name right. And Nickelson, because we're going to talk about Indian matchmaking and matchmaking, that sort of thing. And the reason he's on is I don't believe he is a matchmaker, but he happens to be the cousin of the protagonist, is that correct? Yeah, yeah. Second cousin.
Second cousin. OK, I mean, whatever.
That's all the same. Can you first introduce yourself so we can situate you and then I'm going to ask you some questions. Yeah, absolutely.
Thank you. Received. Well you know my name. I am a biotech engineer by training biopharma consultant as well at Deloitte. I grew up around the Bay Area of California and I currently erm based out of Chicago, although, you know, sheltering in place in California with parents for the moment. But that's pretty much it for you man.
Yeah, I have one of the one of the previous guests is so he's based out of well he's officially based out of New York but he's sheltering in place in Southern California. So, you know, this covid-19 quarantine zone, really difficult for him. Yeah. So, you know, I got you on just kind of like on a lark because people keep talking about this matchmaking show. And I'm I'm a little fascinated about it from an anthropological viewpoint. There has been a lot of like Lokesh criticism of it because it's exclusionary.
So I Googled your surname. So you're a berwari, right?
Yes, I am a minority, although it doesn't mean that much to me. But yeah, obviously, you live in the United States. You're brown, dude. But what what is the difference between a Maheshwari and a Mahuad?
Well, Mahmoudi is actually more of a geographical distinction.
Authorities are from the western half of Rajasthan, tied together with the desert and all of the stereotypes that come with that. But what most people in South Asia know of or call Moraitis are already traitor's. So members of the merchant castes Bunyan's, if you will, who spread out throughout the rest of India somewhat, maybe like 200 years, starting two hundred years ago, something like that Mughal era into the British era. And a large community of them actually went very far east into Bengal.
And that's where this idea of these traders being called Marathi became a thing really in and around Calcutta in which everybody, even if they weren't really from Mahuad, if they were from like other parts of Rajasthan, they'd still be labeled Mulready because they were part of this, you know, trading caste.
Well, so what did you what did you guys do in Rajasthan? I mean, you're American. I don't know if you know this detail, but actually I don't know anything about this. I do know yeah, they're traders, blah, blah, blah. I mean, what were you doing in Rajasthan then? Like, I mean, it's a desert. I mean, you're not Sanclemente. Right, right, well, you know, there's a lot of myth making and various reasons why, you know, people posit that, you know, we spread out.
But, you know, I tend to think of the various Moratti, you know, Bunyah ethnic groups as like a little bit like Jews in Europe.
And the way things worked, where, you know, especially during the Mughal era, you know, things like banking and trading and money lending. These were things that, you know, the other classes typically wouldn't do. You know, that the Qataris and the Rajputs, they wouldn't be involved. And obviously under Islam, it's it's not a permissible thing as well.
So, you know, it fell to these people to to do this kind of thing.
And, you know, maybe maybe some of them started off as farmers. Maybe, you know, there are various myths in which they say they started off as Rajputs but, you know, couldn't find money with violence or whatever.
And then, you know, there was a conversion story in almost every minority Bunyah caste in which people, you know, moved from whatever shut down to Vitya, you know, became vegetarian, you know, various Alkermes of purity, all of that good anthropological stuff.
And and then and that's really the genesis of this community, I would say. Obviously, I I have my reservations. I'm sure that this community is older than we talk to.
You don't you don't have a reservation. I'm just joking. Oh, right. Right, fair. You're right. We don't have a reservation.
All my life, I think in Bihar, somebody was able to do some political finagling and get reservations for somebody.
Has no idea though, so.
OK, well, so, you know, the reason we're talking to you is your second cousin, Seema Parrilla. So what I read online is her thing is normally hooking up matchmaking, like, very well off my families or Maheshwari families or whatever. And so, I mean, that's one thing like did you know about her before the show? I mean, you recognized her. I mean, like, what's the story on that? Yeah, yeah, so.
Basically, so are our grandmothers, our sisters or were and you know, I know her, I've I've met her. She's been to her house. I probably know her sister a lot better because she lives here in the Bay Area. And I grew up with her. And, you know, she's you know, even though second cousins, like when you grow up with any relations near you, they're like close, very close family.
So I was definitely aware of, you know, her being a matchmaker in the community.
And there's you know, there are these conventions that I was recently made aware of, you know, Maheshwari conventions in North America in which, you know, people would get together and like do a bunch of cultural things that I didn't really know about until college. And then, you know, obviously there'd be this whole matchmaking thing that would happen there, too.
So I had some idea of who she was. I remember she did a documentary earlier, and I think it's on Amazon Prime called A Suitable Girl.
And the thing drop. Yeah. Yeah, I think she was. OK, OK, so so you met her, I mean, so reality TV is fake, obviously, we all know that. Have you watched the show? I have I have it, that's all. What do you think? I mean, obviously, like I don't want to know anything personal about her in terms of just like whatever you're comfortable with. I'm not trying to be a snoop.
But do you think they depicted her personality correctly?
Obviously, they're not going to depict the totality of who she is, but they misrepresent the general sense of who she was, whether they get it right. You know, I think they largely got it right, at least within the bounds of the idea that this is really a reality show, you know, from what I know of her, she's a warm person.
You know, she's your typical, you know, Indian auntie, or in my case, I would call her DBI, but, you know. I would also say that as especially within our culture and various cultures from the subcontinent, there's always a generational divide, right.
Which kind of prevents you from truly knowing people of the generation above you in many ways, their various barriers and ages. One of the biggest barriers there. Right.
So I could tell you what I know her from her being an Andy who's related to me, but I'm not sure I am her closest confidante and know all the details of her personality in a different way.
So it's tinged with that sort of perspective, of course. But do you think it depicted her fairly? I think it did.
I think it did. Yeah.
And, you know you know, she all in all, she came off as like a really average member of the community.
It was it was like, you know, a lot of those attitudes and thoughts and comments and stuff, they're commonplace. They're everywhere. So. So, I mean, you're I mean, just like from your biography, you are like I mean, can I ask you how old you are?
Yeah, sure. I'm 27. OK, so you're saying you're not a Zouma, but you're you're getting you're one of the youngest millennials. Yeah. So, you know, you're a little younger than me, like a different generation. So, you know, I'm in my 40s. But you seem like out of central casting for like Indian American. Right? I mean, is that just a just in terms of your biography and stuff like that, how do you feel about all this matchmaking stuff?
And it kind of becoming like a phenomenon in the broader culture?
Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Well, in terms of my personal experience with this, I have told my parents that I am interested in finding my own person and my parents have taken it really well. And I've certainly they've gotten calls from C.A.T. before the libro.
I mean I mean, that biodata is like throbbing. Right?
Well, you know. It's just, you know, like a respect that my parents have for me and my personal life, that, you know, they've they've certainly turned anything like that away. However, I am not against matchmaking, especially because of the idea that it's setting people up who know that they're what they want is marriage. I mean, not always. Obviously, this is not always the case, especially if the parents are doing the matchmaking.
But with Indian Americans, I think by and large, a lot of them, you know, will use services like these when they're into their 30s, mid 30s, late 30s, and rightly so, because it makes things really easy for them.
Sorry, I've got my consultant hat on right now.
And I think if you just wear whatever you want to wear, I just want to practice because, you know, I mean, I'll tell you my perspective, which I think I've expressed on the blog, is, you know, I was very skeptical. I mean, like I grew up like I'm younger than you are, older than you. I grew up in a different time and I just as middle aged, backwards stuff, blah, blah, blah.
And I'm married. I have two kids, nothing traditional about it. So but, you know, see my friends who are still single at my age or divorced or all these other things, relationships are hard. And so my attitude is, you know, do do what needs to be done to make you happy and fulfilled.
