Ananya (AKB): Why don’t you start by telling me where you’re from and how you got to Yale?
Aditi (AS): I was born in Washington, D.C. I lived in a pretty close suburb of D.C. in Maryland from when I was born. I’ve lived in the same house since I was two or three—around then. So, I had very much a childhood that was very centered in one place. But both my parents are immigrants and I’ve spent a decent amount of time in India over the years. We used to go almost every year, every other year. And then there was a five-year gap where we didn’t go. We went back this winter break. So, my idea of home is shaped both by where I actually grew up and also that experience going to India so frequently because both sets of my grandparents have lived in their same houses the whole time I was growing up. My mom’s mom actually still lives in the same apartment in Mumbai that my mom lived in since she was nine. So, going back there is really interesting too because my mom basically lived in that apartment on and off from when she was nine to when she was 26, 28, or something. So that’s really interesting.
How I got to Yale? Well, I guess I’m really lucky because I come from a family that has been really well educated for as many generations as I know. My grandfather on my dad’s side is a doctor and my mom’s parents, my mom’s dad went to Cambridge. I don’t know what for, but he got some kind of graduate degree at Cambridge. My mom’s mom was also lucky to be very educated, which for a woman of her time in India was not at all common or anything. My parents went to English medium schools in India, which again, is not that common, relatively. My dad has a PhD and my mom is a doctor. So, I’m super super lucky to come from a family where my parents have been educated.
I have an older brother that is a junior at the University of Maryland. In a lot of immigrant families, the college process, the American college process can be really confusing
AKB: It’s so wild. They’re like, what does “holistic” mean?
AS: Also, how test scores factor into it is kind of confusing. The Common App. I don’t know. It’s weird. Luckily my parents speak English, so that was helpful. Speak English as their first language, I should say. Having an older brother sort of helped with that, so they sort of knew what was going on. I went on college tours with him too. But, Yale? I didn’t know anyone who got into Yale. I didn’t know that much about it. I got a letter in the mail one day, when I was a junior in high school, from Jeremiah Quinlan. Yale has this philosophy, you never really hear about it once you get to Yale, but in the admissions process they’re pretty focused on it. It’s the “and not or” thing. Have you heard that? It’s like “liberal arts and research institution.”
AKB: Like, we can have it all.
AS: Yeah. The “we can have it all” mentality. I guess that really stood out to me because I went to a pretty intense math and science program for high school that very much did not have that “and,” that well-roundedness, I guess. That’s what I saw here. I visited when I when I was junior, and yeah. It’s so beautiful. Everyone just seems very happy to be here, I guess, in a way that I didn’t expect. I knew it was my first choice from when I applied early. I was lucky enough to get in. I kind of still had a decision to make, even though it was my top choice school. I guess my other option was a state school. I could’ve just gone there and taken only STEM classes and become an aerospace engineer, which is a little bit…
AKB: Your parents would be so proud!
AS: Yeah. I think that would have been a more clear path, like my life, at least career-wise, would have been pretty straight forward to figure out. Whereas here, I’m like, I don’t even know what I want to study anymore. I don’t know, I kind of like that uncertainty a little bit.
AKB: So have you thought about that recently. What do you think you’re gonna do? Or are you not thinking about it at all and just living your life.
AS: I’m kind of thinking about it. I’ve been in a science/math magnet program—I went to two, one for middle and one for high school—since I was ten, and I was applying to middle school, to the middle school magnet program. That’s when I decided, you know, I’m going on this STEM track. That just sort of carried me through. Then I got here. First semester, I was taking a really difficult math class that was a little bit out of my depth, and then also physics class. I was getting very burnt out and I had an academic crisis, where I was like, “maybe I should not do STEM at all.” My ten-year-old self didn’t know what she was doing. It just seems kind of weird to track yourself like that when you’re so little. Maybe I’m just doing it because it feels comfortable, not because it’s actually what I want to do. That was a few months ago. I was very burnt out then. I went on a little break and came back and started taking classes that were better suited to me. I think I’m back on the STEM track now, but I do think that that little crisis I had was good. I feel more comfortable where I am now because I’ve thought through the other options.
But in terms of STEM, I guess, I might do a BS in Mechanical Engineering or Applied Math. I might do something with physics. I might go, wherever.
AKB: You got time. So, you said when you were ten years old you were sure about the STEM track. What was the lure to it then? What did you love about it then?
