The Road to Tokyo 2020: In Conversation with Olympic Hopeful Akash Modi

Akash Modi is a prodigal child of every desi parent’s dreams: he’s a scholar AND a world-ranked athlete. Not only is he currently pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, but he is also a world-class elite artistic gymnast who has his eyes set on making the U.S. men’s gymnastics Olympics team at Tokyo 2020.

After facing disappointment by being selected an alternate for the Rio Olympics in 2016, there is a good chance Modi will get a second chance at achieving his goal of winning an Olympic medal, as he placed third all-around at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Kansas City last month.

Modi is currently training in Colorado Springs, CO for the World Team Selection Camp happening later this week, where a successful performance will allow him to earn a spot on the US national team to compete in Stuttgart, Germany in October.

We got the chance to talk with Modi during his busy practice schedule, and here’s what he had to say about representing the desi community in the gymnastics world, and preparing for the 2020 Olympics.

Tell us about your family background and history with gymnastics. How did you get into the sport?

I grew up with my parents and sister, who have been super supportive of my gymnastics career from the beginning. I started gymnastics in October 2001 — actually, my parents got a coupon for a month free at the gym and thought, ‘Why not?’ So I ended up going and I liked it from the beginning.

The coach thought I was good and so, gymnastics eventually turned into something more for me. In fact, a year or two after I started, I found out that my cousin Raj Bhavsar was also an elite gymnast (who has two skills named after him!) and was an alternate at the 2004 Olympics. Realizing that my cousin was that good pushed me to continue gymnastics as well — I thought, ‘if he could do it, why can’t I?’

When did you realize that you had the skills to reach the Olympics and when did you know you wanted to compete at the Olympics?

Well, every kid in gymnastics starts out thinking they want to go to the Olympics, so I knew I wanted to compete at the Olympics pretty much since I started. But it was in 2011 at Junior Nationals where I ended up getting second because I had a good meet and I realized that I was up there. Every since then, I have become more confident in myself and push myself to be closer to the top guys in the world.

What keeps you motivated?

I just love gymnastics and I enjoy every minute I’m in the gym, even when I’m complaining and everything hurts. I’m going to make the most of the opportunities that I have. Men’s gymnastics is just getting harder and harder to the point where you need hard routines, so the average age of the Olympic gymnast is going up and up every year. I’m 24 and in the middle of the pack in terms of age, but the US team overall is definitely on the older side compared to other countries. I’m just trying to keep up with the other guys that are the competition.

Who are your role models, both in life and in sports?

I try to follow Raj’s path the most, but I pull from everyone else who surrounds me. I try to pull qualities from my mom, dad, sister, and my teammates at Stanford. I look at what they did right and try to follow them in everything that I do.

You’re graduating from Stanford with a master’s in mechanical engineering. How did you balance gymnastics with your education?

I’m graduating with a master’s degree in December after completing two more classes in the coming quarter. For me, gymnastics and my education go hand in hand actually – I struggle to just do gymnastics because my mind gets too focused on it, so I need something to get my mind off of it. In fact, since I wasn’t in school this summer, I got into cooking. I always need something else to do to not think about the stress and the gym. Getting my master’s is actually a nice thing because I’m taking classes that I enjoy so it’s been fun.

Apart from being an Olympian, what are your career goals?

I still don’t have a strong answer, but definitely something in the mechanical engineering field. I’m only 24 and not really thinking about the future right now, even though people always asking me what I’m planning on doing next!

How do you want to be remembered in the sport of gymnastics? What do you think you would add to the US Olympic team?

I want to be remembered the guy you can always count on — you can put him up and he’s always going to do a solid routine for you, no matter what.

One of my strongest traits is that I get nervous but I’m good at hiding it. I did a lot of deep breathing and yoga with my mom at home so I’m good at getting my heart rate down very quickly so I don’t let my nerves get the best of me. At worlds last year, I had never experienced nerves like I did there, but I was still able to remain calm. So being able to bring the general nervousness of the team down would be good (along with great gymnastics, of course).

Describe your current daily routine. What goes into preparing for the Olympics?

During the school year, I wake up around 7:45 a.m. I do about 5-15 minutes of meditation and then eat breakfast, which consists of 6 eggs. I am a vegetarian and need a high protein diet, so I do this everyday. I then go to gym at 9 a.m. and practice my skills until 11-11:30 a.m. I try to get the bulk of what I need to practice done during this time. Next is lunch, followed by class. I then go back to the gym around 3-3:30 p.m. to finish up whatever I didn’t get done in the morning. I eat dinner at 6 p.m., do my schoolwork if I have any or play video games, and then head to sleep around 10:30-11 p.m.