And there's not just one way. So I'm a lot less judgmental than I was when I say your age, just because I've seen the ups and downs of other people in my own relationship and, you know, just people need to be happy and find their own way. And I think we need to be a little less judgmental overall. I think from a brown background, South Asian, Indian, whatever are some judgments about like Americans dating and love marriage and all this stuff.
I disagree with that. But I also disagree with people saying, oh, well, you know, this is just backward and middle aged and people matching them based on looks and color and caste.
Have you heard about what people do on Match.com or God knows, you know?
Yeah, exactly. Oh, yeah. So, you know, I feel like American culture is converging on some of the stuff that, like I found regressive in South Asian culture, except they've operationalized it in terms of just like information technology. Right.
Right. There's there's no one size fits all. You know, I'm not there's you know, being a social justice warrior about it is not going to make sense because there's so many different perspectives and reasons and, you know, put the views. I would say that from an Indian American perspective, matchmaking is certainly frowned down upon, especially with people in my generation, because, you know, it's like, oh, you couldn't find somebody for yourself, you know, or you know.
But sometimes the truth is that.
Nowadays, especially among Indian Americans, people are becoming professionals and staying in school for longer and longer, becoming doctors, engineers, lawyers, et cetera, et cetera, you know, very focused on their careers and people, you know, sometimes their various other hangups.
You know, at home, for instance, like mom and dad have, you know, a certain feeling about who you should be with or, you know, being with somebody is going to make things way easier with the family.
People are just pragmatic about it, you know, and maybe they don't believe in, you know, romantic notions and would rather have a partner who fits whatever their specifications are and then go with it, especially if, you know, it's already you're already in your 30s and you're you know, you're you're like, look, I have my own life. I have my own personality. And I don't think I'm ready to adjust necessarily, but I do want to get married, have children, et cetera, et cetera.
And this is how I can do it within the bounds of my community. This is what is helpful for us.
So there there are so many perspectives. Some people will will look at it like, you know, stay far away.
I'm not interested in these regressive attitudes, et cetera, et cetera. And others are like, look, it makes life easy for me and I don't really care. So just fix me up with someone. I also there is a distinction between parents or matchmakers or whatever, finding girls for you to meet and then the boy and girl meeting and actually deciding whether they want to do it or not. That's not that different from Match.com or anything. Right. Do you go on a website and you see people who you don't know and you pick someone for certain characteristics and then you meet them and it's after that that they decide the real arranged marriage was not like that at all?
Right. The real arranged marriage used to be where the parents arranged it and you had practically very little say in it. And there may be some, you know, but of course, there are parents who would ask your opinion and their parents who would not. But it would not be primarily your decision. Has that changed? Do I get the feeling that in the United States, if you are going through matchmaking, Indian matchmaking, you're still meeting actually and then deciding?
Yeah, so so definitely it changes.
And there's a clear trend that it changes with, you know, locational like where you grew up and socioeconomic status and things like that.
Right. So like if you grew up in Bombay and you know, you had a million of, you know, cosmopolitan friends and you spoke English and, you know, your parents had some sort of westernized grounding, then you're more likely to be that way. And you have a choice, I should say, especially the woman. The woman is also more likely to have a choice. However, I will definitely say that if you grew up in a much more rural area where attitudes are much more traditional and there are plenty of people even in my family who have grown up like that, there's less of a choice and it's more of a like, you know, you're going to settle for who your parents pick out for you.
But there's still a choice, I'd say, and I know this differs according to community in my community, for instance, everybody has a choice. It's just that for some people, the choice is between or among fewer a smaller pool. Does that make sense?
Like if you grew up in a much more traditional household, your pool is smaller, like maybe there are stipulations like no ghodrat, these are no Punjabis or etc. Maybe there are stipulations are just like has to be Indian. It depends on where you're from. All right, but how common do you think it is in the United States not talking about India, but in any case, I don't think people need to have a say at all for people to have, you know, parents decided and especially for a girl they decided and whether she really liked him or not.
That's the decision. Yeah, I don't.
I think it's it's common in some communities and not in others in my community. It's not common because, you know, I find that. Pretty much everybody is well-educated with two or three degrees and have come to the U.S. from an already middle class to upper middle class background, so already have internalized Western values and parents.
So, you know, not common, not common. But I promise you that, you know, there are communities who have come to the US with parents who maybe don't speak much English.
You know, I've met a couple of friends, one friend who's his Ghodrat, the actually had parents who had who had come straight from the Gulf, you know, and essentially this was a thing for them.
They were looking strictly for a girl in India. I don't I'm not sure that this girl in India would have had much choice either in terms of marrying their son.
So, yeah, again, it's based on your socioeconomic status and your background from where you came from in society back in India. But among Indian Americans, I think it's not as much of a thing.
And I think if it happens, a lot of people rebelle, especially women, because it's harder on women for sure. Hey, hey, Nicole Mukunda, so I have a question, so, you know, when I was younger, I think I, I did a little bit of this online matchmaking stuff and to try to meet my. An Indian person, but also had an opportunity to interact with a lot of different people from across different traditions and yeah, yeah.
Have you have you have you participated ever in any of these, like, conventions where they have for, like, Droughty or Cindi's? Because in those conventions, right. There's like these these these matchmaking sessions, they try to do mongst within the. Right. Really fascinating because, you know, while there might be differences in terms of caste or whatever it is like the convention. Like, for example, there's a convention that I went to a couple of times, not because I'm illegal, but because my sisters used to dance at these.
Look at the convention, they have matchmaking, and it was really interesting to see that entire process. Have you ever been to one of those? Oh, I have so much to talk about here, so I've actually been to a Maheshwari convention. Very specific. Right.
And and like, you know, you have a question, Nikil, I got to ask. Yeah. Does have a particular face.
I mean, we're Hindu, you know. No, no, do you have a particular face, like a look, a face? Oh, look. Oh, you mean like I like.
Yeah, like, you know what I'm saying? Like, you have a face. I mean, have is are you too much into it. You can't see the face.
No, no. We're like average Indians. You know, some of us are like some of us have been.
Yes. Actually by you receive.
Oh do I have your genotype. You do. You do. I'm going to check for runs of homozygous city. Yeah.
No I was I was that Maracay who hoo. Clustered with the Patels, oh, OK, so yeah, so OK, I'm going to talk with you for runs along with Agosti anyway. Go on.
Absolutely. So, yeah, well there's no face necessarily. I mean, it's like a general like northern India and Northwestern, whatever face.
But yeah, in terms of conventions, you know, I didn't I didn't even know this existed until I hit college.
And then suddenly it was a thing in my parents talked about it.
And, you know, yeah, there were Maheshwari conventions and they happen every year and it's called.
And then anyway, the history mahat south of North America.
And here, you know, they do a lot more than just matchmaking.
It's mostly like trying to keep the culture alive because not a lot of people know what it means to be minority or Maheshwari, because really where an ethnic group that's dissolving, turning into your average city, North Indian, who speaks Hindi, very few of us speak Marathi anymore.
And whatever Marathi we do speak is like highly tinged by locality's and, you know, oftentimes not mutually intelligible with one another.
So so this this sort of unbudgeted language is a very close to Hindi or Punjabi or like, you know, actually, I think 500 years ago, Marathi in Gujarati were the same language.
Most likely. I see.
But, you know, I think Sindhi, right? Yeah. So, yeah, there's a cultural unit that Sind Mahuad are like Rajasthan and Gujarat. That's a it's a very cohesive cultural unit. So yeah, Marathi is like tinged with some Sindhi, some good drop the some Punjabi, some Haryanvi. It's like the middle language, you know, of northwest India.
But it's also it's also going I would say especially amongst the the newer generations, there's a much like how in maybe like Pakistan, in Lahore, in Karachi, there's like an assimilation trend towards Urdu, which is seen as the correct language or, you know, the good language, the culture, language.
