24 Oct, 2017

me too…

Sehba Sarwar
24 Oct, 2017

Minal creating a nature installation to cover an exposed nail; Karachi 2011 The accepted statistic that “one in three women will suffer sexual abuse” feels antiquated. It has taken me years to heal from #MeToo encounters that I experienced—on the street with strangers, at the homes of friends with...

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25 Jun, 2017

chand raat in little bangladesh…

25 Jun, 2017

My friend’s daughter getting her hand decorated with mehndi/henna on Chand Raat On Chand Raat, I team up with my friend Shaista, and we drive our daughters to Virgil Middle School in Los Angeles’ Little Bangladesh in east Hollywood. Though we arrive after 9:30 pm, the courtyard is packed...

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04 Feb, 2017

the big day…

04 Feb, 2017

author Kate DiCamillo with Minal Ever since Minal learns that she won first place in the Scholastic Reader’s Raymie Nightingale contest, she has been waiting for young adult author Kate DiCamillo’s visit to her school, Blair Middle and High School. The two months slip away in the midst of...

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25 Jan, 2017

two days later…

Sehbar Sarwar
25 Jan, 2017

Woman waiting to catch Metro waves a banner designed by Stephen Fairey for The Amplifier Foundation’s We The People project I wake up to hear the radio spitting stories about the wall that will be built no matter what, the continuation of the Dakota Access pipeline, rejection of refugees,...

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15 Jan, 2017

a saturday night virtual playdate…

Sehbar Sarwar
15 Jan, 2017

“I’m at 10:21 seconds,” calls out Minal. “I need to catch up—I’m at 10:24 seconds!” Minal’s friend’s voice ricochets from Minal’s video phone that’s propped up in front of our television screen. “I’ll pause,” replies Minal. Minal and her friend are participating in a “virtual playdate,” through which the...

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07 Dec, 2016

an award for minal…

07 Dec, 2016

At ten thirty this morning, I receive an email from Minal’s English teacher with a subject line: We WON THE GRAND PRIZE!!!!!!!!!!! Over the course of the day, details unravel and we learn that Minal’s essay, “A Friendship Created by a Sequin,” won first place in a national writing...

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21 Nov, 2016

reminders and a respite…

Sehbar Sarwar
21 Nov, 2016

After spending five days in Houston, Minal flies with me to Washington DC where I’m invited to attend a National Endowment for the Arts convening. With a free day before the conference, I ask Minal what she wants to do on her first trip to DC. “Visit the White...

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10 Nov, 2016

hangover after drinking a lot of water and watching television…

10 Nov, 2016

I wake up with a hangover this morning even though last night, I drank only water. But I watched television for a long stretch. In the morning, I drink more water peppered with coffee. On our drive to school, Minal and I discuss the outcome of last night’s US...

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28 Sep, 2016

minal closes out her twelfth year…

28 Sep, 2016

Last Wednesday, Minal turned twelve. I surprised her at her all-girls after-school choir practice with a chocolate cake and candles. Her choir group sang happy birthday, and her teacher allowed me to light candles so Minal could make a wish. Even though twelve years have passed since Minal’s arrival,...

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15 Aug, 2016

the first day of school…

Sehba Sarwar
15 Aug, 2016

By sheer coincidence, we find a public school in Pasadena that is much like Minal’s Houston school – the program is International Baccalaureate and also offers a Spanish-English dual language stream. I drop her off in the morning. She lugs a heavy backpack, but seems calm and ready for...

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