Teaching outdoors during idea generation for an upcoming project, 2012

Who is a teacher? There are as many responses to this question as there are people in our universe. For each of us, a teacher has been a different experience. For some of us that interaction may have been life changing and for some as ordinary as hay. “Life is the biggest teacher of all”. We have heard this often. And it is true. We learn from our environment which includes our parents, family, peers, friends and sometimes unexpected events and sources.

But a teacher or as I grew up knowing the “guru” is one who moulds you. Or various…


Wellness refers to the natural state of being that each of us is meant to be in. A state of ease. And not a state of disease. With changes in societal structures, economies and technological advances the shift in the idea of wellness and its technique seem to be the constant. There is a projected growth of $4.2 trillion in this industry which goes across the spectrum from skincare, aging, travel, food, supplements, cannibus, exercise, sleep and so many more facets. Growing up with Ayurveda and food being health, the idea of doing anything special for wellness seemed unnatural to…


Virtual elder care across continents during a pandemic.

In what has been the realization of my nightmares from the past, I have not been able to see my family back home in India for close to 2 years now because I live in the US with a large ocean and a pandemic separating us. We have always made it a priority to visit home — for vacations, to keep our children connected to their grandparents and for major life events. However, this phase has been different. Even if we wanted to see them, we couldn’t.

Reality of closed borders
Our adopted country and its citizens were banned from entering…


Recently, the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in the US took on a new vigor. Presidential contenders Vice President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris wished Hindus in the US and around the world “Happy Ganesh Chaturthi”. In a discussion with my teenager, I remarked how well timed it was given that the elections were around the corner. She remarked “Isn’t it a good thing that they wished us?” “Of course my dear, I just want to see if the wishes come back next year–irrespective of the election results”. I used this opportunity to have a conversation about being authentic versus opportunistic.


My daughter comes home crying one day. Not sure if it is hormones, or the excessive drama in her social circle at school. Turns out that it is all of that bundled up with her classmates eyes veering to her slightly hairy forearms. She is doing well in school, the teachers all love her for her sincerity and love of learning. She has wonderful friends who want to hang out with her. But there are also those classmates who look at her lunch funny. …


What does it mean to be an international student in the US? It is like being an African American — you don’t know what its like unless you are one or have been one. The struggles, the freedoms, the metamorphosis you experience are all your own and very impactful. There are various factors that influence the years following your educational journey. Some of these have repercussions on the trajectory of your life. I know this from personal experience of having been an international student that graduated post 9/11. Some of these initial decisions are as follows:

What area of study…


Waiting for the next flight…

As the spotlight falls once again on racism, with America burning down over a $20 bill, it brings up many different feels for people of all shades. The police brutality, day-to-day marginalization, systemic racism comes from a long history of “us” and “them”. Something that is shared by different minorities across the world in varying ways with varying repercussions. And in the US by many other minorities but not for as long the African Americans have.

My group of Asian-American moms have resolved to speak up and do their part in supporting this fight — speak to their own parents…


By Gauri Misra-Deshpande

Celebrating Holi, the Indian festival celebrating Spring with neighbors.
Celebrating Holi, the Indian festival of Spring with neighbors.

I am a hands-on mom. I let my kids make their own ant farms, cut out old boxes to make TVs, melt crayons to make art. I enjoy doing these things with them. Often I have been referred to as a juggler or a superhero by friends who watch my kids growing up. When I sit back to think about these bestowed titles, I realize that I am very different yet very much like my mother in many ways. From trips to Kumbharwada (the pottery community in Dharavi, Mumbai) to Kalbadevi (an extremely dense business area of…


What is generational knowledge?

Turmeric Milk — a recipe passed on through generations.

In my mind, it is knowledge about anything from recipes to remedies and sometimes common sense earned through experience that gets handed down from one generation to the next. It is gained when a person or community deals with situations as they come up and how things are then. How the social situation is, how society is structured, what the natural environment is like. They say we are afraid of the dark because it is in our genes. Ancestors knew better than to venture out in the dark with predators everywhere and no street lights. …

Gauri Misra-Deshpande

Mom, educator, designer, global native who writes because she is curious and has ring-side tickets to multiple circuses all at once.

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