There's a similar trend towards Hindi with Marathi speakers. First of all, it's I think under the Indian constitution, probably classes it under Hindi, which is probably not correct. But that's just the case. That's how it works. And people are not too attached to it. So conventions like these in the United States, part of it is about, you know, making sure you remember your Moratti traditions, whatever those are. I don't really know many of them.
And then some of them are like, you know, speaking the language, meeting other minorities in North America. And then, of course, there's this component of matchmaking which has increasingly become a larger and larger component of it as time progresses.
So, you know, everybody's on the lookout to see how they can match who. Hmm. Personally, yeah.
Sorry to interrupt. I do have a question.
So when I watch some of the when I watch the show, I knew exactly what, you know, the WOAK artificial intelligence program would respond in a bit of a tease. Do you think your cousin is hooked, hooked into that stuff enough to know that they would have immediately? Because it was it was like it was a media, you know, that they would have. Like there was no LGBTQ, AA plus, plus or whatever representation they still talked about, complexioned a little, the cast was on the biodata, blah, blah, blah, like there was like the fix things.
There was no interracial matches. I don't know, you know, those sorts of complaints, which she is she like insulated from that you think from what you know. And like, it would have been surprising to her because like, oh, OK, this is what's going to happen.
Well received. So. Like, do you think your average Indian ondes really going to care what social justice warriors are talking about? No, no, no, I'm not saying she cares. That's like yeah, I know. I know you got to or necessarily right. Or necessarily even be connected to it. I don't think so. I think for her, whether or not she believes such things as, you know, that would not be great in terms of social justice warriors and whatnot.
She's still going to have business and she's going to have lots of business. And she knows that because that's what the attitude is. So I think she probably has her berwari Mahuad.
Yeah, she's probably heard of these things and she probably understands that people have these ideas and stuff. But, you know, she's got her on t hat on and she's like, look, this is the fact on the ground, you know, like these are how this is how I'm going to match people and this is how people want to be matched. I just did what I usually did. You know, I think I'll I'm sure of that. I'm sure that it was somewhat toned down.
You know, her tone as in skin tone, I feel like there is a there would have been more of a discussion around, you know, like so-and-so should be fair, blah, blah, blah. They really avoided those kinds of words. And I'm sure that they get brought up. And then I got this height was in there all the time. Height. Height was a weird one. I hadn't really heard of that.
Well, because I don't I don't think it triggers because, like, Netflix is editing for a worldwide audience. So they like do they obviously want it to be big in India, but they know that a lot of Americans and influence are going to watch it. And so there's no there's no taboo like, you know, on like Tinder or whatever. From what I've heard on, you know. Yeah. Women can just say, like, No. One under five, ten, it's not a big deal, you know.
I mean, some people kind of brought it up, really. It's not it's not identities like, you know, there are attempts to be like I'm a short person or short man or tall, you know, but like really nobody thinks of themselves in that way. And so I think that was OK to bring up. So I think that's why they highlight that. That's my hypothesis, which seemed a little weird to me.
Yeah. I also thought it seemed a little weird, but once again, I was not born and brought up in India. So maybe it's a thing amongst, you know, the cool kids nowadays in India.
But in the United States, just like how skin color is not really a huge thing here either. I know it is a thing in some cases. You know, there's certainly like Indian Indian racism because of it. But it's not when you're picking your marriage partner. I see it as less and less of a thing here. People are like, what? Nobody cares. You know, I think it's the same thing with height. It's just different things that people here care about versus in India today.
So in your so do you hang out? Are you pretty coconut or do you have a lot of brown friends in Chicago?
Well, I did grow up in the Bay Area, specifically the South Bay. I remember you talking about somebody you knew from Cuba. Teno resumed.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. An idea. Yeah, yeah.
And so, like, I also went to UC Davis for undergrad and. Oh, what years?
2011 to 2015.
Oh, we probably walk by each other. Yeah. Yeah. My, my major was genetics and genomics actually so probably. Did you intern in any.
Sorry I'm disruptive but I got to ask, did you intern in any labs or anything.
Well I, you know, I worked as a T.A. for Janet. Dr. Janet Nazzal.
OK, ok. Yeah. I don't know her well but I know her ok. Yeah. Yeah. More and more in the family. I mean probably won't buy each other at some point. I'm most likely most like a lot of brown guys on the campus.
So yeah. My, my cousin went to UC Davis around the same time. Oh really cool. Oh cool. Well anyways we had a lot of us there from the Bay Area at UC Davis.
So, yeah. You know, we just had a we have a carrying capacity in the Bay Area. You know, we are there's like a there's a critical level of of Indian people of our generation.
But we don't there's less of an ABC. There's no confusion. You know, there's no confusion that you're whether they see or not you're Indian American.
This is definitely not something I see in older generations. Cousins, for instance, who grew up in Los Angeles, who are your age really, you know, they didn't grow up around a lot of Indians like we did. And so, like, there's definitely more of a like, you know, we probably needed to be more white presenting or that was being like, yeah, you're on your own line with like a couple of coconuts, basically.
You know, I have younger siblings like, you know, like fifteen years younger. You know, they grew up in a bigger urban area. And so, like, I've never watched I mean, I think I watched Mr. India when I was a little kid with my parents. I've never watched any other Bollywood film. My sister has watched Bollywood. And so she's in like this. An American military married to a white dude, so I mean, we're not like that, Bobby, or whatever.
I don't know. The reason I was asking you, though, is like if you're Indian, American friends have said anything about the show, like, are people really talking about it? Because some people are saying that people are talking about it, but Americans are talking about it. But is that really a thing or not?
Yeah, everyone's seen the show. Everyone's talking about it, maybe not specifically, but maybe not everyone. But most brown Americans, you know, like any chance you get to see something related to India or Indians blow up on the big screen and Netflix become one of the top ten shows on United States Netflix.
You know, that's that's a big thing. So I think people are watching it. You know what? My co-workers at Deloitte, whether they're Indian or not, they're watching it and asking questions about it and, you know, et cetera, et cetera. So people are watching it. People are talking about it for sure. Hmm, OK, people understand that there are certain appearances, yeah, yeah, and you know what? That's why the show is just so relatable, especially with regards to the Indian Americans on that show.
I'm sure there were things that were staged and we know that they didn't they didn't end up together afterwards because, look, it's a show and I understand covid whatever whatever reasons.
But they were extremely relatable people. They were people who I felt like I knew, you know, who existed around me and had similar experiences, you know, like apana, for instance, on the show, like, I know several people like her who have feelings like she does.
I know people, you know, like the Guaranies girl, Nadia, you know.
So there was a lot of relatability there. And I don't think Indian Americans get that a lot because we're such a small population in the United States. And that's only recently starting to be like you're twenty seven.
You grew up in the Bay Area. What are you even talking about?
You're such a small population, you know what I mean? Is that right? Right. And with, like, universe where it's like when I was on the UC Davis campus and you were on the UC Davis campus, there were clicks of Indian American kids. Yeah.
Oh, absolutely. That's fair. That's what I mean. Like for someone like Mukunda and I like who grew up here, like the previous generation, like that's that would be super weird. Would be like your family and that's about it. So yeah, that's a whole different thing. But I mean that's, that's off topic. So I mean, you definitely think it hit a nerve and it's not just like kind of like online hype. I'm wondering like what you think.
So there's obviously like so Indian American media that's not like oriented towards India is very it seems like weirdly woak. So I'm wondering like what the real.
Viewpoints like the real reactions, do you think that you wouldn't see and say, I don't know, the juggernaut or like someone writing for BuzzFeed, you know? Right. Well, I'll say it's easy to be woak outside of the home and not work at home, so, you know, it's there's definitely walk in the street, but not in the city.
Yeah, yeah. Great, great, great analogy there. You know, it's.
I have a feeling that a lot of people, a lot of Indian Americans are are OK in that sense or, you know, like to go around, you know, with with the band and everything. But when it comes to a lot of fundamental issues at home, maybe they don't really identify necessarily with with the same things, like maybe they see injustices happen in other communities. But like until you really feel them, you know, yourself or, you know, you don't necessarily identify with the movement.
