Good Indian Girl, Sort Of: Jenny Thakkar
I currently reside in: Chicago, IL
What your favorite hangout in Chicago? My gym and my yoga studio. I have always placed a high value on having an active lifestyle, and I feel really lucky to have found a gym that helps foster a community of like-minded individuals. I have made some of my closest friends through that community. Beyond the gym, I love checking out new restaurants in the neighborhood.
I currently work as an: Supply coordinator by day, moving gasoline and diesel products for a refinery, and a baker on the side.
I do this because: I have been with the same company for over 10 years now, and love it because I am constantly encouraged to grow, learn something new, and as soon as I get comfortable–it is time to move to the next role. The work is continually challenging and exciting.
On the flip side of the chemical engineering role, pursuing baking on the side gives me a chance to exercise the creative side of my brain. I have never been an artist, but I love the process of working with clients to identify what they are looking for in a dessert, researching the ways to create it, making it come to life, and watching the joy it can bring. Whether it’s a unique design or a unique dietary restriction, I love being able to find a way to create a product that brings that happiness to others.
What are some Indian traditions you still follow? No shoes in the house! And valuing family and friends above all else.
Bollywood or Hollywood, and why? I don’t spend a lot of time watching movies, but definitely Hollywood over Bollywood. I have about a 90-minute attention span for movies so that typically rules out all Bollywood films.
Favorite movie? Again, movies fall pretty low on the list, but I can’t resist rewatching the Harry Potter movies whenever they are on, and I have a weak spot for Monsters, Inc.
What’s your favorite thing about Indian culture? I love the emphasis that that is placed on family relationships, but with the note of how broad the definition of family really is. While it can sometimes be tiring to sustain, we are lucky that once a relationship is formed, it is formed for life, and you always have that network to reach out to.
What’s one piece of advice your parents have given you that should probably be or are abiding by? Be kind to everyone, no matter how they treat you. While accepting and embracing this advice has often been challenging, it has stuck and is embedded in who I am and the way that I approach the world.
Good Indian Girl? Maybe? I can’t read or write Gujurati, I am not religious. At the same time, I try to live my life with the spirituality and the values of my family that would be appreciated, and I love to cook (though often with meat so I probably lose some points there, too!).