The road to Tokyo is an intense one. The World Championships Selection Camp is this week, and I need to make the team in order to compete in Stuttgart in October. My mindset for now is to just do well this week and in October if I make the team. October to December is the last time that we have to work on new skills, add new skills to our routines and make them harder. As a team, the US is lacking in difficulty of routines so there’s been a push by the USA Gymnastics organization for us to add new skills to our routines to compete with Russia, China, Japan.

In February, there is the Winter Cup Nationals, which is another national competition. This is the first stepping stone towards the Olympics. US Nationals are in June and that’s where official Olympics trials start. Three weeks after that are the actual Olympic trials, where the team will be narrowed to four guys who will compete in Tokyo.

I’ve added a few things to my routines over the past year to prepare for the Olympics. I have 3 new upgrades I’m looking to add on the floor exercise, vault, and parallel bars. They’ve all been very close but not ready. I think I’m going to focus on vault the most because our national team seems to be the weakest in that event.

How does it feel to represent the South Asian community in gymnastics? On the other hand, have you ever faced any teasing or questioning from people in the South Asian community for pursuing gymnastics at the elite level?

I’ve never really thought about how much of an impact I’m going to make in the community. Growing up, it was just my friends making comments about how good I am at gymnastics and how I was the only Indian kid they knew doing it. Over the past few years, I’ve seen an uptick in the number of Indian kids doing gymnastics and making junior national teams who have the potential to do great in the future. Their parents come up to me and say that I’ve been a great inspiration, which is kind of weird because I just felt like I was an Indian kid doing what I love and now I get to be a role model. I feel like I’m passing on the torch that Raj gave to me because we’re pretty underrepresented here in the gymnastics community.

You know, it’s typical of Indian parents to question why I don’t have a job yet and I feel that pressure, but at the end of the day, I’m doing what I want to do. I’m getting a master’s degree from Stanford and I have the rest of my life to figure things out. I’m not too worried about that stuff right now. My dad just told me that when I was growing up, he just dreamt of me going to MIT and joining their club gymnastics team, but since I got better, he actually thought I could get a scholarship and go to Stanford or something! My parents also get the benefit of me being a gymnast by getting to travel and seeing me compete at these meets, so I’m just really happy to have their support, especially through all the sacrifices they have made for me to get to where I am.

What advice do you have for someone looking to get into elite gymnastics?

My philosophy that I take in every day is that I try to improve on something every single day. So if I’m having a bad day in the gym and can’t do something difficult, I’ll focus on something small, like my toe point. Doing one positive thing every day for the past 18 years definitely adds up, which has helped me to get to where I am.

I feel like Indian kids have the pressure of their parents and Indian community to be perfect and achieve a certain standard, making it hard to keep positive. It’s all about the mindset — you have to try to find something positive out of every day.


Songs on your current hype-up playlist:

I’m not much of a music guy. I do more video game stuff before a competition to get my hands warm and get me thinking. My favorite video game is Super Metroid — it’s a video game from 1994! I also love any Mario game.

Go-to Taco Bell order:

I like to get something different every time, but the #1 item is the Crunchwrap for sure.

Thoughts on Simone Biles:

She’s insane and she’s one of the best gymnasts of all time, no doubt. And she’s super nice, too!

Other Hobbies:

I like to ride my bike around Stanford so I can enjoy the outdoors, move around, and explore the campus and surrounding area.

Modi is certainly one to watch as the U.S. Men’s Gymnastics team selection process continues for Tokyo 2020. We can’t wait to see what incredible things he does next.

By Tina Lapsia

Tina Lapsia is an attorney working and living in NYC. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law … Read more ›

Wyatt Feegrado Talks Upbringing, Comedic Style, and his new Amazon Special

Wyatt Feegrado
Wyatt Feegrado

Wyatt Feegrado is a comedian and content creator from Walnut Creek, San Francisco, California. Feegrado moved to New York City to attend the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Feegrado always wanted to be a comedian and grew up watching “The Last Comic Standing” with his mom — his favorites being Alingon Mitra and Sammy Obeid. In 2020, Feegrado starred in the TV show “Bettor Days,” on Hulu and ESPN+, as the character Vinnie bets on the baseball team The Astros and wins big. Feegrado also has a podcast called “First World Problematic,” along with Vishal Kal and Surbhi, where they talk about a range of topics such as racism, sexism, and homophobia, and will be dropping an “Indian Matchmaking” Reunion show. Currently, in Bangalore, Feegrado is performing his first show in India, at the Courtyard in Bangalore. He was previously on tour in the United States. He recently dropped the Amazon comedy special “Wyatt Feegrado: De-Assimilate.” Continue reading to learn more about Wyatt Feegrado.

