Lending South Asian hospitality and warmth into the wider Pool that is American culture: Interview with the Novelist Bapsi Sidhwa.
I was privileged to interview the renound novelist Bapsi Sidhwa at her house in Houston, Texas. She has written several books and has received a number of awards. I am proud to say that Bapsi is a Pakistani who is one of the nation’s prolific English writers. Her fame has transcended national boundaries and she has worked closely with neighbouring Deepa Mehta, the filmmaker, who based his very successful films ‘Earth’ and ‘Water’ on her two novels: ‘Cracking India‘ and ‘Water: A Novel’. Here is an example where people of different (even seemingly opposing) nations can and should work together in co-operation in an effort of artistic creativity, productivity and even inter-faith to better our shared world. Bapsi who is said to describe herself as ‘Punjabi-Parsi-Indian-Pakistani’ welcomed us warmly in her Shalwar Kameez to her home where she had invited forty other distinguished friends including many South Asians.
After a wonderful and generous Pakistani meal, I interviewed Bapsi about the theme of the project ‘Journey into America’ and asked her opinion of what American identity was. Eloquently she replied that it was the diversity that America is while for her specifically it was also about maintaining her (our) culture. This, I could see, is the hospitality she received us with and in the food she served us as well as in the dress she wore and the language she spoke with us (Urdu). I thought how lucky and beneficial for American culture to host wise souls like Bapsi who would for the rest of her time in Houston lend her South Asian wisdom, hospitality and warmth into the pool that is now American culture and identity!