Get married and become a mother.
When I was a little girl, that was the message I got from all around me, even my own family members: My greatest purpose in life was to get married and become a mother.
The messages were so loud and pervasive that I rarely sat down to dream about what I really wanted. What was my purpose? Why was I on this earth? What would help me come fully alive?
I couldn’t even fathom a world where someone who looked like me would be able to create the type of life that centered around my heartfelt purpose. I just wasn’t shown a path where people like me could. And did.
So, I did a lot of things that good Indian girls do: I got a stellar education, married a (wonderful, parent-approved) man and became a mother. I was even able to pursue a lesser-trodden path as a journalist–as long as my ambitions didn’t disrupt my family life.
But in my heart, I knew there was something missing. I played small for many years because that’s all I thought was possible for me. I was told to be grateful because already, as the first woman in my family to do paid work outside the home, I had access to much more than my female ancestors did.
I never thought that the day would come where I would have a big-name-publisher published book with my name on its cover.
That people would ask me to share what I think, and to share the dreams I have for the world? I still pinch myself every day.
But it’s here! And I’ll never be able to fully articulate what it means to me. But my hope and dream is that when anyone reads Inclusion on Purpose, they know for sure that they don’t have to play small.
Especially not because of anything to do with their race, gender, sexual orientation, body size, disability…or any other horrible way we divide and categorize and assign value and worth to people.
That is why I wrote Inclusion on Purpose.
This book is a culmination of the hard work of SO many. I built upon the foundations laid by brave activists such as Audre Lorde, Savitrabai Phule and Dolores Huerta, who risked everything to create a world where women of color would be at the center of all power and agency.
My inspiration ran deep from contemporary trailblazers who bravely surface issues of injustice today, whose shoulders I stand on.
Then there is the actual team that worked on making this book come alive.
And then, of course, there is you, championing it and sharing it. I am grateful and humbled by your support. The book may have my name on its cover, but it’s by and for all of us.