As a documentary fellow at the SFA, I produced a short documentary about a Taco shop located in Oxford, Mississippi. Run by a man of Mexican heritage, the Taco Shop has been serving tacos to Oxford residents for almost 20 years at what is considered by a number of locals "the most integrated space" in this historic Southern city where values of Confederacy still hold strong, as evident from the Confederate flags, stickers and monuments visible inside and on the outskirts of the city. I intend to explore the aspects of the Latino food culture and how it shapes families and communities in the region, the challenges of running a business rooted in the Mexican culture in a historic Southern city and whether food may be the one factor that bridges the gap between different cultures here, especially in the current political rhetoric in the United States.
Leaving home: the 'untouchable' dream
The Dalit community falls in the lower tier of the hierarchical caste system that still prevails in the once-Hindu Kingdom of Nepal. The Dalits, who were considered “untouchable” in the past, have been oppressed for generations, be it religiously, socially or economically, and were primarily responsible for lowly jobs. Families in these communities struggled to make ends meet, and the situation for their descendants—though much better than it historically was—still isn’t satisfactory. Many Dalit men leave Nepal and go to India or the Gulf nations with hopes of breaking the cycle of poverty that has plagued these vulnerable communities for decades. For many of these families, foreign employment is the only hope for a better, a secured future. This story follows the story of one such hopeful migrant worker, Raj Kumar Sada. Raj Kumar Sada, 42, a dalit who lives in Mahendranagar, Dhanusha, claimed to have paid 1.5 lakhs in 2013 to his local agent for a job in Qatar which promised higher wages on paper than in reality and was returned to Nepal before his contract expired, reasons for which he still doesn't know. For the past year, he frequents the agent who promises to fly him out in the next few days every time they meet; a year later, those promises are still made but nothing actually happens. Already under a debt of more than two lakhs and with eight mouths to feed, only Sada knows how he's barely managing to keep his family alive.
Barun + Smriti
The becoming one of two, declaring their forever love to each other. Documenting one of the most important days of two of my friends, the day they promised to be with each other for the rest of the journey. A celebration of love with friends and family!
Friends of the Café
Proceeds from Friends of the Cafe, Stir the Pot, and Piggy Bank suppers support the documentary work of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Produced this video review in collaboration with Victoria De Leone of a fundraiser held for the SFA at the Alabama Chanin in Florence, Ala.
'This is what democracy looks like' - Boston protests for Eric Garner; echoes 'Black Lives Matter'
Sights and sounds during the Boston protest: More than three thousand Bostonians marched on the streets of Boston on Thursday night,Dec. 5, 2014, in protest of a New York grand jury’s decision to not indict Daniel Pantaleo, a white male police officer whose chokehold on an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, led to Garner’s to death in Staten Island in July. The protest was a true account of the 'Freedom of expression' phrase that we hear so much. It was, in all sense, a very exhilarating experience and a powerful display of solidarity as people of all races and all ages, from eight year olds to high school teenagers to college students and young activists to professionals and older men and women, expressed themselves; all bound by one cause - humanity. One of my favorite echoes from the night actually sums up the whole experience - "Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like." #AllLivesMatter