View this email in your browser

The Aram

with Tahmina Begum
For South Asian Heritage month, there will be four installments of The Aram instead of the usual two. Here's the second one. Plus, The Aram Live is on the 4th of August! You can grab tickets to the event here, see you there inshallah 👋🏾
There's something magical about watching someone you love get married. I know, I know, I know, South Asian wedding festivities go on for what seems like forever but when you're in that bubble? There's an aura of noor beyond the festive stress. The idea that everything has its own divine timing comes to life.
Support The Aram Today 💐
If you know me personally, you'll know for months now, we've had a wedding in the family that's happily taken over our lives. There have been months of shopping for select pieces — from the flowers to wrap around the house and our hair to the matching shalwar kameezes that will look best in a choreographed dance. There have been evenings of wrapping up gifts to shower the other side of the wedding party, the seeking of the better parts of a song, the recording of dance practices, the array of traditional and English bridal showers, to the assembling of menus and hors d'oeuvres. There's been a fine balance of tweaking old customs into the 21st century while respecting its time and place and that ever fine pull between our Western niceties and Eastern roots. And what it has shown me once again, are the ways in which we show up for each other. Alhamdullilah.

Being a part of a desi wedding is no small feat. It requires you to throw away the rigid calendars that rule our daily lives and demands you to realise that just like everything else, there are no do-overs in life. This is it so, 'Here's my box of wedding trinkets that we can hang up, what can I do to help?' is what's echoed between the mendhied hands and endless cups of tea (fuel) that keeps us going. And I believe, in all honesty, we, South Asians, know how to do a wedding right. 
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
I've never understood how you can turn up to one event and call it a wedding. Where's the build-up? The family drama amidst the crude jokes made by grandmothers about the wedding night? The sense that everyone is part of an incoming new chapter? The welcoming embrace that Something Big Is Happening?

South Asian weddings oddly remind me of the ways in which
South Asian's do funerals or any other major life event. These big events in life aren't simplified or squeezed into this fervent need of convenience. Through the slow meetings between new loved ones, the consideration of each family's traditions and the basic act of showing up in order to be of service, there is an opulence. It says, 'Hey, it's your turn and we want to celebrate one of the best bits life gives, together.'
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Now, don't me wrong, I too am under the prowl of aunties and the thorough ways in which women are made to feel as though they are no one unless they are officially someone else's but the misogyny, though important to consider, isn't what I'm focusing on today.

The reason why I have wedding blues even though it's only been a couple of days since the wedding is because be it the same aunties who sat around in a circle and sang folk songs while organising the wedding jewellery or the ways in which we forget about our personal needs in order to put someone else first, there's something in the air in a desi wedding house.

I usually can't place my finger on it but I believe it has something to do with the essence of being silly. So much of the time, we take our lives so seriously even though we all know real romance, real bonds are usually formed over moments that say 'Screw it. Out of all of the options in the world, out of all the statistics that are against us, I choose this. So let's GET IT.'

And on that note, here's to embracing all the joys a season of embracing the new has to offer.

From your moyna,

This newsletter is dedicated to Nayema and Hassan, who have reminded us what finding your equal looks like. Here's to the healthiest, the cheekiest and the most aram of marriages. I love you and I'm so happy for you both. Alhamdullilah. 
The Aram is a bi-monthly newsletter that explores our relationship with ease and joy. In "Getting Aram With", I ask a woman of colour and/or Muslim woman I admire questions surrounding her comforts.

For South Asian Heritage Month, I'm going to profile South Asian women in particular as a way to honour our shared roots. 

#18 is Priyank Ganjoo. Founder and CEO of Kulfi, a beauty company and platform inspired by South Asian beauty. Kulfi has recently been chosen as a finalist for Sephora Accelerate 2021
, a beauty brand incubator focused on founders of colour. 

I was recently sent the Kulfi Beauty eyeliners and I am genuinely taken away by how pigmented and buttery they are without smudging everywhere. I'm currently in love with the classic (and very black thank god) Nazaar No More kajal eyeliner. Tiger Queen, the terracotta shade has also become a favourite. I wanted to speak to the brains and beauty behind a brand that was inspired by a group of women who are rarely given their flowers when it comes to our beauty traditions and rituals. 