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Do you feel that your upbringing in Walnut Creek and your personal experiences are what molded your comedic style?

Walnut Creek, for people who have never been there, is frankly a very white place. I must’ve been one of four or five Indian kids in my high school of 2000. I think growing up like that, you begin to believe that it’s a bit ‘odd’ that you’re brown. Part of finding my comedic voice was changing that perspective to say; it’s not weird that I’m brown, it’s weird that you’re not. That’s the paradigm shift — I don’t move through the world trying to impress people, why should I? Who are they? They should be trying to impress me.

What was it like attending the Tisch School Of The Arts and what classes helped shape you as a person?

I hope I don’t get too much flack for this…but I don’t really think that NYU helped my career very much. Being in New York helped me immensely, it raised the ceiling on what I could achieve. I really appreciate NYU’s approach, they teach art as a fundamentally collaborative discipline, which I do believe it is. However, that’s just not how I learn. I’m a competitive person, I want to be pitted against my fellow students and prove I’m the best. That motivates me. I would say, if you want to use NYU or any art school to your advantage, understand that classes are only half of what you’re supposed to be doing. That was a pet peeve of mine, I used to see my fellow students finish class and simply go home. That’s not the way to do it in this industry. Every day, after school, I used to go to two or three open mics, send in self-taped auditions, and make opportunities of my own. You’re betting on yourself — so go all in.

What was the process of creating the comedy special “Wyatt Feegrado: De-Assimilate?”

In terms of writing the jokes, it’s the culmination of studying joke writing for 10 years. But I was approached with the opportunity in March or so, and I had my reservations to even tape a special — I’m a perfectionist so I wanted all my jokes to be some of the best ever written. But that’s just a bad strategy in terms of trying to make it in life. When an opportunity falls in your lap, you have to take it no matter what. Worry about whether you’re ready later. One time I was cast in a commercial for Facebook that required me to do skateboard tricks. I lied and said I knew how to do skateboard tricks at the casting call. I landed the commercial and then started practicing how to skateboard. I think the most important lesson in comedy you can learn is how to believe in yourself when nobody else does. I always have the confidence that I will rise to the occasion.

What was it like getting your special on Amazon Prime?

So Four by Three, the amazing production company that produced my special, has a very good relationship with Amazon, as they’ve produced a lot of content for their platform. They handled distribution for me, and together we made the strategic decision to also release De-Assimilate on YouTube. I think because of the over-saturation of streaming services you have to pay for, combined with the renaissance YouTube is having, where a lot of the content will have TV-level production value, more and more young people are turning to YouTube as their primary source of content. People are always asking who is going to win the “streaming wars.” My dark horse candidate is YouTube.

As a comedian how do you deal with hecklers?

So many comedians are mean to hecklers. I hate that. There’s no reason for that. They’re a person too and it’s not right to berate them unless they truly insulted you first. In my opinion, there are three types of hecklers — the heckler who is just too drunk, the heckler who thinks they’re helping the show, and the heckler who actually hates you or thinks you’re unfunny. I think only the latter deserves to be berated. The rest of them I try to work around, and tell them they’re interrupting the show in a way that doesn’t interrupt the show in itself.

What was the first joke you ever wrote and your favorite joke you have ever written?

Oh god this is going to be horrible. The first joke I every wrote was:

“Shawn White is a professional snowboarder, but a lot of people don’t know he is also very skilled in Curling, his hair”

That is so bad. I’m embarrassed. At least it disproves the BS some people say that “funny isn’t learnable.” That is NOT TRUE. What they mean is the infrastructure for funny scant exists. There’s no Standup Comedy Major in Art Schools or Textbooks that teach joke writing. There will be one day, but for now there isn’t.

My favorite jokes I write are jokes that I really think encapsulates the zeitgeist. My favorites on the special are the joke about how Jesus’ Disciples are Brown, and how the Vaccine is the first time anyone in the US has gotten healthcare for free.