AS: I think what I really liked about it is how definite everything is in STEM. The type of math you’re doing in middle school and elementary school is very much like you learn how solve an algebraic equation, and there’s a method that works every time. There’s one right answer. In science, the kind of science you learn about is very much like: these are the facts. This is the way the world works. Everything is very clear cut I guess, which I appreciated. I was never a very artsy kid. I quit art classes as soon as I was allowed to. I guess I didn’t really embrace my creativity at all. What I didn’t realize is that, as you get more and more advanced, even in the sciences, like math or physics, there is a lot of creativity that comes into it. That’s just part of growing up, it’s not like some subjects have that and some don’t. If you want to be good at what you do, I think creativity is very, very important.
The math class I was taking last semester was a proof-based class, so you had to think about things in all kinds of weird ways. There was no one definite, right way to approach a problem, which I think I was also a little uncomfortable with. And then in physics, there are just so many things in physics that we don’t understand. Like, we don’t understand why certain things are the way they are. We don’t really understand why our universe has structure in it, and why it was allowed to create life. Because there were very particular conditions in the beginning of the universe that allowed galaxies and stuff to form, and if one constant had been slightly off, none of that would’ve happened. We have no idea why that is. That’s just one example.
There are so many mysteries in physics and things we just don’t understand. So, there is a lot of gray area. Back to the creativity thing, scientists need to be incredibly creative in order to solve those problems. You can solve equations like f = ma, you can do that all day, but that’s not what actual science or math is like. So, I guess part of realizing that was a maturity thing. Because I was little, it was the black-and-whiteness that I really liked. Which is kind of sad.
AKB: Do you think you want to go back to the D.C. area when you grow up? Or are just going to follow wherever the work takes you?
AS: I really want to live abroad. I am very much thankful for my parents for giving me a stable and amazing childhood. But, with that said, I do want to move around more when I’m older, just to experience it. I think part of the reason, maybe, that my family stayed in one place so much is because my dad was an army kid.
AKB: Which army?
AS: Indian army. His father was in it.
AKB: Where did he live?
AS: All over. Like I said, my dad’s dad was a doctor, so he was an army doctor.
AKB: I was just asking because my dad is also an army kid, and he also lived all over.
AS: Bhutan was a big one. I don’t even know.
AKB: Have you seen the Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King?
AS: Oh my god, yes.
AKB: In reference to that, like “secrets.”
AS: Oh my gosh. I think about that so often. It’s so relevant. Yeah, my dad doesn’t talk about it a lot. But he did tell me that in his first six years of school, he went to eleven schools, which is…
AKB: That’s a lot of schools.
AS: Yeah. It’s a lot. Because my grandfather would be in a place for six months and then they’d move, which is crazy. So then my dad eventually went off to boarding school, which was also not a positive experience.
AKB: Wait, how old was he when he went off to boarding school?
AS: Eleven or twelve.
AKB: Did his parents fake his birthday to get into an IIT [Indian Institute of Technology] at any point?
AS: No, my dad didn't go to IIT.
AKB: Just wondering, because it seemed like very similar. My dad also went to boarding school, he was also very unhappy…
AS: Do you know the name of the boarding school?
AKB: I don’t know. I know it was in Trichi…
AS: Yeah, my dad went to like a pretty famous one established by the British.
AKB: What’s it called?
AS: Lawrence School, Lovedale.
AKB: I’ll ask.
AS: Yeah. I feel like all those boarding schools have similar… like people who went to one have heard of the other ones. Side note: our senator from Maryland lives kind of down the street from us, but he was the kid of an expat so he went to boarding school in India for a while. Kind of weird, just like a white guy.
AKB: White people are full of surprises.
AS: Oh yeah. So I think my dad’s childhood very much influenced. I don’t know if this is like a common experience for little kids, but I always thought boarding school would be so cool because I read those… Enid Blighton, have you heard of her? She wrote these books….
AKB: I feel like that’s a common thing. So many cool things happen to young people in boarding school: Harry Potter. I read this horrible trilogy called A Great and Terrible Beauty as a kid, and it’s about a finishing school/boarding school. That’s where the fun is at.
AS: I read these spy books that were about a spy boarding school for girls, and they were actually super good. I don’t know, boarding school seemed super cool, but my dad very much did not like boarding school. He works for the World Bank, so a lot of his colleagues live in a lot of different places, around the world, and move around. So, a lot of them do send their kids to boarding school. But I think that is part of the reason why my dad was like, “I’m not going to do that.” Wait, what was the original question?