You know, it's that whole cognitive dissonance thing. Other people are liberal. We're supposed to be a liberal community. We're going to do the same things in a lot of people.
On the other side of things.
I have met a lot of Indian Americans of my age and older or slightly younger who are very active on, you know, social media, talking about, you know, WOAK topics or like who who truly do believe in what they're saying and and do go and do things about it, like sort of start up foundations or et cetera, et cetera.
I see that, too.
But yeah, there's definitely a skew towards a work identification generation.
So so Nikil, I mean, here's a question and and maybe even Omarosa have some thoughts.
What do you think about is there a demarcation between, you know, people like us who went to college or higher education in the South Asian community versus people like, you know, let's be frank. There are other blue collar workers within the South Asian community that own hotels, motels or 7-Eleven or gas stations. Do you think they would they would they would find some some similarities to how the kids or not the kids, but the people on Indian matchmaking did matchmaking or do you think it's a separate kind of system for them?
So in terms of the blue collar thing, I very, very, very rarely see like blue collar people. And that's just because of my experience in the Indian American community, because, you know, I went to college and I grew up in the Bay Area with all of these, you know, high privilege of showing. Yeah, yeah.
Let's be frank. There's loads of privilege. And so so I do. I do. However, I have seen the case in which there are, you know, like Razib, you probably know about this, but like you, a city, for instance. Right. You have a city.
It's like they you know, they transplanted a band from Punjab into California.
And, you know, all of the folks at a lot of the folks that you the city grew up like this.
You know, they they grew up with farmer parents, you know, blue collar.
A lot of them have had dreams of also going into the same business, et cetera, et cetera. But especially with the later generations of India who have come of Indians who have come here, there's a huge motivation for everybody to it's like a self reinforcing stereotype for everybody to go to college and get educated and, you know, at least get a well-paying job of some sort. Right. I have seen people whose parents, you know, maybe ran a motel and maybe weren't all that educated.
However, they themselves are educated and, you know, are very much Western and maybe grew up in an area that was majority white or majority black or something else, you know, and I certainly see some hang ups that I've noticed in folks like these who didn't grow up around other privileged Indian American kids.
You know, sometimes it's like I don't really identify as Indian.
I'm more like white or like there's a big backlash against traditional parents who seem to be guarding their culture as if it's under siege in the society that they're in.
So, yeah, there's a huge, wide variety, but definitely trend towards.
Well, I know I think one of the issues, you know, I did meet people from Yuba City and I frankly found it quite charming, like students like you from your background. I totally understand because, you know, my dad was a professor, all that sort of stuff. But kids, they kind of like grew up in, I don't know, like more like production oriented rather than service oriented economy because like, you know, when you're saying, like, they work on a farm, like a lot of times these are actually pretty asset rich people.
Yeah. There's a difference between being an owner of a 7-Eleven and being a worker in a 7-Eleven. Oh, absolutely. So, yeah, that's going on.
But in any case, like, they they were very naive and quaint and a lot of the ways in terms of like their cultural pride, they weren't very cosmopolitan and it really showed. And so it's interesting to me, I think.
Oh, yeah, I actually I have I have more than a few things to say about this. So as an Indian American from the Bay Area going to Davis.
They grew up around a community that had Indians of all stripes and colors, you know, South Indian, North Indians, you know, people who spoke every language under the sun. And, you know, my mom, for instance, came from Bangalore. So, like I identified more with Indians who came from Bangalore or like my dad's from Calcutta.
So, like, you went there and whatever I heard, you should be out of the house. Right on. Right on, Bengoa.
So so, you know, it's it was it was much more of a diverse community, an Indian feeling and less of a like we are Gujarati and we are Punjabi and we are, you know, Telugu speaking a little bit less.
Obviously, things are changing now because there are more and more people of specific ethnicity coming and bringing their culture over.
But there are always like, you know, spots in the Bay Area that would be more like this, like, oh, all the good Jews live up in Fremont or like, you know, there was stuff like that.
So we come to I came to UC Davis thinking, oh, there's going to be so many Indian Americans just like this. And suddenly I find really what's the word focused, inwardly focused communities of Indian, provincial, provincial.
So like people who, you know, as a as a generic North Indian sort of Hindi speaker with family from the south, in the north and everything. You know, I identify as a city Indian. It's weird, I know, but I feel like it's a thing like a Hindi speaking city, Indian American.
And I just couldn't identify with the other North Indians, like the good Jews and the Punjabis because they all spoke their own languages. And I think language is really important as a as an ethnic sort of Thai. Right. Weirdly enough, it was I felt ethnically closer to the Pakistanis at UC Davis than I did, too, like the good Jews or the Punjabis because they spoke Hindi, which I sorry, Urdu, which for me is like the same language as Hindi people in the audience.
I know it's the trigger, but like like functionally for me, like, you know, like I could I was like, whoa, I can actually talk to you in this like quote unquote, same language.
But I don't understand anything that these Punjabi people from the city are saying are like these good Jews from Fremont are saying, like, you know, they have their own specific regional culture. But I have like a generic North Indian culture. So it was it was very weird in that way, you know.
Well, so I you know, in my experience and I think I mentioned from podcast before, I had, you know, a couple of students, you know, because I'm Brown when I was a T.A., I think some of the Indian Americans would kind of gravitate to some my students would talk to me a little bit more, whatever like that happens. So a couple of them, though, were they were Punjabi. They were Sikh. I think they were just I didn't really know that at the time.
But now I'm connecting all the dots. And, you know, they would tell me weird things like this one girl was like, well, I'm going to marry someone from one of the three villages in oh, gosh, blah, blah, blah.
And she was kidnapped, you know. And then there was this one guy, a turban guy, and he was a really nice guy. And he'd always come to office hours and he was a good student. But he also just had a chat and he was just shocked that I didn't know about a Sikh festival in Yuba City. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
Like, I went through the same experience receive you know, I've probably the same Sikh festival, too. Was there like a parade involved and stuff. Yeah. Yeah.
And yeah, it was it was like five minutes of him not understanding how I could not know that I was so weird.
Yeah. It's so weird when like at UC Davis I remember meeting like, like white people who, who thought Sikhs were like 60 percent of India.
And I was like, what.
Yeah, well because I mean, I also like invisibility and just just the kind of again, like the cultural assertiveness of Petrov's is a thing, right. You know, like I'm never like you never, like, walk into a room and someone's just like, you know, soubry my mom in the house, you know what I'm saying?
But like it's like Punjabi all on full on. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
It's the turban. I'm like, yeah, that was a real a real cultural experience.
Really interesting from an anthropological standpoint as well.
It was just, you know, it was like. As an undergrad at UC Davis, you know, I would have one foot in the Indian community and one foot in, you know, my, like, eclectic group of friends, I call them like home friends, you know, and then never the twain shall meet. Sort of.
If you're in college when it's the first time I really hung out with any Indian people, it was a it was a weird experience. I got to tell you it just seeing a bunch of brown people and and seeing people from different parts of India, like just a good frothy scene was so big where I went to, I went to America and then Ukai undergrad. So, so many Gujrat these. And you have a very different excuse because I'm a South Indian and no one knew anything about me.
And I just it's interesting, just my background. I never really dated a South Indian, like even from my community. And I really pretty much only dated Karate's and then was was made to the millionaire at some point from a different community. But it was very interesting to me that Gujrat these would be looking for these from their particular go. Right. They'll be like, I'm Tobey's go or they're looking for people.
That was just me. It was like alien to me.
Oh, you mean the village? Yeah. It's like, ah yeah. I would say Grahm Ground. Yeah, exactly.
Yeah. But they say go. Yeah, it's just the same thing. Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah.