Are there any jokes that you regret telling in front of an audience?

Of course. Referring back to my answer to the first question, any joke that has the underlying presumption that it is ‘odd’ to be brown — which is a genre of jokes that many Indian-American comedians in history have been pigeonholed into — I regret saying those type of jokes when I first started. Now I do the opposite. Sometimes I’ll do a joke about how Jesus was brown in Texas just to piss them off.

What has been your favorite project to work on?

Flying to Nashville to shoot Bettor Days for ESPN+ was great. I was just out of school at the time so it felt amazing to make money, travel, and work. Also the sets were fun and I’m still friends with the cast. And then getting to see myself on TV for the first time — thrilling.

Can you tell us more about your podcast First World Problematic?

Yes! First World Problematic is the comedy podcast I host with Vishal Kal — yes the same one that broke Nadia’s heart on Indian Matchmaking — and Surbhi, another close comedian friend of mine. We’re all Indian-Americans, and we discuss a wide variety of topics, such as dating, pop culture, and just in general make a lot of jokes. ALSO! We just released an Indian Matchmaking Season 2 reunion special — we brought back all the cast members of season 2 for a tell all! In Jan we plan to do a Season 1 reunion.

Who do you look up to in the world of comedy?

Man. I’m a student of a looooooooot of comedians. So so so many people I look up to. Steven Wright and Dave Chappelle are my first loves. When I was a kid, I used to think standup was just time pass, until one day I stumbled upon Dave Chappelle: Killin Em’ Softly on YouTube. That is what made me realize that standup can be high art. That is when I knew I wanted to be a comedian. Steven Wright is the comedian who first inspired me to write jokes, many of my first jokes emulated him. I have learned so much about modern Joke Structure from Dave Attell, Emo Phillips, Dan Mintz, and Anthony Jeselnik. Bit structure I take directly from Louie CK and Bill Burr. As for my comedic voice, I learned so much from Paul Mooney. Listening to him is what I feel really unlocked my approach to comedy, the way how he is so mean, so aggressive. He talks about white people the way the media talks about black people. I always thought us Asian people needed that, an Asian comedian that talks about Asian-American issues, but not with the friendliness you typically see Asian comedians portray. He taught me to be in your face. And Chappelle taught me how to be nice about it.

[Read Related: Book Review: ‘You Can’t be Serious’ by Kal Penn]


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[Read Related: Sabeen Sadiq: Comedian, Actress & Muslim Pakistani-American]

Do you feel that South Asian comedians can be easily pigeonholed?

Historically — unequivocally yes. In the modern times, much less so. I very much think South Asian comedians in some sense pigeonhole themselves, by trying to emulate past South Asian comedians, who were pigeonholed by the market. I do think now, and it is completely because of social media, there is a market for every kind of comedy. Like I said in my previous answer, I’d like to be a South Asian comedian with the confrontationality that we have historically only seen from Black comedians.

But you know who is really pigeonholed nowadays? Female comedians. This may be a tangent, but if there was a Female comedian that talked about Female issues, with the hostility towards men that Bill Burr will occasionally have towards women, in my opinion she would likely be the GOAT.

How do you feel social media such as Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, and Snapchat have changed comedy?

Social media has been a truly beautiful thing for comedy. It has completely decentralized the power structure of our business. Back in the day, if you wanted to get famous, you had to do comedy that appealed to the white men who held the power at the networks, at the talk shows, in the writers rooms. They still do control all those things, but now because of social media the people watching our stuff are representative of the population, and we can grow our followings because the market is wider. Now if you have a social media following, you have all the leverage, and therefore you see a multitude more styles of standup comedy out there. Also social media in my opinion is the third great comedy boom. Seinfeld made standup a household art form, Netflix made it possible for people to binge watch standup, and now Tiktok and Instagram have proliferated standup to the point where it is EVERYWHERE. There are more comedians than ever and there’s a bigger market for standup than ever.

Lastly, what do you hope individuals take away from this interview with Brown Girl Magazine?

Us Indian-Americans are at a very interesting financial and cultural intersection. Indians are the richest ethnicity in America, and culturally Indian parents will generally pay for their children’s college, unlike other ethnicities. If Indian parents were to hypothetically support their child to go into the arts, just like they may support them in getting their Masters degree, I believe Indians would have an astronomically higher chance of making it in the arts than anyone else. The greatest gift you can give your artist child is financial support in the early stages, since we all know the early stages of the arts make next to nothing. We just have to get rid of the Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer only BS that I would argue is a remnant of the Caste System in India.