AKB: I was asking you where you wanted to live. But this is good! This is what it’s supposed to be.
AS: Oh yeah. I mean, D.C., is great, it’s a lovely place to grow up. If I had to raise kids somewhere in the U.S. I wouldn’t discount that area.
AKB: Do you think you’ll have kids or are you not sure?
AS: I think I’ll probably have kids.
AKB: You got time.
AS: I don’t know. I really like the idea of marriage. That sounds weird to say, I’m like nineteen.
AKB: But you’re closer to 25 than you are to twelve. You’re inching closer.
AS: Yeah. I think marriage is kind of like a base, building block of Indian culture. I don’t know if you experienced that.
AKB: Are your parents arranged?
AS: Not really. Sort of. In high school—I worked for my school newspaper—I wrote this longform feature piece about arranged marriage, and how that cultural practice from South Asia manifests itself in first-generation, second-generation kids in the U.S. I interviewed people from my school and also this random marriage historian.
AKB: Wow. What a wild profession. That’s what being a humanities major is all about.
AS: Oh yeah. It was really interesting. I really think that that story—going back to how I ended up at Yale—is in a lot of ways responsible for me getting into Yale. Because I won some award for it and I found out in the middle of October, two weeks before the early action was due. And Yale has this policy where you can submit a creative writing supplement if, and only if, you’ve won an award for it.
AKB: Is that really true?
AS: Yeah. It’s a little sus. I ended up submitting that story, and I figure that probably helped me.
AKB: But there are also, like, a lot of people in the world. There’s only so much you can do as a kid. I don’t know. I feel like that’s above and beyond. You’re a smart person. Maybe it was luck, maybe it wasn’t, but you’re here.
AS: Whatever it was, I’m here. I’m glad. That story was interesting to me. First all, I think there are so many misconceptions about arranged marriage in America, at least. Whereas in India, it’s just like there. It’s just fact.
AKB: It’s sort of like Tinder, except you swipe once. Also, there are no photos.
AS: Yeah, it varies a lot family to family. I don’t want an arranged marriage, I’m not going to have an arranged marriage. But it’s interesting. In arranged marriage culture, sometimes marriage is seen as two families uniting as opposed to two individual people. Marriage is just a very important way to connect communities, or strengthen a community, traditionally. Among some people, marriage is not so much about personal satisfaction, but more about building a stable life for yourself, for your family. One of the people I interviewed for my story was one of my friends back home, and she’s like Indian American, born, brought up here. But her parents had an arranged marriage, and they might expect her to have an arranged marriage too, despite being brought up here. Her mom always says romantic love doesn’t exist, that marriage is a practical arrangement. That’s interesting. Definitely shocks some people. There’s a good story about my story that I wrote. It was center spread in the newspaper, so it had pretty art and stuff around it, and the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper and a few other people went to this conference at Columbia—the Columbia Scholastic Conference.
AKB: Oh yeah. We sent people there too.
AS: It’s a good conference. I wasn’t there, but they sent the paper to be reviewed or whatever by some people—there were people all over the county, so it could’ve been like East Coast, just communities where the demographic wasn’t Asian American or South Asian American, specifically—and some white lady from some town in the Midwest looked at it. She looked at all the art, the south Asian inspired art, and read the story and was like “wow, they don’t have that where I come from,” referring to arranged marriage. So yeah. It’s definitely a topic that’s not talked about in the main stream. But I would say that cultural views on marriage are very different.
AKB: Do you think your parents would want you to get an arranged marriage? Or are they hands off?
AS: They’re super hands off. They don't really care as long as a I marry someone good and kind and intelligent. They don’t even really care whether I marry an Indian person or not. My parents are very Westernized in a lot of ways, which is different from some of my Indian American friends. My mom comes from a very secular family, so religion doesn't play a big part. My dad is just secular by nature—he’s agnostic. We’re culturally Hindu, I guess you could say, but religion isn’t really a factor. Like I said, both of my parents went to English medium schools, so English is the language that they feel most comfortable in at this point. We speak English at home. The neighborhood I live in is very, very white. My parents are very Westernized.
AKB: Do you feel disconnected from your South Asian identity because of that, you think?
AS: I have, I used to. I think I’ve actively worked to remedy that because it was something that was uncomfortable for me. It still is uncomfortable for me. I don’t speak a South Asian language, at all. I’m not proud of that fact.
AKB: What do you speak?