You know and I actually I have a feeling that so I because my mom's from Bangalore and Bangalore is like the place I go to every time I go to India every two years, Bangalore and Calcutta in Bangalore, you know, like South Indian and South Indian cultures, you know, not foreign to me, but I up at Davis and I meet all of these other types of Indian Americans, you know, and everything is foreign to them except for their specific regional culture, you know.
There's some, like, weird idea that like, oh, North Indians are supposed to be this way or, you know, should speak in the et cetera, et cetera, whatever, all that stuff. Right. And so that was also very weird, you know, dissident's that happened for me because, you know, like.
I grew up, you know, it's just it's just where you're from, right, in Bangalore. It's very cosmopolitan. My mom's first language was English. She lived in, you know, a colony where there were Indians of all stripes and everybody just spoke English.
So it's just where you grew up. Yeah.
Is it interesting also, like when you do your Indian cultural shows with each of these college campuses, it's pretty much all like Ross Lillah, I mean, Ross Garba. And then it's like Bhangra and they film songs. So you don't really get anything else.
Well, things have changed when they change. Now. Now. Yeah.
Now you get other stuff. Now you get like I had a friend who started up who who is a part of the vacuum dancer and she, she started up you know, what do you call it, an outfit.
A team called. For whatever called Sonata, I think, or something like that. OK, and then they even put on like their own event and stuff like that. And, you know, that's become a big thing. But you're right.
It's really like it's very regional focus.
You're right for me, for instance, as as a Rajasthani, I was I was part of that scene, you know, like I was in what we call it is the circuit. I was in the Bollywood dancing circuit. I joined UC Davis, La Scala in my freshman year and that I was part of the Ross team and my senior year. And, you know, the Ross team was full of good news.
But it was also, you know, there were a lot of non good Jews there, too, who who just participated and were part of it. Yeah.
I mean, I guess what we were doing, Indian dancers, Rasyid was doing like Pop and and maybe some some break dancing while talking to one of my one of my brothers actually does a lot of that stuff.
So I don't but maybe I would if I was if my parents, my parents were like, I mean, I'm not sure strict is the right word, but they were very fearful of cultural contamination. They didn't know what had already happened.
So, you know, the choice to come to this country obviously transforms people. So, Nikil, you know, obviously, like you have a lot in common, frankly, with the average reader of the blog. So I'm assuming a lot of listeners that are not in India can relate to you. But so, you know, got you on because your cousin with this show and how it's a phenomenon, obviously it's it's interesting from an entertainment consumption perspective.
But, you know, like, say, ten years of the future, like, what is your like point estimate your probability that you would even use something like that. Like, would you just you think it's zero, like you're doing your own thing.
I mean, I'm just wondering, like, where you situate yourself on the spectrum of like, OK, I'm going to go just like meet people in bars or just be, quote, American and then see my aunties like the other extreme, like, where are you on that spectrum?
OK, well, my opinion on this is that this show was a big step towards normalizing this process among Indian Americans.
Like this is not usually talked about a thing or a you know, like you're it's a little looked down upon if you had to use shady dotcom.
So people don't talk about it, you know. But I think ten years down the line, I think it's going to grow. It's only going to grow as ah as the community here grows, it's going to grow with it and it's going to get normalized. And I think people are going to take advantage of it, especially using it like a safety net in case they they don't find somebody or, you know, they are out of a relationship and they still want to get married.
Now it's going to get normalized, in my opinion. I think it'll get sanitized as well.
You know, I think they're going to be enterprising individuals who meld our, you know, matchmaking applications, you know, like Bill Mill or shady dot com or whatever, or, you know, coffee meets bagel. Those kinds of things meld it with something like this. You know, we're going to see more and more of that injection of ethnic flavor, if you will.
Well, I think actually like even like bathmat, Tony and Qadi have that option, right? It's one of the things I was like at a higher level, you can get yourself a matchmaker. I think it's on the Tandare websites.
Right, right, right, right. I didn't know that, but I believe it. And, you know, I think it's it's not a cool thing now, but I think it's it's made a step towards normalization.
So I have a question, Nikil, so in this entire program, you don't like Indian matchmaking? It was pretty much all Hindu and then maybe there was like that one Sikh group. I mean, that one, you know, with the kid. What do you think is do you think the Indian matchmaker scene differentiates based upon race? I mean, a religion like would do you think someone like Seema Ondes would have also try to connect Muslims to Muslim Muslims, Hindus or Christians, or was it primarily just like Hindus and Sikhs?
Well, her specialty is, you know, those of the Dharmic persuasion. So but I think that this this really like it's this is where the focus on your specific target, the ethnic group, comes into real focus.
This is so like Magistris and Maradona's, for instance. Right. There are two types of us there, the Hindu Vaishnav ones.
And then there are the Jains and there's a lot of intermarriage amongst the Jains and the Hindus to the point that Jainism doesn't really feel like a different religion for us. You know, it feels like, you know, if you intermarry with them, it's pretty normal. And then among various Punjabi groups. Right. You know, intermarrying with Sikhs is a totally normal thing. And on the ground, like, you know, they're not as distinct as you think, especially when it comes to marriage partners.
So, you know, I definitely think what what what he's doing is she is she's going to look at your specific background, you know, and if your parents are very traditional and if your family is traditional, if you are traditional, then she's going to match you with somebody that's, you know, on the list.
You know, like there's a list of who's who's the best for you and then who's next and who's next and who's next 100 percent.
My mom got a list like this from her mom, and that list told her, like, start with this case.
If this doesn't work, you can do this. You can do an uncle bla bla bla bla bla. You know, if Rajasthani is not going to work, then Gujarat is best next best or Punjab because they have such a culture, et cetera, et cetera. Right. I think she knows the lists and I think she knows the lists for every single, you know, background.
And then when you have Indian Americans, there's another layer of that. Right. The list is looser and it's not as strict.
You know, it's different. So so I don't I don't think she's going to be going into Muslim matchmaking.
I don't think that's going to be the case for various reasons, I'm sure, because they're you know, it's like a different, different sort of culture way of matchmaking traditions. It's hard to get around that.
But amongst Sikhs, Hindus and Jains, you know, it's like the traditions are so similar, they're so similar and there's so many analogs that it's easy for her to move back and forth. Yeah, I mean, that makes complete sense.
I mean, I also it's interesting that you made the point that that people are willing to to look at other castes if they're able to find a good match within their caste. I mean, that's that's probably something new that's happening, don't you think?
That's I well, I you know, I think it's a socioeconomic thing. I think there's a melding of of, you know, well-off urban castes that's happening here. For instance, my aunt is a country and that's not it's not Bunyah, but like they're similar in terms of, you know, being part of business families and, you know, being educated and speaking Hindi and stuff like that, you know, and being North Indian. I think there's a melding happening here.
For instance, Magistris are used to be extremely strict about only marrying the histories. And then maybe like fifty years ago, this started changing and then suddenly other roles were partners and, you know, Oswal as and other types of Banaz. And then suddenly we went a step further and there were some Gujrat, these and Punjabis. And now we're at the point at which, you know, as long as your class and your background are, you know, what's the word reputable according to what our standards of purity this particular ethnic group has, then it's fine.
And I will say there's 100 percent bias going on against people, even if they're educated or whatever, of who are who don't belong to us, like a certain list of communities, you know, gullets, for instance.
One hundred percent. There's going to be bias there, but it's less if you're educated and you're, you know, brought up in the United States and you're professional and, you know, it's less what have you ever did you ever meet any Dalitz in the United States?
That's the thing, really. The answer is no. And that's just because of my background and the general makeup of the Indians who settled down here, you know, who have the capability and money and, you know. Ability to come here and become Americans so well, I mean, it's also I think it's also because I mean, you're not going to know, right? They're not going to come out and say they're done it to have the time because they're afraid of the stigma, which is legitimate.
But, you know, I also think. I know. Yeah, yeah.