Also, remember to call white people Euro-Americans. It helps the movement!

Steve Yensel

By Brown boy

Brown Girl Mag's 'Brown boy' vertical seeks to create a community inviting to brown boys—of all kinds—to develop a sense … Read more ›

In Conversation with Karan Singh: CEO of the Sunburn Music Festival

Karan Singh Sunburn
Karan Singh Sunburn

From receiving his MBA from Harvard business school to being the CEO of Asia’s largest music festival brand Sunburn, Karan Singh combined his interests to push his passion for music! Singh received his bachelor’s degree in management from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He worked as an investment banker for three years at Ambit Corporate Finance before working at Sunburn which is a part of his family’s business. Sunburn started providing the music festival experience starting in the year 2007. The first festival was in Candolim, Goa. The music festival brand has put on over 5,000 events over the past 15 years. In 2022 The Sunburn Festival will be in it’s 16th year. Continue reading to learn more about Karan Singh’s journey with the Sunburn music festival!

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What does the Sunburn brand offer and what made you have the festival in Goa as opposed to other parts of India?

We believe that Sunburn offers a really unique experience and is a melting pot of diverse people & cultures from not only across India but around the world. Goa is the ideal setting for this as there is something magical about Goa in the winter-time and truly enables us to tap into that global audience.

Safety at live events has always been a concern among concert goers. Considering recent, events more individuals have asked brands and artists to do more to ensure audience safety. What are you doing to ensure safety for live concerts?

Safety is a huge priority for us. We work with the best-in-class security agencies as well as closely with the police and requisite authorities. For anyone in the crowd a Sunburn safety officer will always be close by and easily visible. We also run an awareness drive on both social media and on ground.

What was the first Sunburn Festival like and what did you learn from this experience?

The first ever Sunburn Festival was in December 2007, and I had actually attended it as a fan, not part of the crew. However, it was absolutely eye-opening as the first proper music festival on Indian shores and opened up our minds to a world of possibilities.

As Sunburn houses so many electronic dance musicians who have been your favorites throughout the years?

It is difficult to pick from the list however the favorites for Sunburn, in no order and because of the amount of love they have shown Indian audiences, are Martin Garrix, DJ Snake, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Hardwell and Armin van Buuren.

Do you plan to expand the festival to add other genres into the mix as well as more activities?

We have already expanded into different formats like Arena, Campus, Club, Reload and things like merchandize & academy. In terms of genres, we have been dabbling with genres like rap, hip-hop and pop, however our focus remains on electronic dance music.

What can someone expect from the festival as first-time goers?

Apart from a state-of-the-art production & line-up, one can expect a special experience, meeting interesting people from all over the world, and embarking on a creative journey of the theme for the year.

How does the festival help local musicians from Goa as well as the surrounding areas in India?

This year we had set up for the first time a special stage and village in the festival only for Goa which gave a platform to local Goan artists. But beyond that a huge focus for us has always been to showcase domestic home-grown talent and indeed 60-70% of the line-up each year is locally sourced.

[Read Related: Brown Boy Interview Series: In Conversation With KSHMR]


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What was the experience like this year in 2022 and how is it different from previous years?

The biggest difference was that this was the first time the festival was back to its full scale since the pandemic hit after 3 long years. It was a fantastic release for everyone there. Our theme was “the future is now” and this was reflected across the festival experience and particularly in the main stage design – termed “Cyberpunk City” which received rave reviews from all.

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What was it like having the legends Black Coffee and Afrojack this year as well as the DJ duo Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike?

Afrojack and DVLM are both Sunburn & India veterans, it was amazing having them back crushing the main stage after very long. Black Coffee for us was something very new and exciting, to have a special artist and a unique sound like that close the main stage on day 2. However it was very well-received and took our experience to the next level.

As you have had the artist Avicii back in December 2011 how do you feel he revolutionized Electronic Dance Music?

Avicii is one of my all-time favorite artists and his show in December 2011 was actually my first one working on Sunburn so will always be extra special. There is no doubt that he revolutionized EDM by taking massive risks and introducing an entirely new sound which a lot of others then followed, but no one as well as he did.

How does it feel to be in charge of one of Asia’s biggest Electronic Dance Music Festivals?