AS: English and Spanish. I’m okay at Spanish, I’d say. I could be fluent in Spanish if I studied for a month or two, especially in the country. I’ve been taking it forever. And I plan to do that. But Indian languages, there’s no basis there for anything. Because my parents come from different parts of India so they don’t even really have like an Indian language in common.
AKB: Where do your parents come from?
AS: My mom comes from Maharashtra, so she speaks Marathi. And then she speaks some Konkani because she had a nanny who spoke it. My dad comes from the South, from Karnataka, so he speaks Kannada, which is the state language there. But he also comes from this small community on the coast of Karnataka, which speaks this language called Tulu, which is a spoken language, not a written language, and it’s spoken by many people.
AKB: Do they know how to speak Hindi then?
AS: So, both of them learned Hindi at school, and they can use it to get around if someone only speaks that, but they don’t really speak it to each other. But, I do want to learn Hindi. I’m thinking about taking it here. Are you gonna do it?
AS: Okay, let’s do it. I really want to learn. I feel like in general I’ve gotten more in touch with South Asian stuff in the past couple years. Like, I’m part of the South Asian Society here, which I really really love. Yeah. It’s nice, because it’s a piece of my identity I never really thought about or dealt with growing up. I didn’t really have any Indian American friends until high school, yeah. Elementary school I went to a school near where I lived, which was mostly white.
AKB: How did your parents pick out your name?
AS: My dad really liked it for some reason. I don’t know why. He just kind of picked it. Yeah. Because my mom picked my brother’s name, so he picked mine. I have a weird thing with my name. Because it’s spelled a-d-i-t-i, so desi people will pronounce it in one of three ways. [pronounces her name in three ways] But when I introduce myself to other people, I say A-dee-tee, which is like not really any of those. I guess my parents call me A-di-tee, and my dad, because he’s the one who picked my name, he has a special connection it, kind of gets annoyed when I say A-dee-tee to people. I don’t know where that came from. I don’t remember when I started going by that outside of my family. My brother called me A-d-ti.
AKB: It’s Sanskrit, right?
AS: Yeah. It means boundless or something.
AKB: That’s beautiful. Also, between the two pronunciations [gives two pronunciations], one of them is feminine, one of them is masculine. Someone told me that about my name too.
AS: Is it their gender or your gender?
AKB: Your gender, but I don’t know which is which. So, I can’t help you.
AS: I really have no idea. Aditya, I guess is the guy’s version of the name.
AKB: Do you have any middle names?
AS: Yeah, my middle name is Krishni, which is my great-grandmother’s name.
AKB: Mom’s side or dad’s side?
AS: Dad’s side. My dad’s community that he’s from is very insular, there’s a lot of intermarriage. So my dad married outside of the community, my mom isn’t from the community. We have a group of people from that community, it’s called the Bunt community in the United States and the organization is called BANA, which stands for Bunt Association of North America. So I actually have a lot friends in that who were also born and raised in America. But their parents are immigrants. Most of them, both of their parents are in the community, through arranged marriages and stuff. So my brother and I are kind of an exception. So my grandparents from my dad’s side are both in that community. My aunt, who is my dad’s sister, married within that community too.
AKB: Did your brother go on to learn any South Asian languages?
AS: My brother is interesting because he has a knack for picking up languages.
AKB: Oh god! I can’t stand those people.
AS: I know. So, he’s basically fluent in Spanish, he’s probably gonna double major in it, or minor in it. We went to India for the first time in five years a couple months ago, and we traveled to different places. So, like I said, my mom speaks Marathi, my dad speaks Tulu. Each place we would go, my brother would start picking up the language very quickly, in a way that I could not do. So he’s definitely not fluent or properly proficient in any of those languages, but, without a doubt, if he went and lived in India for even a short period of time he would pick them up. That’s just the way he is. Which is cool.
AKB: Do you think you would ever try to live there? Or…
AS: Yeah, I think I would want to live in India, at least for a little while. I think it would be interesting to… I don’t know. Being in India is weird for me, because I’m very, very tall.
AKB: I’m actually the average height of an Indian man—actually taller than the average height of an Indian man.
AKB: Gotta love all those generations of malnutrition.
AS: Oh yeah. My grandparents are just very small people. It’s very funny when my brother and I stand next to them. My grandpa grew up in an era where I guess there just wasn’t enough food in India, love Winston Churchill.
AKB: Every time they make a movie about him. Ugh. They just made a movie about him and it won an award, and I’m just here, like, “I really cannot stand Winston Churchill.” And everyone’s all, “We don’t understand.” You’re just missing the part where he starved all these people. People asked him if he wanted to send food, and he was basically like, “I don’t feel like it.”
