“An “Anyatha” moment was how I described my ‘ah-hah!’ moments of wonder, inspiration, realization, and actualization for representation and empowerment. It’s my ‘Eureka!’ like glittering nuggets in the grass were for the California gold miners. My platform is one intended to enact social change, share and uplift women’s voices and champion causes important to me such as Asian-American representation and visibility. I share stories of substance and purpose and lead the way for even more of these stories to be added to the rich, moving tapestry of our great globe.
And through Anyatha, all the places we could go together, we went, as I shared my experiences empowering and uplifting women and girls in Delhi, Mumbai, Munipur, Coimbatore and other parts of India or right here in Dallas through ShePower in partnership with MetoWe, speaking to an immense audience on behalf of a United Nations foundation to covering red carpet movements such as #TIMES UP or the Crazy Rich Asians premiere. This incredible journey is only starting and it’s one I am forever grateful I embarked on and to the tremendous network of readers continually support me.
As I’ve always said, you, my incredible friend, are powerful beyond measure and will surpass everyone’s expectations, including your own.
Here’s hoping an ‘Anyatha’ moment strikes you today and sets you on the cusp of something new. Maybe you’ll discover one right here with Anyatha.”
The opportunity to stand upon UN Women’s platform and spearhead a discourse for young women to feel empowered and worthy, to unlock their potential, take the fullest advantage of the opportunities granted to them, and become change-makers is invaluable.
And through my involvement with United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women as the founder of GirlUp Dallas and through my work with ShePower and We Movement as a women’s advocate, I was given just that.
The stories of my grandmother, who is from Munipur in India, and how she shares with me her culture over a bowl of wispy beaten eggs in a cinnamon and peppercorn-infused broth, a warm mist suspended above it, are with me.
From paper dosas crisped to a golden honey color and stuffed with turmeric-roasted potatoes and steamed vegetables still glistening with beads of moisture to red clay pots of coconut and mint, green chili or creamy orange curry dipping sauces, my heritage is a source of strength and pride. But it is also a reason to continue to push for change and achieve equality and representation for not only minorities, women and girls but all people.
The cultural fusion of the dishes I enjoyed reflect the importance of fostering appreciation and acceptance for diversity and new voices.
A woman dips her thumb into a small bowl, dragging her finger across my forehead in a medial stripe of vermilion powder — an Indian tikka for good luck — as my campaigning for equality and representation and sharing my voice has found immense support or reverence and continues to gain traction and surge forward in both America and India.
In India, I helped to build and improve communities and access for the girls and women who inhabit them and prevent violence. Twisting a blade of grass, the light outlining its linear edges and sun peeking through my crisscrossed lashes, I prepare to share my story.
Emma Watson’s HeforShe speech, her words filled with substance and purpose to inspire emerging generations, is with me. And my work helming ShePower and leading ongoing outreach efforts to amass donations and supplies and disseminate health information and receiving enthusiastic support and overwhelming want to be involved from my peers rather than recalcitrance or reticence urges me forward.
There is heat and color suffusing my cheeks and warmth flooding my body, excitement and adrenaline thrumming through my veins. Something is alight inside me and my words are likewise filled with substance and purpose when I speak on behalf of the United Nations Foundation for UN Women.