At the risk of sounding cliché, it’s crazy how time flies.
Exactly one year ago today, I officially launched no more mangoes while sitting cross-legged on the beat-up leather sofa in the living room of my old apartment in Washington, D.C. At the time, I wasn’t really sure where this project was going, or what would become of it—all I knew was that I wanted to create a place where I could share my thoughts and reflections on migration, diaspora, identity, and all of the other issues that I write about here. By doing so, I hoped that I’d be able to a fill a niche that had largely been missing, as far as I could tell, from much mainstream South Asian diaspora writing—analyzing these issues through a critical, radical lens, rather than simply regurgitating the same overused tropes and superficial explorations of what it means to be a member of the diaspora.
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Fast forward a year, and a lot has happened. The last year has seen a number of major developments in both my personal life and my writing career, perhaps the most significant of which was my move to London last September for grad school. Given that so much of my writing engages with themes of migration and the transport/translation of identity across borders, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the experience of moving to the UK—my first time living in another country—has added an additional degree of nuance and complexity to my feelings and analysis that I never could have anticipated before I left the United States. In particular, I’ve been struck by the extent to which the history and experience of the South Asian community in Britain differs from that of South Asian Americans, leading to radically divergent conceptions of what it means to be part of the diaspora in each country. This is something that I want to explore in much greater depth in future essays, so I won’t say too much more about it here, other than that I really cannot overstate just how profoundly this experience has shaped my understanding of the themes and topics that I write about on this blog—and therefore, how profoundly it has shaped my approach to writing about them.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment here to thank each and every one of my subscribers from the bottom of my heart—those who’ve been here since day one, and those who’ve only recently come on board. I have genuinely been floored by the reception that no more mangoes and the essays I’ve published here have received over the past year, and also by the number of people who, like me, have been left feeling disillusioned and disappointed by the superficial, self-indulgent ethos that seems to permeate so much diaspora writing. As I wrote about last July in my essay “finding my way back home,” my return to writing after several years has been a relatively recent journey (I’ve only really started to take writing seriously in the last year or so), and all the support and kind words I’ve received from my readers on here has truly meant so much in encouraging me to keep going with this passion of mine.
I’ll keep this message brief, and wrap things up by saying that I am beyond excited to see where the next year takes this project (and my writing more generally). I have some ideas in the works for essays that I’m really looking forward to share with you all in the coming months, especially as I look ahead to rounding off my time in London and returning to D.C. at the end of the summer. That said, if there are themes or topics that you’d like me to write about in future essays, please leave a comment below!
Over the past year, this community has grown to more than 600 subscribers, and I really hope that it will continue to grow in the weeks and months ahead. If you haven’t already, please consider sharing no more mangoes with anyone you know who might enjoy reading it, and if you’re willing and able, it would genuinely mean the world if you could show your support by pledging a subscription (there’s a “pledge your support” button at the bottom of this email, or if you’re reading this on a desktop browser, you can click the button at the top right of your screen)!
From the bottom of my heart, thank you all again for a truly incredible year of no more mangoes. Here’s to many, many more :)
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Thank you for sharing! I am so interested to see how your new experiences have will shape your thinking and writing.