AS: Yeah. Western glorification of Winston Churchill is a whole thing. Yeah, my grandparents are very, very small. My brother and I are a lot taller than my parents too. My dad is 5’8” and I’m 6’, my mom is 5’7”, and my brother is 6’3”, probably 6’4” at this point.
AS: When we went to India over winter break, we went to these temples in the South. In South India, people tend to be shorter and darker skinned, too. My brother and I are very, very tall, and quite fair, and colorism is such a big problem in India too, which is something that is also weird to think about. There were a lot of little kids around the temple, little kids, on field trips and stuff, and they were just staring at us. Ogling. It was a wild time.
Also, I’m taking this history class right now called India and Pakistan since 1947, very much would recommend.
AKB: Love Prof. Rohit De.
AS: Oh yeah! You had him. I forgot. It’s a great class. But that’s also interesting, going back to what we said earlier, “immigrants and secrets.” Like they do talk about growing up in India, but never very much. I didn’t know anything about modern Indian history, at all. India since 1947, my grandparents were teenagers in 1947, they very much lived through. I’d never heard of all these events we’re learning about, which is kind of wild because I’ve never heard of most of them. It’s just interesting learning about myself and my family in the context of that because, I guess my family was very well-educated, and spoke English. My parents had never talked to me about the privilege in my family, especially that my mom’s family had, in India as a whole. You would think it would be something that I would pick up on, going to India that many times. It wasn’t. I was a kid almost every time I went, except most recently. That’s just been really interesting.
AKB: When you say “privilege,” would it be in like access to food or in the way they lived their lives, or…
AS: Just like everything. My maternal grandmother’s family was very much a part of the imperial government.
AKB: That’s a lot.
AS: It is a lot. I mean I knew this, probably from the time I was twelve, thirteen, but it’s just weird to think about. My great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were both mayors of Bombay under the British…
AS: … which is so weird to think about. This year when we went, we went to the museum in Bombay that has—I think it used to called the British Museum, but it was very much established by the British—historical artifacts and things. As I went with my dad and my brother this time, there was this summary in English of how the building was built, how the museum was commissioned. It listed the names of people who’d met about the initial founding of the museum, and one of the names listed was Justice Chandavarkar, which was my mom’s grandfather, actually, who is my great-grandfather. He was on the Supreme Court of Bombay, he was very much working with the British, which is so weird to think about. Because of that, it gave my mom’s family a lot of privilege. Economically, they were always well-off. Growing up she wasn’t rich by any stretch of the imagination. It’s not like her family had tons of extra money lying around or anything.
I think in India, English is very much a tool of social mobility. Just even like being able to go to English medium school gives you so much ability to advance yourself economically. English and the accent you speak it in is very much an indicator of social status, which is really wild. So in that way my mom’s family, starting with working under the British Raj, already had English as a language, and had a formal history of education, which so many Indians don’t have. The way that caste comes into that too. My mom is high caste, which is so weird to think about, because it’s something that hadn’t even entered into my mind until these past few months, I guess. The history class and going to India as an actual adult-ish person.
AKB: So, the first one is, do you feel guilty about how caste has affected what it means to be an Indian person? Especially, as you think of your lineage, caste is everything there [on the subcontinent]. The second questions is a little bit lighter. Whatever you feel more comfortable answering. You talk about not speaking the language, not practicing Hinduism, you must have connected some way with being South Asian, and I’m wondering through what avenue that was—was it clothing, was it food, or was it just the way you conceived of yourself?
AS: I’ll start with the second question because I have more of an immediate answer to give. I love Indian food, so much, so, so much. Best cuisine in the world, for sure. I can’t really cook it yet, but I’ll get there one day. One of the things, when my brother and I go to India, we definitely just feel the most comfortable when we’re eating Indian food. Because my parents very much raised us on Indian food. We eat literally anything. Whenever we go to auntie and uncle’s houses in India, they’re always like, “Most American kids will not eat all the Indian food that we make.” And my brother and I very much both really love Indian food. So, when you said food, it reminded me of that.
In terms of connecting with the South Asian culture, I think it was something I didn’t know was missing until high school when I started making Indian American friends and their lives and lived experiences were so different from mine because their parents were either more religious or spoke a different language at home or expected them to behave in different ways. As in, not date non-Indians, which is not an expectation my parents ever really had. Going back to the caste thing, I guess I’m really still processing that. It really has not been something I started thinking about until recently, as I said. So, not sure if I have a super clear answer on it.