I mean, I know quite a few dullards that I went to either college with or otherwise, but it only took a while before I found that out because they wouldn't tell you before. Like, you will just be they'll just talk about being Indian so much. Yeah. Yeah.
But, you know, it's it's like this I, I know I was never told straight out what caste somebody was according to their surname, but I was able to figure it out eventually because it was so obvious, you know, like. Just like they showed you, they're 23 and me, no, no, like, you know, like, you know, like at some point in college I was able to make the connection that ires are Brahmins and, you know, but before that, obviously not because I wasn't exposed to it until college, but.
I think people know people know if they don't know them, their parents will 100 percent know.
So, yeah. Well, I mean, so I mean, that's that was one of the objections to the show, is that they didn't emphasize enough, but it was like implicit in there. And I don't really know how they could have done a show about India in the matchmaking without it being at least implicit. That seemed like totally unrealistic.
One hundred percent, it would not have been realistic at all. And I don't think it you know, it would be much more staged if that was the case. Same thing with reality matchmaking.
I think they try to gloss over some of it. Right. Just kind of like the show on the screen and then they kind of move forward.
Yeah, because I don't think they said right. It was just like on the screen I saw that there was like, yeah, yeah.
When we saw the only times that there was an edit from what I have seen or read was when they said it is no bar. Right, right, so obviously there are other cases where maybe it was said it was a bar, but they didn't put that into the final edit because they didn't want to highlight that. But it's obviously there, right?
Right. I mean, formal casteism is is frowned upon, I'm sure. But like, whatever goes by word of mouth is what goes by word of mouth, isn't it?
I mean, it is frowned upon, but it's so weird. Like I remembered, maybe that's different now, but like 10, 15 years ago on these dating websites, like, you know, shady bathmat or whatever they were, they used to have like casts of some sort. They would have like no Brami. They would have like Bunyah. They would have, I don't know, like it was just it was such a weird concept, you know, like I said, from colorism.
Right. Like fair skinned whiteish, all that crap. They would have the caste issue and the region. So it's like the specificity that a person can start looking for their particular caste. Jotty, whatever it was, was kind of crazy.
And even the type of still there, I'm sure it's still there. Yeah, absolutely. I noticed one thing when in that scene where we saw some of the Biota's and one of them was the guy from Bombay who couldn't settle on anybody and like had one hundred and fifty proposals or whatever. Right.
And and they put two biodata next to each other. And one of them said Maretti and one of them said, Maheshwari, I saw that. And yeah. Did you see that? So I know for a fact that the guy was not just a Morante, but he was a missionary because his surname is like the same surname, sub-group that my mom's came from so.
So like what's happening there is he is biodata is not specifying and it means that he's open to others who are not Maheshwari.
And the other person was not that I wondered about that.
And the other person, I didn't know what he did from a more rural, not rural, but like not definitely not Bombay. Like Delgado is not Bombay. Yeah.
Yeah, yeah. So so you could make an inference that may or may not be correct. It would be that maybe they're more traditional and they're looking for very specific.
And that's the thing. Like I remember at this Maheshwari convention, there was some uncle who sat down at one of our tables and was like trying to explain how there are only one million Maheshwari left in the world.
And in order to preserve ourselves, you should marry him hatriot. Have a lot of children. Right?
Right. It is a lot. You're right. But, you know, and then I remember I saw this I think it was a graph that I saw in like a David Rike 2009 paper that was looking at founder events in various Indian populations and comparing them to Ashkenazi Jews.
And I saw Bunya. I was like at the very top and I was like, well, shit, that's not good.
You know, this is why my you know, both of my parents are prediabetic and like so many of my grandparents had diabetes and that, you know, so so that that was a big turnoff then. But most people don't know science like that or think of things like that.
Instead, they're just like, oh, no, there's no incest in our community. You know, we like we look at the Gauthreaux, us from all four sides.
We look at your all four grandparents and just make sure you don't marry into them. And, you know, and this is important to me because my mother is a she's a physical therapist. She works mostly with development, kids development issues. And she finds like a lot of Ashkenazi Jews with, you know, issues like Tay Sachs and stuff like that.
So so that's that was like the big first red flag for me. And then, you know, I, I did my 23 and me both of my parents did it and my brother did as well. And I find that on 23 and me, my parents show up as fourth cousins. That was a shocker. I was like, oh, that's great. Nice. I know fourth cousins is not necessarily deleterious, but but think about it. You know, for like a thousand years, these this one million this one group of people have been intermarrying for so long.
Yeah. Maybe my parents are forthcoming. Maybe they're just, you know, related because of that.
Yeah, that's the issue. Like when you have like and arguments networth, I mean when you have endogenous networks, you limit the gene pool like it starts to mean that there are these segments. They share a lot of common ancestors. It's basically what that means. Right? Right. Like they're not. They are. Yes. Like you guys like practice zarghami. So they're not technically related. But like you go back like two hundred, three hundred, four hundred years and all of the same people start showing up because it's an underdog in this group.
And so it starts to create, you know, this like elevation of these recessive illegals. That's what you're talking about. The positive thing. Right, right. From a genetic perspective is you don't even need to go that far. You know, it's not like it's not like you need to marry a white person or whatever, if that's your preference just right. Just another slightly different ethnic group executive. Inopportunely that's I think it's a marginal returns. 90 percent of the gains is to 10 percent of the movement.
It makes sense if they were isolated for if their community was isolated for just as long, then, yeah. There you go. Hybrid vigour.
So what we say or I guess really just heteros like osity. So, yeah, totally makes sense.
But so Nikil, on your interesting random question, what good thoughts do you guys have in your in your in the majority or majority line that you guys look at? Well. You know, there is a there's a lot of myth making in the community as well.
I mean, I don't know how much is a myth, how much is not what's your what's your Y chromosome haplogroup?
I think it's h it's the real common each one. Right. Are you H-1B. No, I don't really I don't really remember one a year, probably in any case. Yeah, right, right, right. Yeah. And then I think maternally and 52 I think. So that's that's a deep rooted lineage. Yeah, yeah, these are all deep rooted South Asian lineages, right. However, you know, many of the relatives that I found online during me are not are like, you know, your standard run of the mill Erwinaze and you know that all that stuff, you know.
So it's definitely a mix.
But. Hold on, the question earlier was just can you just rehash that? Yeah, I was just asking, what good thoughts do you guys have in history?
OK, well, from what I know and I read this in this interesting book called Alchemy of Violence by some by somebody who's forgot what what university, but his name was Lawrence, a babe. And he was doing like ethnographic work on our bodies.
And in the Maheshwari community, there's a myth that there were like 72 original families. And then there was a conversion story from, you know, Chatrier to this year. And then they added five more go us from Chut, three us. And then today you had Maytrees.
And so even today there's a belief that there are these 72 plus five separate families go through and you never intermarry if you if one out of the four of your grandparents or more has the same go there.
So that's how the economy works, what you go through.
Right, right, because my name is Maheshwari, it's not so I didn't know this until a couple of years ago, but it's it's Buttar, B.H., KTAR, a little bit more of an embarrassing name that than in the United States at least. But, yeah, that's it's that.
And then I do know the other ones I know, like one grandparent is a rotty, one is a Ludde and one is a Subu.
So it's very different from like the Breman ones who have very different like cars, connectivities. Right. So mine is like Shreveport's, which is I think I've had someone on a little while ago who was javadoc me or something, which is pretty much the same gotra. But yeah. I mean, is it connected to the quashes? Usually most of ours actually sound really, Cyndee.
So there's a lot of confusion that happens. So I think that maybe that's why some people just keep their name is Maytree. But yeah, you know, it's varied.
It's you know, or would you be open to using this matchmaking kind of service or you kind of just like you're just going to freestyle it and figure it out on your own free styling for now?
You know, at least until I'm in my 30s and then maybe I'll make a decision around that, you know? Let's see.
