Learning my ABCDs

Cal in Color

For most people, ABCD is the beginning of the English alphabet. But for American-Born, Confused Desis like me, it’s an acronym, an insult, a joke and an identity, all wrapped up in four letters. Calling me an ABCD invalidates my experience of being Desi, or a person of South Asian
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Not a 2nd-class traveler

Off the Beat

Everywhere I travel, my family has had to both reassert our identity and tolerate the casual racism from enough of the locals for it to become a discernible issue. I am fed up with a binary system that refuses to accept that I am just as American as any white individual born and raised in the United States of America.
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A picture-imperfect holiday

Off the Beat

My holiday season always begins the same way — I sit impatiently in an almost-empty BART train car hurtling itself away from the chaotic streets of Downtown Berkeley to the sleepy suburbs of the South Bay. Phone in hand, I scroll absentmindedly through my Instagram feed, sifting through perfectly filtered
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The layover

Between America and Me

“You’re not American? But you speak such good English!” I’m in my freshman year dining hall, making new friends over cold pizza and casual racism. Casual because my classmate doesn’t seem to be overtly prejudiced, and they’re definitely not aware of their faux pas. I shrug and inform them that
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Do it for the ‘gram

Lost in Translation

There comes a point in every international student’s freshman semester when they have to make an overwhelmingly difficult decision — to post or not to post? After the initial radio silence on social media as you focus on fitting in, figuring out an academic schedule and life without your parents,
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Tip of the iceberg

Laid Bear

The crowd applauded loudly as the magician slowly slid a razor-sharp sword down his throat. The magician bowed as he finished the act by politely asking us for some money in return for the show. He tried to persuade us to tip by saying that he swallowed an entire sword
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Only child but never alone

Lost in Translation

People often talk about the emotional trauma of being the middle child, or the struggle of living in the shadow of a successful sibling. But I don’t think the general population quite grasps the ordeal of going through your teenage years as an only child. Not to be overly dramatic,
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The acquired accent

Lost in Translation

“Don’t you dare come back with a fake accent.” I snorted disdainfully at these emotional parting words from my best friend, skillfully covering up the anguish and self-doubt that was welling up inside me. It’s a true testament to the power of UC Berkeley’s impostor syndrome that I began to
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