You said you were going to do these interviews again when we were seniors, right? Yeah, I’m sure I’ll have something more well thought-out to say then. I don’t know. I mean, my dad is not as high caste as my mom, I just want to say that. He says that one of his uncles, or some relative, got into this program, or medical school, back in the day because one year they were like put down as “backwards castes”—for affirmative action, they call the lower castes “backwards castes,” which, first of all, is a weird term.
AKB: Wait, what?
AS: It almost doesn’t mean anything. The Indian history with affirmative action is really interesting.
AKB: So wild!
AS: It is so wild. But yeah, for one year my dad’s caste was put down as a backwards caste, which allowed his uncle to get into medical school, because they had reservations for “backwards castes.” We learned the terms for the different kinds of caste in class, and I like can’t remember, but…. Aside from the official names, there’s other stuff.
AKB: Is it Prof. Rohit De teaching you?
AS: Oh yeah.
AKB: Wow, now I really want to take this class. I fundamentally don’t understand…
AS: One of the things we learned about in class—we learned about this a few weeks ago, and it hit me pretty hard—is that [Jawaharlal] Nehru, and his family, like Gandhi, that kind of elite, secular division of the congress party, they obviously had a caste. They weren’t like actually caste-ist people. Nehru especially was an open-minded fellow for his time, what they wanted to do was abolish the caste system. What they didn’t realize, being from upper castes, is that they had the privilege of not being affected by their castes, whereas Dalits, and other lower caste people, don’t have that privilege. So they were coming from this place where they were like, “Oh, we don’t think caste should exist,” without realizing that for most of India that wasn’t even an option.
It was interesting because they were coming from a place of privilege where they couldn’t see that. What that led to later, in the 80s, and the 90s especially, was lower caste groups embracing their identity more as a political tool, a political statement. Caste politics, very interesting, something I never really learned about, until really recently.
AKB: It feels like it’s not brought over here, in a weird way, right? Because I wouldn’t ask you what your caste is outside of this context.
AS: Yeah, no. I think among South Asian Americans born in America, it’s not really something that we think about, but we talked about some study in class that showed that Dalits that moved to the U.S. report higher levels of discrimination in the U.S. than do, like, Brahmins report in the U.S. I couldn’t really tell if that discrimination was from other Indian Americans in the US, or if it was just like that US were more likely to be less educated….
AKB: It also makes you think of the psychology of it, like who reports, like why do you report, or what context do you report? Is it different when you’re being discriminated against in some place where you expected to be discriminated against? Or is it that you won’t be discriminated against? I don’t know. That’s interesting.
Is there something you wished I had asked you about? I feel like there’s a lot I didn’t get to. Or just talk about something that has really shaped you.
AS: I can’t really think of anything. We delved pretty deep there.
AKB: We did! It was good.
Do you want to live in a Spanish speaking country?
AS: Oh yeah, definitely.
AKB: Like for an extended period of time?
AS: I would like too, for an extended period of time, but definitely I at least I’d like to get that experience while I’m in college first, and then maybe I’d like to do that after college as well. But yeah, I’d like to study abroad at some point. Probably for a semester, not just for a summer. I don’t know, we’ll see.
AKB: How do you feel about nose rings? How do you feel about that thing on campus where so many people have nose rings? It’s definitely a thing. You know how when you’re a senior in high school, and everyone turns eighteen, and they get that second ear piercing, it’s like that, but for college students.
AS: Yeah, a lot of people do have nose rings. I don’t know. I feel like nose rings are a cultural practice in South Asia. I remember we have these paintings of Indian portraits in traditional Indian dress in our dining room as decoration, and there’s this one lady, who’s just beautiful and has this a red veil, and all this jewelry, and she has this very prominent nose ring. I grew up looking at that, and I always thought that was so beautiful. I don’t think I would ever get a nose ring though.
AKB: Why not?
AS: I don’t know.
AKB: Are you adverse to piercings?
AS: No, I have a couple, I have two on each ear. I don’t know. I just can’t see myself with a nose piercing. What about you?
AKB: I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Because my parents always encouraged me to get a nose ring, and then they were upset when I got my helix pierced, and then I got my second piercing. They were like, “you keep getting all these other things pierced, but when are you going to get your nose pierced.
AS: That’s really funny, actually. Yeah, my parents would be so supportive, if like, tomorrow I decided I was getting a nose ring.