What's your what's what's your what's your red lines? I read lines like a line of red lines. Let's let's talk about your probability distribution of, you know, what's the parameter space that you're really targeting out of curiosity?
You know, I used to think that I would probably go into an American just because it's easier to explain culture and participate in cultural events.
And it'll be easy because I'm I'm pretty close to my entire family as well, which is huge and varied.
Be easy for my partner to connect with them to.
But, you know, it it's not a requirement because it's more of a it's more of a like what is your personality sort of thing for me and what are your interests.
Right. And I don't know. I don't necessarily find a lot of Indian Americans who are interested in the same things. You know, like I like science fiction and languages and anthropology and history.
And, you know, I'm also I'm a massive nerd, but I'm interested in that stuff.
Are you sure you're more ready than. I'm just making a stupid joke. Yeah. No stereotypes, you know. Yeah, I'm sure I'm ready, but I'm more sure that I'm Indian American. So.
Yeah, right. Here's the question then. Like, so I you know, I've kind of gone through both sides. And would your would your family be open to non Indian or are they looking primarily within like Indian American or I mean is there fine lines or red lines that your family is looking for? Right.
Right. Obviously my family has preferences like they would prefer an Indian American. And even further, they would like it if they were Hindu. But my close family is not religious is in fact, my dad is an atheist. I am not religious, but my mom isn't. And some of my aunts and uncles, you know, on and off. So so there's not there's no specific religion thing there except for maybe Islam, which is like a, you know, a Hindu three, although.
We all right. Right. So so religion won't be a thing. Race is not a thing either. With my close family in my family in the United States, which is most of my family now might be different with extended family.
Like I think my grandmother would have some reservations, but she would be open to it, you know, because she would just want her grandparents, grandkids to get married, to be honest, and so that she could have great grandkids.
So. At least with everybody in the U.S., which is the majority of my parents, siblings and my parents, nobody would have a problem with any race or any religion, even like is a Muslim would be fine, I'm sure, especially if they were of Indian background.
I think we run into hot water when we start talking about marriage with the Pakistani.
You're making you're making a distinction between Pakistani and Indian background Muslims. Yeah, yeah.
That's that perception. Is there a Bengali Muslims in that part of India? Muslims are Pakistani Muslims.
Well, what kind of Bengali, Bangladeshi or Bengali? Well, on that issue that, you know, it's definitely Indian chauvinism.
Sorry, you're out of the picture.
I'm I'm not a Muslim, so. Yeah, I'm good.
Well. Right, right, yeah, I mean, in so far as in a lot of South Asian communities, your religion is treated as like a component of your ethnicity, though.
Yeah, that's right. I mean, I didn't know I'm a coconut that way, so.
Yeah, I mean, that's I think that's one of the big changes from my generation to yours, where some of those sorts of norms have become much more much stronger than they were in the past, like the norm of.
Religion being tied to ethnicity. I think so, because there's just there's more brown people here. Yeah, I mean, that is that is a well, I mean. You know, the United States people change religion all the time, which is super weird in large parts of the world. Right, right. So I mean, even if you're from Ireland, like people be like it used to be like you're Catholic or Protestant. That's the first question they ask right now, that a lot of people are atheists.
It's not as big of a deal anymore, but that's only in the last 10, 15 years. So I think when Brown people come, they just assume by your background, by necessity, that's how it is. But if you look at the data, I mean, last I checked, 10 to 20 percent of Indian Americans, the Hindu Americans are defecting, but a lot of them are becoming Christian. Right. So. Right, right.
I you know, I almost I almost was skeptical of that for a moment. But if the data is there, the data is.
Well, maybe, maybe I think partly it depends on who you know. So one of the issues that I think comes up is if you are in an urban area, that's the majority of Indian Americans, you know, a certain type of person who is probably going to be like, you know, at least mildly wog, probably a secular Hindu, blah, blah, blah. But think about the people that live in the rural areas, the twenty five percent of people that live in the rural areas.
So it could be like 50 percent of them become Christian. That's true.
And I've heard Indian Americans are notoriously spread out in the United States.
Well, it's also it's because I think I know quite a few, not quite a few, but I know a few people that were born in Hindu families or whatever, and they became Christian.
But usually that became a byproduct of marrying a Christian and they weren't really connected to the religion before. And the same same way that I follow some traditions. And then they were just, you know, when they got married to do a Christian ceremony and then raise their kids Christian, they'd just be Christian. So I don't think it's necessarily like any sort of formal conversion process. I'm sure there is some, but I think a lot of it's due to marriage.
Right. Yeah. I mean, as as a as somebody who did not grow up religious and is not religious, I've always found it kind of perplexing when I hear about people, you know, switchin religion and stuff like that. And, you know, it just doesn't really like I don't identify with it because it doesn't apply to me. But it's definitely weird when people are doing it as if they switch their ethnicity.
That's that's where it starts to feel a little bit weird. For instance, like my financial adviser has a super like cattail last name and first name and, you know, but like, he signs his emails with grace to you. And I was like, wait, huh? That's interesting. I've never seen that before.
But, you know, he he probably did not grow up around a lot of Indians.
And maybe there was like not maybe he had really traditional parents or maybe maybe there was a rebellion there. Maybe he met people who really convinced him of converting, you know, to a different religion. Maybe he had a spiritual experience. I don't know. But there are so many things there. And I certainly feel like with more and more Hindus, for instance, showing up in the United States, there's more. What's the word?
There's there's more like pride in being Hindu, you know, and not just from a religious standpoint, because, quite frankly, that's personal and people don't really care what you specifically believe as a religious Hindu, because there's so many potential beliefs and it's more of a like ethnic standpoint, like, hey, we're proud of like being Hindu. You know, we're not all just like cow worshipers and it's like a civilizational thing, like, yeah, more so than anything.
It's more so than any religion that I think that's more reflected than ever in the widespread support that you're now seeing for the Indian right.
Which is a very different thing from the right here in the United States. But we are seeing that in a lot of Americans today, like so many Multipack in so many.
Yeah, I think that's mostly found amongst like Indians who came from India, not so much Indians that were raised here.
I don't think I agree because, I mean, you don't have a dog in the fight otherwise. Yeah.
I mean, I do think one thing you guys need to our just like we need to remember, though, is if you grew up in the Bay Area as an Indian American, there's not that much let's a taboo, but it's not a big deal if you're Hindu or whatever, you know. Right. Religion is not a big deal anyways in general. But if you like, for example, like Nikki Haley, she grew up in South Carolina. OK, I think of the siblings of her, like of all the Haley's, only one of them is still Sikh as an adult.
I think her sister is like her older brother became a Baptist when he joined the Army. Right. Nikki Haley pretty obviously converted because her husband and she's she's not like Bobby Jindal, who thinks that Hindu gods or devils, because she goes to see temples and stuff like that. So she's obviously like pretty much on Normy. But I think that's the other end of the spectrum. And it's not necessarily even they're turning their back on their heritage. But Haley has explicitly said, well, I mean, growing up in South Carolina, she can't she couldn't connect to God through Sikhism because it just wasn't a thing that how people talked about religion yet.
And so that was that was what she you know you know, it's like when people like me, like, oh, like you're going to know your culture. And I'm like, what culture?
I mean, yeah, I like I think she's she's part of a she's a member of a dying breed because, for instance, I've recently done project work in North Carolina or was it South North Carolina.
Right. That Nikki Haley's from, I always forget, she's from South Carolina. Do not confuse the Carolinas, South Carolina. Come on, man. I'm an ignorant, isolated Westerner safe for living in Chicago, which is also ignorant nicely.
So I think because of the rise of, you know. Concentrated Indian populations working in tech centers. Now. Your own or like your family history and religious history is more accessible, not just that, but also via the Internet and, you know, just. People are more mobile and, you know, keep contacts, contact with relatives who live far overseas for much longer parts of their lives.
