Sanjit Singh Interview – Growing Up Indian-American

“Are You Indian?”
Jasbina Ahluwalia interviews Sanjit Singh

A few topics Sanjit Singh addresses in this interview are:

  1. (7:41)     Community Pressure to Marry
  2. (11:32)   Indian Parents Focus on Marriage
  3. (14:07)  Bollywood Proposal Gone Wrong!
  4. (16:33)  Is He or She the One?
  5. (21:30)  Indian Community: Dating Advice For You
  6. (23:59)  Dating an Indian Man?

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Sanjit Singh is an entrepreneur, speaker and author. He holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and an undergraduate degree from UC Santa Barbara. He lives in San Diego with his wife, Anita, two dogs, Evi and Colbert and cat, Buff.

He is a contributing writer to the humor blog, Bad Swami, www.badswami.com, and is periodically featured on the Kevin and Bean Afro Line segment on KROQ in Los Angeles. Sanjit has read some of the bestselling books of all time including The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Da Vinci Code, Think and Grow Rich, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Book Summary:  

Are You Indian? A Humorous Guide to Growing up Indian in America, Sanjit Singh attempts to lampoon all aspects of and characters related to the experience of growing up Indian in America including Indian Uncles, Indian Aunties, spelling bees, Indian careers, FOBs, ABCDs, online Indian marriage ads, Indian desserts, American yoga teachers and more! It is the first book of its kind.

Singh grew up as an incredibly awkward youth, trying to reconcile his Indian heritage with the America that surrounded him. “Are You Indian? A Humorous Guide to Growing up Indian in America,” is a funny, irreverent story of his journey.

From his lively discussions on Indian Aunties to his meditations on American yoga teachers, Singh explores the Indian experience from all directions. Are You Indian? is the story of the Indian American experience told through a fresh new voice in comedy.

Book Review: YouTube video

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Jasbina Ahluwalia

(5:36):  Hello everyone and welcome to Intersections Match’s Talk Radio, a monthly holistic lifestyle show focused on the continual evolution into the best versions of our authentic selves. This is Jasbina, your host. I’m the Founder of Intersections Match, the only national matchmaking and dating coaching company focused on South Asian singles in the US.

I’m very excited to welcome Sanjit Singh, an entrepreneur, speaker and author. His book, Are You Indian? A Humorous Guide to Growing up Indian in America, is laugh-out-loud funny. I enjoyed the book so much that we invited Sanjit to guest blog. You can check out more of his work on our blog.

As a special treat to our listeners, I thought I’d take the opportunity to pick the brain of a second-generation Indian guy raised in the States regarding dating and relationships as well as to seek some entertaining stories to start the year off. The fact that Sanjit is now a happily married guy makes his perspective especially valuable for our commitment-minded listeners. Welcome, Sanjit.

 

Sanjit Singh

(6:43): Hi, how are you?

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(6:57): I’m doing well. What lead you to write this book?

 

Sanjit Singh

(7:03): It was a couple of things.

  1. I’ve long been obsessed with humor. As a child, I watched stand-up comedians and read other comics’ work. That was one side of it.
  2. The other side was cultural. I’m someone who was always fascinated with this interplay between American culture, Indian culture and all of the funny stuff that happened in between those cultures.

I think those are the primary things that eventually caused me to look back on my childhood and say, “There is a story to be told.”

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Jasbina Ahluwalia

Community Pressure to Marry

(7:41): Those listeners who have heard me speak or in person have likely heard the refrain that I like to mention that I feel that many Indian Americans experience growing up.

That is, “Don’t date. Don’t date. Don’t date. Okay, now get married.”

Your Finding a Mate chapter begins with the words, “Your parents will instantaneously switch from telling you that you cannot date to you must now mate.”

That really resonated.

What are the ways, in your opinion, that Indian parents may make it harder for their kids to find life partners?

 

Sanjit Singh

(8:26) I think you hit on one of them that was in the book.

I found that to be a funny switch. “You cannot date. Now you must mate.” It’s such an abrupt change.

Elaborating on Community Pressure to Marry.

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Jasbina Ahluwalia

Indian Parents Focus on Marriage

(11:32): What is your advice for Indian parents who want to make it easier for their kids to find life partners?

Maybe they don’t realize that there are situations where they are making it harder and they do want to make it easier.

Do you have any suggestions or advice? This is for an auntie who is sensitive to the whole situation. What might you say to her?

 

Sanjit Singh

(12:04): Would this be advice to aunties and uncles in general?

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(12:05): Yes. There are some of the issues that you’ve touched on in situations where they may make it more difficult for their kids to find life partners.

I’m personally dealing with the people that I’m matching, but often, their parents make a line of inquiry for me as well.

Is there any advice or suggestions that you might have for an Indian parent? They might say, “Okay, I hear you on that. I’m not going to be the Pitbull Auntie.”

What might you say to them?

 

Sanjit Singh

(12:51): On a more serious note, I was mentioning earlier that they may be inflexible.

I think it’s fine to stay involved with the process and give some general guidelines and advice based on your life experience. I think your kids want to hear that.

Elaborating on Indian Parents Focus on Marriage.

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Jasbina Ahluwalia

Bollywood Proposal Gone Wrong!

(14:07): Tell us your story. What lead you to your life partner? I know you’re happily married. Tell us about that.

 

Sanjit Singh

(14:23): We met in 1999 on the internet. This was when online dating on the internet was very young.

There was a lot of stigma attached to it. I don’t even remember the name of the website. It’s probably not in existence anymore.

It was an Indian matrimonial dating site. I was dating people that I’d met when I was living in LA. I went on there out of curiosity more than anything else. Almost right away, I met Anita. We have been married for 13 years now.

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(14:59): Congratulations.

 

Sanjit Singh

(15:03): Thank you. We dated for a few months and I was planning on asking her to marry me. I remember her saying more than once that she had this secret dream that the guy who married her would propose to her in a meadow.

There would be Bollywood singing and dancing. She was joking, of course.

Elaborating on Bollywood Proposal Gone Wrong!

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Is He or She the One?

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(16:33): That is great. I love that. We have some male listeners who might be taking notes. What was it that lead you to this realization that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with your wife? What lead to that proposal on your end?

 

Is She the One?

(17:06): It’s a funny thing. It was a slow realization in my case and for other people that I’ve talked to. It wasn’t right away.

It was a great friendship. We really liked each other. Slowly, this realization came over us.

Elaborating on Is He or She the One?

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Jasbina Ahluwalia

Indian Community: Dating Advice For You

(21:03): Given your experiences, what guidance would you give to Indian women in the dating trenches?

If a platonic friend asked you, “Do you have any advice for me?” what might it be?

 

Sanjit Singh

(21:31): It’s hard for me. I’ve been out of the dating scene for a while. I didn’t face the same issues that I think women face.

From what I hear, women in general are always trying to figure out in their head, “How serious is this guy? What is his level of commitment? Is this going anywhere?”

Elaborating on Indian Community: Dating Advice For You.

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Dating an Indian Man?

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(23:59) That is a really good point with respect to the culture.

For our non-Indian listeners, do you have any advice for non-Indian women who find themselves interested in an Indian guy?

Do you have any suggestions or guidance for them?

 

Sanjit Singh

(24:23) I think it can be a tricky position.

I’ve seen a lot of Indian guys, like my brother, who started dating an American girl. He was very serious about her. He married her. They have two kids today. They’ve been married for almost 20 years now.

Elaborating on Dating an Indian Man?

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Jasbina Ahluwalia

(25:40): That is wise. You made a good point there. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us, Sanjit.

Do you have a take-home message that you’d like to leave our listeners with?

 

Sanjit Singh

(25:56): In terms of dating, I want to emphasize for people to find their best friend. That’s what marriage is more than anything else.

Date them long enough to learn how they deal with conflict and how you manage conflict together. That’s a huge part of having a successful relationship.

Find out what their dreams are. Find out what they want out of life.

If everything is compatible, it is great to move forward and help each other make your dreams come true and live the life that you both envision.

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(26:34): Absolutely. I want to thank you again, Sanjit. The book itself is, Are You Indian? A Humorous Guide to Growing up Indian in America. Is there a website that you’d like to share with our listeners?

 

Sanjit Singh

(26:53): The place that I blog, and where you can find my Twitter stream, is BadSwami.com. My nom de plume is Bad Swami.

There, people can click through my site to Amazon and other places to buy the book in whatever format they want. They can read blog posts, see funny videos and keep up with my next project.

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(27:21): Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure. Again, the book was hilarious. Thank you for that.

 

Sanjit Singh

(27:27): I’m glad you enjoyed it.

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(27:32): In case you joined us late or would like to share this show with people in your life, I’d like to remind you that today’s show will be archived and available as a podcast on Intersections Match’s website, which is www.IntersectionsMatch.com. I can be reached at jasbina@intersectionsmatch.com.

I appreciate you hanging out with us. Email me with topics that you’d like discussed in future shows. Make sure to join us for next month’s show. Take care, everyone.

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