Q&A with Nafisa Haji, author of The Writing on My Forehead discussion


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message 1: by Sara Lee (new)

Sara Lee Gordon | 2 comments do you think that indian families today limit their childrens' participation in extra curricular activities?

message 2: by Nafisa (new)

Nafisa Haji | 22 comments Mod
I love your question--a seemingly yes/no question that is way more complicated than either/or--my favorite kind. I really think it depends on many things. Believe it or not, for immigrants from the Indian Subcontinent, "assimilation" to Western culture often begins before ever leaving home, one of the residues of the British Empire. So, depending on how "westernised" a family might be or not be more or less restrictive. Add to that mix the pretty intense focus on education and college and again the answer is a complicated one. Also, the fact that first-genners are growing up and role modeling all kinds of levels of participation in mainstream American society makes many things more acceptable. I think the line in the sand is mostly defined by the "westernization" dynamic that begins before getting here, which, in turn, relates to some extend to socioeconomics, too.

message 3: by Sara Lee (new)

Sara Lee Gordon | 2 comments my grandmother always told me she knew when I lied because there would be writing on my forehead! when I saw the title of the book I was taken aback for a minute, I loved the book. Prayers are nicer than straight up lies.

message 4: by Nafisa (new)

Nafisa Haji | 22 comments Mod
Thank you!
I have had the most interesting memories/stories related to foreheads and writings come up in discussing this book. One woman told me of a Native American Shaman who brushed a feather on her forehead, which she was reminded of by the title. Others have wondered if it was a religious book, thinking the title referred to the mark of the beast in the Bible. There's no doubt that all cultures seem to give importance to the forehead on a spiritual level--positive and negative. Think of the Hindu tradition. Or of Ash Wednesday. On the Indian Subcontinent and in Iran and in the Arab world, the writing on one's forehead is a reference to destiny or kismat.

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