Globalization, globalization. Exactly, exactly. So I think it because these things are much more accessible now. I think we're going to see a downturn in Nikki Haley's or Bobby Jindal.
Well, I don't know. I mean, it's interesting because I you know, it's I mean, religion is such a communal kind of thing, right? I mean, you have to have some sort of religious organization or community around you to really keep that going. And in that sense, you're totally right, Nikil, in that you're going to see some sort of downplay on that. But, you know, for a large part of the early history when Indians came here, they didn't have temples.
They didn't really have communities say, like, I know quite a few families that were like Eiseley, the only Indian family, like the only Indian doctor family or Indian family in like a suburb of Buffalo or somewhere in Texas, and not of them change their religion. But also, I mean, when I say I'm sorry, I should say Hindu, that didn't change your religion primarily maybe because it's the nature of Hinduism. So, like, it can be so insulated, insular, because even when you go to a temple, it's not a communal thing.
It's just you go do your thing and you leave. So maybe it's depends on the nature of the faith that one came from. I mean, I'm just.
Yeah, you know, actually, long term, when I think about, like the future of my community in the United States, you know, Indian Americans, I think, like it's inevitable that we're going to be marrying other Americans of various different backgrounds eventually. If it's not myself or if it's not my kids, it's going to be my grandkids.
And of that Zarghami rate for one point five and six generations is off the hook. Right. It's like it's like 20 to 40 percent. Exactly.
And the thing is, like, you just hear the word justice with the word. And so I, you know, so. Right, right. Right.
So, like, I never explicitly said that. That's true, though, but I never thought, but it's just it's just a fact of life, you know, we're not we're we're going to get absorbed eventually.
And so so that the whole idea is, you know, in the past when when there were so many fewer Indians, the absorption was much more complete and total. And children didn't have a lot of connections to being Indian. So, like, why identify as being Indian? What's the big deal here?
You know, but now maybe you'll see some elements of like Hindu culture, for instance, traveling into their kids and, you know, maybe the grandkids are only a fourth Indian will nowadays actually still identify with their Indian self and keep a few things.
But obviously they won't keep everything and it won't be intact in the same way it was. It'll be different and it'll be mixed. And some may not think about it, you know.
Yeah. I mean, it's like I have my sister's keeper twins and they're half white. And, you know, they both have like white names. So it's interesting to me how that's going to play out. Like the culture that comes from it probably is going to come from my parents maybe and then and see how that passes down the the time. Because, I mean, so much of my family is not with Indians or with non Indians. So like numbers probably actually probably on the lower side, I would say.
Yeah, I mean I mean, look, half of it was language, right? Half of it was language. Language is gone by. The second and third generation language is gone. You know, it's not going to stay. It's not going to stick around, especially with with Indians speaking English anyways all the time.
So I think one of the issues that we need to always remember also is. If the language was in the Roman alphabet, you would have access to literature, but many, like, for example, I'm illiterate. And so, you know, if you have no access to high culture, it's much harder to maintain intergenerational transmission. Exactly.
That's what's happening tomorrow already, by the way.
Yeah. So because if it's if it's an oral tradition, it's much more protean and sensitive to intergenerational evolution and transplantation. So I think that's the one parameter in terms of language that people tend to forget if we don't it, since all of us, most of us are illiterate, not all of us, but most of us are, that's going to make intergenerational transmission much more difficult to maintain.
Yeah, exactly. And that's I mean, that's why I see so much language loss amongst other Indian Americans, especially minorities or even like Punjabis who live in Delhi because, you know, there's a home language and that's all well and good.
And then there's like a normal language that you use every day and you write in and, you know, you can read in and, you know, all your friends use, you know, you're going to lose the home language.
And that's the big issue going on in India right now. Right. What language people should be learning? I think they go to southern U.S. Yeah. Yeah. They're going to have your local language taught through 5th Standard and then you learn whatever else after that. Right. Right, right.
There was a lot of interesting stuff that I read.
There was one article about Pashtoons in Pakistan and how a lot of them as kids in the NWFP province were, you know, kind of being forced to start with Urdu, a language that none of them ever knew, learned whatever.
Right. And that it had huge impacts on literacy rates going forward and, you know, social uplift. And it did uplift some people. But for others, you know, it was just detrimental to their ability to learn in some cases.
So, you know, there's a I feel like there's a fine line and somebody has to figure out at some point in education what I mean, unless you wholesale convert your you know, somebody like normal spoken language, right?
Should should we move towards consolidating languages or should we move towards recording what's there and, you know, preserving or, you know, bringing updating, I should say, updating oral languages into, you know, set in stone, written down, usable in science, modern languages.
Well, it's funny to kill because I mean, your family's from I mean, your mom's from Bangalore. Like, if you've been to Bengal, you know, like they speak so many different languages. They're like everyone. Even the rickshaw driver will be speaking Hindi thumbhole. You know, some of them you speak Marathi and stuff, right. It just it's such a cosmopolitan city that if you go to somewhere like Bombay or even Delhi, everyone, either you speak Hindi or you don't write.
It's such a Bombay is a little different, Marathi and Hindi, but it's mingler is a unique situation where so much more cosmopolitan in terms of languages than probably any other place I've been to.
I mean, Bengali is a unicorn. I'm looking. Yeah, it's just it's just like like I mean, how many other instances do you find like a Marathi whose first language was English, you know, in India. Yeah. It's it's not that common, but it was common for my mom and for her family and for many other North and South Indian folks in Bangla. So, yeah, there's that.
In fact, like I, I speak Hindi because it's like a heritage language for me, and it makes it easy for me to connect with my cousins who are all over India, who are in Maharastra, who are in Bengal, north India, Bangladesh.
But I do I really speak Hindi. That's the question now. I speak English. I speak of a mix of Hindi and English. And I'm also weirdly I don't know if it's a phrase that's been verified, but I'm by dialectal.
So like, I will switch my accent from American English to Indian English when I need to. And I'll do this with coworkers who who, you know, who happen to be in India.
I'll do this with family, with grandparents. It's just a thing. And sometimes it feels like. My heritage Indian language is probably Indian English more than it is Hindi necessarily just because of how my mom grew up.
All right. This has really evolved, so it's been a great conversation. I don't want to keep you too long, so it's been really great to talk to you. So I guess I you the last thing I want to ask, though, is do you have any inside scoop of of possible future sequels or anything like that? Like have you heard through the grapevine of how she has been reacting to the fact that it's become a cultural phenomenon? Hmmm, I haven't yet heard how she's reacting, but, you know, I could find out maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after, but I think I think it's entirely possible that there's going to be a part, too.
I mean, she did do a documentary before this. So, you know, I feel like there's probably some will to carry it on further, especially after being such a success.
And I have definitely had co-workers and friends be like, hey, like, you know her, you know, like, can I get on the show? So, like, there's definitely a want for seeing more of this. It's for a lot of non Indians in the U.S. It's so interesting. And it's like a it's like foreign drama, but somehow weirdly relatable because maybe they knew Indian coworkers and thought that their whole, like, arranged marriage thing was super mysterious.
And so there's so many hooks that this show has and has created for itself. I think there's probably going to be a sequel.
Who knows, though, you know, who says no worries, don't produce culture like this is a big deal, man.
Yeah. Do you think like do you ever see a potential for like like Indians to try to use humor to find Indian people? Wow, wow, that would be quite an evolution.
I don't think it's out of the bounds of theoretical possibility, but I feel like, you know, where someone's going to make her money is with the Indians for now.
So, you know, thinking of it like a moradi. There you go.
And so it all ends with money.
So I guess, like, Devil's not here.
I'm not a man. We're Americans, like in America. That's a compliment. Right? In other societies, it might not be. Right.
Money, your vote, your values are pre adapted to the greatest country in the world for now. Fair. Fair.
Yes. Capitalism from the beginning. Yeah. Yeah. All right. Thanks. All right.
Next week, Michael Brown. Yes.