Good Indian Girl, Sort Of: Meghan Shah


What’s your name? Meghan Shah

Where do you live? Bay Area (Northern California)

What your favorite hangout in the Bay Area (pre-COVID)?  There is so much to do here!  When the world was open, I loved attending concerts at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, shows at the Curran, post-work happy hours at Revel in Danville, Friday dinners in SF – Rooh, August 1 Five, Mister Jiu’s, R&J Lounge, etc., and on the weekends, a day trip to Napa or Sonoma always gives me life. With the kiddos, we loved visiting Cal Academy of Sciences, Lindsay Wildlife Center, and Oakland Zoo, or taking a road trip to Santa Cruz or Half Moon Bay. Given that we are now SIP, our front porch is the new hangout spot, sushi take-out from Akira Bistro with wine delivered from K&L or Total Wine.

What type of work do you do? Advisor/Chief of Staff

I spent the majority of my career in marketing, so this role, coupled with my MBA, is a great pivot into the next stage of my career moving into strategy and planning.  The role provides the opportunity to manage projects that have broad visibility amongst leadership and to flex my skills as an integrator bringing together cross-functional workstreams; executive communications support; and as a visionary providing strategic consultancy to support the needs of the organization.

What are some Indian traditions you still follow?  I’m Konkani and my husband is Gujrathi, and as practicing Hindus we celebrate the major holidays relevant to our families—Dhantheras, Diwali, Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Ram Navmi, and Navrathri to name a few. For the holidays, we dress up in traditional clothing, making traditional food, and taking part in the relevant religious ceremonies. When the world was open, we’d visit the local temple in Livermore to pay our respects/get blessings on such holidays. Our kids have traditional Indian names, and we did naming ceremonies (Naamkaraan) and the first rice ceremony (Annaprashan) for each of them. We also take shoes off in the house and refrain from stepping on books, paper, etc.

Bollywood or Hollywood, and why? Both. If the story draws me in and I identify with the characters on screen, I’ll watch it regardless of the originating culture.

Favorite movie? So many, especially since we’ve been in quarantine, we’ve watched a lot. This year, the new(er) movies I have enjoyed included The Sky is Pink, Dil Bechara, The Photograph, Queen and Slim, and The Lovebirds.  Other favorites – Love Jones, The Best Man, Monsoon Wedding, Dil Chatha Hai, and Black Panther.

What’s your favorite thing about Indian culture? I love how immensely vast and versatile Indian culture is due to its religious and cultural diversity. Each state/region of India has its own language, food, and style, so no visit is ever the same; and this is also reflected in the Indian diaspora around the world. I’m also really proud of the younger generations of South Asian kids on how vocal they are about social justice and equality, inspiring many of us to be part of the change. Hopefully, this will change the patriarchal culture and colonized mindset that has plagued us for so long.

What’s one piece of advice your parents have given you that should probably be or are abiding by? There is so much advice, and as an adult, I’m thankful for it.  Two that stick – (1) always make your bed in the morning and (2) the decisions you make are yours, so decide accordingly.

Good Indian Girl? This is a hard one, because how do you define what a “Good Indian Girl” is?  Some days sure, other days when I have had too much wine, probably not. I think as long as you are being your most authentic self, practice honesty and kindness, and if you ‘mess up’, you own it, apologize, and work to do better, then you are a “good Indian girl.” 

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