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Curry Remixed

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The woman next to me at the Vietnamese stand sent her food back because there was no curry powder in the curry. I wanted to say, I never put curry powder in my curry. I know nothing about making Vietnamese curry. In my curry, I use fresh garlic and ginger, cumin powder, and a dash of cinnamon. Curry powder in curry reminds me of college, where we used potent spices to overpower college budget food—pasta bought on Safeway sale, yellow kale, ramen noodles, and canned tomatoes. I almost told the woman about how I learned to cook curry from my mother who recorded the recipe from my grandmother. I wanted to explain that how I feel influences the way I cook, unlike my mother who follows the recipe with measured precision. But I didn’t say any of this. I sipped my pho enjoying the lime and cilantro—the perfect blend.

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How Palestinian Women Defy Israel’s Occupation


From mothering a child to mourning one, three women share stories of steadfastness and resistance.

Susan Rahman, Tara Dorabji |

Lidia Rimawi wanted a son. But her husband is a political prisoner, serving a 25-year sentence in an Israeli prison, and will be 50 before he’s released.

So she did the only thing she could think of under the circumstances: She smuggled his sperm out of the prison.

Thirty-seven-year-old Lidia lives in Beit Rima outside the village of Nabih Saleh in the occupied West Bank. It is the site of regular Friday vigils and Lidia sometimes brings her son, a round-faced boy with a shock of black hair. For her family, the birth of Majd and his daily growth is an act of liberation. Despite the odds, Lidia’s family continues to grow.

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The Last Sip



Priya had imagined that on her business trip to San Francisco, she would take a photo by the Golden Gate Bridge and go to a strip club in Chinatown. One of her housemates back in college swore by the Chinatown strip club and the dim sum next door. Priya thought that seeing the almost naked women, with all those men watching, might bite back the depression that sucked her sex drive away. Priya wanted to be wanted.

But instead of going to the strip club, Priya spent her afternoon off at the Palo Alto IKEA, contemplating what piece of flimsy furniture might better hold her files. Any purchase over $50 would be shipped back to her condo in Boston for free. She found a blonde side-by-side cabinet that would be perfect for Rico and her. Priya handled everything at their house—she paid the bills, coordinated luncheons with Rico’s parents, and even set his outfits out while he showered in the mornings. On the subway ride home every night, she texted him to see where to order take out from.

The alarm sounded on her phone. It was 8:00 p.m. back home, time for Rico to take his vitamins. She sent a quick text, reminding him, added a heart, and bought the IKEA files before heading back to the convention.

Priya’s contract with Takeda Pharma brought her to the convention in San Francisco. Well they’d called it San Francisco, but really it was the Crowne Plaza in San Mateo.

The dinners at these things were the worst. So many white men with knuckle hair, bad breath, and drooping earlobes. Priya wondered if these were prerequisites for management. Chuck was the youngest at her table. As if the inspirational speakers were not painful enough, they assigned seats, forcing Priya to endure the same tiresome conversation for three consecutive nights. At least Chuck flirted with her shamelessly. His uninhibited interest in Priya made his oafishness cute.

Priya and Chuck were the only two that were unbanded. But what Chuck did not know, what almost no one knew, was that Priya was married.

The silk dress that Priya wore to the convention dinner showed the curve of her shoulder blades and exposed her back. When Chuck leaned in she thought he might see the top of her nipple. What was there to see anyway? Priya was no more than an ironing board—thin and flat-chested. The dress did its part in concealing the dark spot over her heart—a brand left from working as an executive in the advertising industry for the last three years. It was long enough to get her salary into the six-figure range—earning enough money to put her sister through grad school and pay for her Grandmother’s knee surgery back in Mumbai.

Chuck grew bold as the talk on leadership continued. He’d made a special point of standing up and pulling out the chair next to him for Priya to sit in when she arrived at dinner. Priya wasn’t used to this type of attention. In high school, her beak of a nose and complete lack of breasts made her invisible to boys. She was one of those goodie-two shoes, never in trouble, always at the top of her class.

Something changed when she got to college. Men noticed her.

The speaker at the convention was some CEO who looked like an overdrawn Bill Clinton, wearing a bow tie. His claim was that what made a great leader was the first follower. “A leader without a follower was no more than a crazy person,” the speaker said, showing a slide of a man dancing by himself without a shirt.

Priya knew that advertising wasn’t about leadership; it was about manipulation. The truth didn’t matter if people followed along.

Chuck picked at his gums with a toothpick then put his arm around the back of Priya’s chair. His fingertips touched her bare skin.

He bought her wine from the bar. On the third glass, he put his hand on her thigh and squeezed, pushing up just enough so that she knew where he was going. Priya could have swatted him away. Instead, she pressed her legs together, but that only made the throbbing in her clit stronger. It was a sensation she thought was lost. She thought of her husband, Rico: usually thinking of Rico would be enough to kill the moment.

