When I saw the trailer for The Devil All the Time, I didn’t connect with the story at all. With the current political climate, I had no interest in watching a film about a white family in 1965 living in small rural white towns. I quickly apologized to my love, Tom Holland, then moved on to watch other movie trailers. However, a few days later, I watched the trailer again and discovered an opportunity! I could finally analyze toxic masculinity – something I haven’t done since my Gender and Film class in college. With that in mind, I was prepared to watch my Spidy-boy take on our new gothic Batman, Robert Pattinson.
I will not pretend that I am an expert on mental health. Also, I will not simply show symbolic support for suicide prevention. Other than researching, there is only a few things I can do. One of them is sharing my own experience with a suicidal thought.
While preparing for my move across the country to start my job, it seemed as though everyone had an opinion on the decision I made. Those closest to me would ask me how I would handle certain challenges. I explained to them my solutions, but my solutions weren’t good enough for them. When asked again, I tried a new answer: I’ll keep that in mind. However, that also wasn’t good enough. They continuously harassed me with nit-picky questions and concerns at any given opportunity. No matter how research I did or responsibility I demonstrated, it was never good enough. I asked them to stop asking me these questions as it caused me a lot of mental stress, but they told me to change my perception. They claimed that I needed to change my attitude.
I drive by a confederate flag every day. When I take my dogs to the park, drive to work, visit my friends, or even go grocery shopping, that flag assaults my eyes. Some days, it’s blowing in the wind proudly. Other days, it hides cowardly behind the American flag. However, the feeling of seeing it is always the same: numbness.
Young-Nikki would have ignored it. Teenage-Nikki would have been scared of it. College-Nikki would have burned it to the ground. Law-school-Nikki would have given a passionate speech about intersectionality. However, this Nikki, the beautiful public defender, struggles to find the right action for that flag.
Because, casting a vote isn’t a transaction. You cannot expect all your problems to be fixed by one vote, then not be involved.
As a South Asian American Public Defender, I am voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in this election. My vote isn’t to get Donald Trump out of the office or a compromise I am making. Also, it is not me “playing a game to change the system by using the system.” My vote means something more than those feelings. Rather, my vote means that I will be more involved with my government.
I understand that as a current public defender that I am not supposed to like Senator Kamala Harris and openly criticize Vice President Joe Biden’s time as a public defender. But, I am not going to. My generation may be known for many things, however, most notable is the creation of cancel culture. Yes, we are dealing with the consequences of the Baby Boomer generation’s decision. Yet, I am not here to villainize them for their ignorance and mistakes. I urge Gen Z to be better than my generation when it comes to giving people chances because quick judgment can lead to severe collateral consequences.
Have you all seen While We’re Young? No? Eh, doesn’t matter. It’s a pretty okay movie. Anyways, there is a moment in the movie where the main characters describe their adulthood as “a child pretending to be an adult.” And, quite frankly, that’s how I feel…like, all the time.
I’m financially independent. Not afraid to ask for help. Always pay my bills on-time. Also, I don’t avoid confrontation. I am not on my parent’s health insurance for Pete’s sake! Full-on adult, right? Yes. Then, why don’t I feel like one? Rather, is there such a feeling of adulthood?
Dear people living in America during this pandemic,
Wear a motherfucking mask.
I am tired of seeing your Snapchat stories where you’re at bar or hosting “beer Olympics” with a group of many friends, but not wearing a mask or maintaining social distance. I’m sick of seeing social media pictures of you with a large group of friends, partying and celebrating, but not wearing a goddamn mask or social distancing. Then, you have the audacity to post articles and memes about the “other side of the aisle” not wearing masks and how our COVID-19 stats are increasing.
I don’t care if you want to go out and won’t let the pandemic stop you from celebrating life. Great, but wear a mask. You’re not invincible. You could die from COVID-19. Or, you could give it to someone who could die from it. Getting tested is horribly intrusive. It’s 10 seconds of hell. And, waiting for the results is even worse. Then, if you have it, who knows what your symptoms will be. It’s such an unpredictable virus that we all must be careful. Also, not everyone can afford to get tested if they have no health insurance. (So many reasons to wear a mask!!)
“You’re such a good girl,” one of my Indian-relatives told me, “you have a lot of sanskar, other Indian kids in America don’t have that.”
“Just because I speak Hindi and identify as Hindu doesn’t mean I have more sanskar than other Indian-American kids,” I replied.
“No beta,” the relative continued, “you have more. Trust me we’ve seen it.” As my relative from India continued to ramble on about the difference between Indian-American kids and me, I thought of the many Indian-Americans I knew. They’re all different and cannot be placed in any mold. Although I defended them quickly, I noticed that I wasn’t friends with any of them.
“I think it has to do with distance,” my sister, Geetika Srivastava, told me years later as we sat in her apartment eating Gyros while Living with Yourself played in the background, “We didn’t have many Indian neighbors when we moved to Beavercreek.”
“Maybe,” I said while watching two Paul Rudds interact, “but we did have some when we moved to Centerville.”
“That’s true,” Geetika replied also watching the Rudds. As we idly watched, I thought about why I didn’t have many Indian-American friends. In fact, I only have one close Indian-American friend.
I must be honest: I feel personally attacked by this book written beautifully by Abbi Waxman. In the Bookish Life of Nina Hill, Nina lives a simple, yet anxious, life. Because her single-mom is a traveling photographer, Nina was raised by her wonderful nanny. Throughout the book, the reader becomes aware that Nina is very different from her mother. So, you spend some time wondering where our leading lady gets her bookish personality. Nina spends most of her time jamming on her planner, working in Knight’s Bookstore, petting her cat, then reading until her eyes cannot stay open.
Due to these characteristics, Nina is filled with fun facts and relevant pop cultural references. Other than books about every single subject, Nina enjoys films and television. She could give the Gilmore Girlsa run for their money. However, when a lawyer enters the bookstore to tell her that the father-she-never-met-nor-knew-of died and named her in the will, Nina must re-fight her anxiety. Quickly, she inherits a very large family that comes with drama and stress. Unsure of how to handle herself, Nina must quickly learn to navigate her introvert personality with an adventurous group of people.
But, why do I feel personally attacked by this book? Please, stop here if you don’t want spoilers.
From your treatment to women and other minorities to your overly sensitive beings, I am disappointed in you. For years I used you as my solace; a place where I could hide from the sad reality of my anxious life. I spent hours on you, but I can no more. All I see is the death of creative minds and the crushing of souls. You let the Indian media further your agendas rather than focus on bringing the audience good content or the escape they desperately crave.
Because you’re in the movies, you get to decide people’s fates? Where does it say that those in the Hindi Film Industry are the most powerful? Where does it say that you get to dictate who lives and who achieves success? Where does it say that you must keep the industry a tight-knit almost insect filled community?
Respect. That’s all any of us want. Sure there is love, companionship, dogs and chocolate. But, respect is different from those things. It allows one to walk down the street without getting sexually harassed, threatened, and/or killed. Respect gives one confidence, joy, and happiness. Actually, fuck that. I think we all want to avoid being disrespected. When disrespected, we face our greatest obstacles. Usually, this type of disrespect comes from deeply rooted prejudice.
You think I would be used to the prejudice. Right? I write about it constantly and talk about my experiences with it. So, I must be immune to it. Want me to drop a truth bomb? Stop reading now if you don’t.