As a doctor, I know the implications of too much screen time. In this era of the great Google, don't
we all? Yet, I confess I have a pretty serious crush on The Mindy Project. Having grown up when few people of color were featured on any major station and the only Indian character was an incredibly reductionist one, Apu on The Simpsons, I nearly jumped through the screen the first time a friend showed me an episode of Mindy Kaling's brilliant sitcom.
An intelligent, irreverent, hilarious, lead WOC actress of Indian heritage, who plays a skilled physician and is also the creator/writer of the show? Get out! Having been the cardiologist's daughter, so much so that it became the title of my first book, it took me decades to pursue anything medical. I couldn't help but wonder if I had been introduced to this kind of a scenario from a young age, would it have taken me so long to arrive at medicine myself? I know. I know, I am the daughter of a doctor (one who immigrated to the U.S. with the equivalent of $8 in his pocket and a residency, the subsequent requirements of returning to medical training even though he was a practicing physician in Kerala, India), but there is something about seeing a powerful female, POC doctor in media.
So although I rarely write persona poems, I felt compelled to lean into the character of Mindy Lahiri. And what do you know? It spoke to others, too, so much so that it was announced as a finalist today in the 2017 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize Contest at LA's Cultural Weekly. Please make my day and give my poem, "We have all been that woman at the bottom of the pool" a read, a like, a share or two, if it tickles you, too. With thanks to Mindy Kaling!
Natasha Kochicheril Moni is a writer and a licensed naturopath in WA State. Enjoying this blog? Feel free to put a little coffee in Natasha's cup, right here.