She’d met Rico in college. He was the tawny type that stuttered when they first spoke. They didn’t start dating until a year after she graduated college. They had the same circle of friends, or rather Rico was on the inside of the circle that Priya shuffled around. He brought her to fancy dinners, packed wine and cheese picnics, and took her to the coast. When they were together, Priya’s afternoons and nights were all accounted for— gallery openings, parties, boating, and vacations.

The first time she had sex with Rico was thrilling with newness, despite his awkwardness. Rico lost the condom inside of her. He hadn’t known he had to hold onto it when he pulled out.

Priya took the morning after pill and then got shot up with Depo-Provera. Still, she didn’t let Rico cum inside of her. At twenty-four, there was no way she was going to get pregnant.

When Priya moved in with Rico, the nightmares from back home still gripped her sleep. Priya got a cat that bit his back bald and she started antidepressants. The yellow pills took her dreams away.


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 [ Purchase Issue 5 ]

If you’d like to read Dorabji’s full story,
please purchase your copy of TAYO Five today:

Corvus Magazine

issue 5

Issue Five features cover art by Olivia Boa, and great new writing from Tara Dorabji, Lauren Perez, Jackson Burgess, Margaret Mary Riley, Jonathan Bond, Katherine Garrigan, Mark Goad, Johanna Miklós, Gillian Walters, Vanessa Vitiello, and Valerie Z Lewis.

Read issue 5, including Reformed Mama Players by Tara Dorabji

I see you. It takes one to know one. Reformed Mama players, we are a small tribe. They say, Once a player, always a player. But we know better. You and me. We don’t have time for the drama. No energy to waste. Even so, sometimes the heat of the moment might tempt you, and you’ll be reaching to try on those old player shoes. But you know being a player has nothing to do with what you wear. It’s who you are.

So here they are—the top five ways to make sure not to get any play. I mean it none. Not the, I thought I didn’t want it, but then. Or the, we just started as friends. Or even the, I know I’ll never see him again. At the end of the day, even if you thought you wanted it, you know it’s not what you need. Not getting play is a battle we win every day.

Click here to read the rest, free and online:
Corvus issue 5

Censored 2013

Dispatches From the Media Revolution by Mickey Huff, Andy Lee Roth, and Project Censored sheds light on the most censored stories of 2012. Censored 2013 includes the chapter, Indian-Administered Kashmir: An Occupation of Truth, written by Tara Dorabji.

Join editors Mickey Huff and Andy Roth and contributors including Tara Dorabji, Adam Bessie, Ken Burrows and more at a book release party for Censored 2013:

Saturday, December 1
7:00 pm social hour including wine, beer, and appetizers
8:00 pm program
at Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art, and Politics
99 6th Street, in Santa Rosa, CA
$15 suggested donations, no one turned away for lack of funds

See the video from the Nov 3 book release party at Moe’s Books

Listen to interviews with contributors of Censored 2013 on KPFA’s Morning Mix. Guests include: Elliot Cohen, Susan Rahman, Kenn Burrows, Adam Bessie, Almerindo Ojeda, Tara Dorabji, and Sarah van Gelder.

Listen here:

Order your copy of Censored 2013 right here.

The Law of Nature

Published in the Indian Review

By Tara Dorabji

The hunger in his eyes was unquenchable. With effort she pushed back against her own desire. “Not today Babak, really we mustn’t be doing this here.” If it were London they could, but sitting here along the sea wall in Bombay, it was simply improper to show such displays of affection. Even worse, Babak was not Parsi. “I have a terrible headache and this terrible cramping,” Tanaz said.

Each monthly cycle was both a delight and a sorrow. She missed the rhythm for five weeks and feared that again she was in trouble. Today her world balanced out when she saw the familiar red stain on her sheets. Her body decided not to betray her, to tease her with the possibility of a child. Now that she was with Babak, she would have to get the pill on her next trip to London. Bombay was so backwards. Even though the pill was legalized in London in 1961, some eight year later, it was still terribly difficult to get in Bombay.

She felt Babak’s hand on the side of her neck. Her body proved impervious to his caress. “What is it?” Babak asked. She could detect a note of anger brewing. His hands moved across her knowing how to move around the trap of her words, unfurling her desire, until she was putty in his hand.

Read full story here: Indian Review

Kashmir: the Untold Story of Indian Occupation

Kashmir: the Untold Story of Indian Occupation, Tara Dorabji, Project Censored Blog, 2011

A few days before I left for India, American journalist, David Barsamian, was deported from New Delhi for his coverage of Kashmir. Barsamian reports for AlterNet one of the few national free speech radio outlets in the US. News reports quoted officials saying that his deportation resulted from his reporting on Kashmir during his 2009-10 trip to India, while on a tourist visa. If reporting the truth in Kashmir can get you deported, I was in danger.

On my first day in Srinagar, the local head of surveillance let me know he was fully aware of my arrival. It was a discreet enough interaction, but served its purpose: I was being watched. My threat? A pen and paper to record the stories of Kashmiris.

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