Dharani Persaud ‘13 is a queer Indo-Guyanese-American writer and organizer. She holds a B.A. in international relations from Wellesley College and works in Boston as the youth and community programs coordinator for GrubStreet, one of the nation's leading writing centers. She has publications in Hobart, 2040 Review and Kajal Magazine, among others. She is greatly interested in the intersections of intergenerational storytelling and food. When she's not at work, you can find Dharani attempting to pet other people's dogs.
Q: What is your idea of a fruitful day?
A: Hanging out with friends after making headway on one of my writing projects (currently working on some short stories) and baking something semi-challenging that turns out delicious (think Great British Bake-Off but more chill). Also maybe a quick jaunt to the library.
Q: If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be?
Fatimah Asghar, Ocean Vuong and Rajiv Mohabir. If you haven't heard of any of these incredible writers, I highly recommend checking out some of their work.
Q: What book has influenced you greatly? How?
A: “White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo. The title is pretty self-explanatory, but DiAngelo does a brilliant job of breaking down the psychology of the racial discomfort white people feel when their ideas about race and racism are challenged. She specifically talks about white liberals and the cognitive dissonance that comes from progressives failing to see their complicity in white supremacy. She also does a fantastic job of examining her own biases and using them as learning examples. It's a fascinating read and made me think a lot about my own interactions with white people and just how much I go out of my way to avoid talking about certain subjects with them because I don't want to have to deal with their reactions. It was refreshing to read a book on race by a white woman who is truly committed to being a better ally.
Q: What are your three favorite smells?
A: The pavement after it rains, gasoline and brownies in the oven
Q: What is something you learned in the last week?
A: That there is an off-leash dog area on my way home from work that always has some sort of dog meetup around the time I go home, which has made my commute 1,000 times better because I get to pass a bunch of doggies hanging out with each other!
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Definitely books. I love checking out independent bookstores whenever I'm in a different city or country, and I always try to buy (at least) one book from the bookstore I'm in.
Q: What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
A: Lizzo. Hands down. She and her backup dancers came onstage and danced on roller skates, and she was still singing! She has lungs of steel.
Q: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
A: “LSD” by Jamila Woods. One of the lines of the chorus is "you gotta love me like I love the lake," and, while the song is about Chicago and she's technically talking about Lake Michigan, it reminds me of Minnesota. In Boston we have the cold coast of the ocean, which does not even remotely compare to the lakes in the summer in Minnesota.
Q: What did you want to be when you were small?
A: A pirate. At one point I had all the different flag meanings memorized. I still think they're fascinating. They had a democratic system on their ships, many were anti-imperialists, and there were some pretty badass women pirates.
Q: If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?
A: Lychees, probably. But bubble tea is a close second.