What's currently bringing you aram?

Finding community in BIPOC entrepreneurs is bringing me aram! Entrepreneurship can be very lonely and discouraging and I struggled with that last year. Since our launch and with New York opening up a little over the summer, I’ve been able to meet entrepreneurs building similar community-centric businesses for coffee or dinner. We’ve shared our challenges and celebrated our victories. It’s given me a sense of community that I hadn’t felt in a long time. 

Why did you feel the need to create a beauty brand specifically inspired and for South Asian women? 

Growing up, I never felt beautiful. I used to think this was my individual experience, but after speaking to hundreds of South Asian women I realized it's systemic because we didn't see ourselves represented or celebrated in beauty. Globally, Eurocentric, patriarchal ideals of beauty have been forced upon us by the beauty industry for decades.

I call this the “emotional gap” in the market. We’ve never been centered. Of course, there is a “product gap” too - we struggle to find shades that compliment our skin tones and undertones because most beauty products aren’t designed with us in mind.

Even though I worked in the beauty industry for six years, when my friends and family would ask me for product recommendations, I struggled to point them to brands designed for us. 

There are more than a billion of us globally and it puzzled me that no one else had done this at scale. I felt that it was about time we made that change for ourselves. 

Do you have a favourite beauty memory growing up that ties in with your heritage? 

I remember my mom applying kajal to ward off nazar (evil eye) before every big event: exams (those were big events in the household), festivals, holidays, and sometimes just stepping out of the house. It brings back memories of feeling loved and protected. We were inspired by the practice for our launch campaign, Nazar No More, where we wanted to share that Kajal can be used for more, they can be used to express ourselves. 

What can we learn from South Asian women when it comes to beauty? 

We own colour! We have such a rich history of including colour in our daily life, in clothes, henna, rangoli and more. We're missing that in beauty. Our brand’s visual identity: our packaging, our campaign communicates that. You also see it with our products: our eyeliners come in beautifully saturated pigments. 

I was chatting with Sheena Sood, Founder of Abacaxi, and she introduced me to the word Chromophobia. I think that’s what we’ve been conditioned to see in Western media: there has historically been a cultural aversion to colour. Anything considered luxury is black, white, beige and minimal. I think we can unlearn that by looking at South Asian women who look luxurious in color.

Any South Asian women you'd love to shout out?

My team! Samia Abbasi, who is the editor of our platform Kulfi Bites. I’ve grown so much personally through my interactions with her. I remember an article I co-wrote with her, about how I overcame my fear of selfies. I was pouring out my thoughts and they didn’t seem valuable yet Samia was somehow able to pull out this nuance in what I was trying to communicate. It made me see myself differently. 

Pritika Gupta, who is now working at Uber, has been my cheerleader from day zero. I call her our COO - Chief Optimism Officer. I’m lucky to have her in my life because she’s been on this entrepreneurial journey with me and has seen the lows and the highs. She is always able to bring things into perspective. 

Things That Have Bought Me Aram Lately

The Aram Live is next week inshallah! You can grab tickets here and get to know more about the event here. See you there 👋🏾

I always get asked for book recommendations by South Asian authors so here's a whole list in honour of South Asian Heritage month.

But also I've just finished Keep The Receipts by The Receipts Podcast which is such a warm, perfect summer read.


Summer Is For Falling In Love by Sarah Kang
South Asian Creatives To Follow:

photographer: @qavi_reyez
beauty: @tasnim_makeupartist
fashion: @kanyalondon
food: @DrMehlaqa
wellness: @sasha.sabapathy 
jewellery: @haatichai 
charity: @restlessbeings 
cafe/space: @root25ldn 
music: @taralilymood 
writing: @drpragyaagarwal
Hola! I'm Tahmina Begum 👋🏾 I'm a writer, editor and creative consultant. The Aram is currently free to subscribers but it does take a labour of love to write and produce, so if you'd like to support, you can buy me a digital Ko-Fi. If you'd like to commission me for any work, feel free to check out my website

Images courtesy of @artsofhidostan @jahied 

Was this email forwarded to you? Subscribe here.
All information is correct and to the best of my intentions as I hit send. 
Copyright © 2021 The Aram, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted into the party 🍒

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
The Aram · Location · London , London London · United Kingdom

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp