Hi Brown Girl readers! I’m Gabrielle, but my friends and pretty much everyone else calls me Gabbie.
I am definitely the “brown girl” in my family. We’re Indo-Guyanese by ethnicity, but I am the one that feels the closest connection to my Indian roots. My iTunes library is filled with Bollywood hits from the ’70s to the present. I could eat biryani every day for the rest of my life. And, I feel the most beautiful when I’m all dolled up in a lehenga choli for a special occasion, like Eid or a wedding ceremony.
Watching Bollywood movies is one of my favorite past times. Everyone who knows me well is aware that I’m obsessed with the film “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.” It was the first time that I could completely connect with the main characters of a Hindi film so deeply, especially the male lead! Since it inspires my life in many ways. Two years ago, I created a journal decorated with stills and quotes from the movie so that I would always be inspired to write. It happened to be the first journal of which I filled every page.
I am trained in Kathak and Bollywood dance. Within a day after a Bollywood song releases, you can bet I have already listened to it about ten times, memorized the lyrics, and already choreographed it in my head.
While dancing is perhaps my favorite hobby, my ultimate passion is writing. Some people spend their lives looking for their passion – the one thing that gives them the greatest happiness. For me, it fell into my lap the summer before I turned sixteen. Four days after I made the life-changing decision to wear hijab, I sat down on my bed at 11:30 pm and wrote an essay about the journey that led me to that choice. That ended up being my first published piece, and after that, there was no turning back. I fell in love with writing, and now it has become essential to my being.
I met an author a few months ago at a school event, and I told him that I also was a writer. He said, “Do you feel like you HAVE to write? Do you feel physically ill if you don’t?” I nodded my head. “That’s how you know you’re a writer,” he replied.
I have friends from all backgrounds, but my closest friends are South Asian. While we may be a small community on campus, we have a strong presence through our Muslim Students Association and South Asian Students Association. As the current president of the MSA and an emcee for many SASA events on campus, I get to work with some of my best friends to inform and educate the rest of the campus population about the various religions and vibrant cultural customs of South Asia. It is a position I feel privileged to hold.
Here are a few random fun facts about me:
– I love to travel. My favorite place to vacation is Hawaii. I have visited Maui and Oahu twice. One of the things I enjoy doing the most is falling off my surfboard and getting my butt kicked by the waves of Waikiki Beach (or as I like to call it – surfing).
– I am the “advanced eater” in my family. I am a foodie, and I am not ashamed to admit it. Although I love to eat, I’m still working on actually learning how to cook. I’ll keep you updated on that one.
– My favorite color is purple. The walls of my room are purple, the case on my laptop is purple, my umbrella is purple, my pajamas are purple, my notebooks are purple. I even write with purple ink. I’m convinced my blood is probably purple at this point as well.
– I have a blog called the Hijab Diaries, where you can read more of my writing and learn even more about me. If you’d like, please stop by!
Gabrielle Deonath is a full-time college student. She is a contributor to the teen column, “At The Crossroads,” in SISTERS Magazine and the author of the “Hijab Diaries” series on virtualmosque.com. Her dream is to be a journalist and novelist one day. One of her biggest obsessions is Bollywood movies and music. When she’s not in class or following her dream of becoming a writer, she most likely is choreographing a dance to the latest song or watching a new Bollywood movie. To read more, visit her blog at hijabdiaries.com.