It feels great, we have a very young but ambitious and hard-working team and our primary focus is to continue delivering the best possible experiences for our fans, artists and partners. India is such a vibrant and exciting market that I cannot help but be pumped about what the future holds.

Do you feel Electronic Dance Music is a misunderstood genre?

More so in a country like India possibly yes, where people who are not exposed to these experiences sometimes have preconceived notions about EDM festivals and the like. Oftentimes those people are also in a decision-making capacity and can directly affect the industry. However, things are certainly improving as the industry overall gets bigger and gets more acceptance.

What does music mean to you, Karan Singh?

Music provides a sound-track to life, it is something which is always there!

How do you choose to react when you receive negative comments about the Sunburn Festival?

Well, you have to be able to differentiate between those which are just trolling and those which are constructive or fair criticism. The latter is very important as it helps us to look at ourselves and continually improve, we are still a long way from where we eventually want to be.

Lastly, what do you hope individuals take away from this interview with Brown Girl Magazine?

I hope it allows us at Sunburn to reach a wider audience of the desi community around the world and hopefully get some more people to fly down to Goa for Sunburn Festival 2023 which I can promise you all will be the best one yet!

Artist Testimonials:

Dimitri Vegas Like Mike

We have had a long connection with India. The first time we played here was more than a decade ago. Going from clubs to being a regular feature at one of Asia’s biggest electronic music festivals which is now an institution in itself. It’s been an exciting evolution to see how Sunburn has grown over the years. The fans at Sunburn are some of the most insane and every show is a special one. We’ve always had an incredible experience at Sunburn.

DJ Snake

Honestly, the energy I feel when I am in India is one of the most amazing things. I would say the culture and energy is what keeps me coming back! India is like a second home to me, just like Sunburn. I feel so comfortable and welcomed here. I’m always excited about coming to India and playing at Sunburn, experiencing new cities, meeting more of the people, hearing more of the music, and seeing more of the country that has influenced me so much.


Sunburn has helped dance music artists world over to tour India and connect with their Indian fans and I’m always excited about performing at the festival.


I’ve a long history with the Sunburn team. They are a great team to work with and they also give the fans amazing experiences. As an artist, I want to be a part of providing fans with lifelong memories and so we all share the same vision.

Alan Walker

Sunburn is one of the pioneers of the dance music festival scene in India and has been instrumental in creating a truly world class platform that supports the dance music industry and all of its stakeholders. I’m always excited about touring India with Sunburn.

Photo Courtesy of DNH Media

By Arun S.

Arun fell in love with music at a young age by way of his middle school music teacher Mr. D. … Read more ›

Reflection Comes From Within, not From Others

“Confessions to a Moonless Sky” is a meditation on the new moon and guilt. I wrote it when I was living in Dallas and was driving back from a dusk prayer. The new moon terrified me on that drive. I was diseased by the knowledge that my partner, at the time, had seen the worst parts of me. There’s immense shame in this piece—it seized my self-image. If the moon could become brand new, then I could start over.

I often ponder on the moon’s reflective nature and pairs of eyes. I’m hyper-fixated on how I am seen by others. Unfortunately, the brilliance of seeing your reflection in another person leads to negativity. After all, those who are too keen on their own reflection are the same people who suffer from it. It is possible to use shame to fuel one’s retribution and personal growth, without becoming consumed by it.

We can look to Shah Rukh Khan succumbing to alcoholism in his own sorrow and then later imbibing his sadness in Chandramukhi. “Confessions to a Moonless Sky” is a lesson for us: Don’t be Shah Rukh Khan in Devdas, instead embody pre-incarnation Shah Rukh Khan in Om Shanti Om!

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Confessions to a Moonless Sky

Sometimes when the moon abandons the sky, I wonder if I drove her away.

If she comes back, will she be the same? How I wish she would come back new, truly new! That way she’d have no memory of the sin I’ve confessed to her. You noxious insect. Sin-loving, ego-imbibing pest. You are no monster, for at least a monster has ideology, it sins with purpose. You sin just to chase ignominy.

But the moon won’t say that, she never does. She’ll just leave the sky and return days later, slowly. And I’ll wonder if she’s new, perhaps she won’t remember my past confessions. What does it matter? Were the moon replaced with one from a different god, I’d drive her away, too.

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By Umrao Shaan

Umrao Shaan is a short storyist, poet, and ghazals singer. You can find his songs on his Instagram. His other … Read more ›