Anoop Judge | Author · Writing Instructor · Former T.V. Host​

Winding down the Blog

Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone. —Billy Cox

My dear subscribers, readers, and supporters,

I wanted to let you know that I\’m back to college again, pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing, while finishing up the fourth round of edits on my third novel, NO ORDINARY THURSDAY, which releases in August 2022. While I am honored to be the recipient of the Alumni Scholarship and the Advisory Board Grant for 2021-2023, the heavy workload means I cannot continue writing blog posts anymore.

9/11 and its impact on Minorities

On a wet and windy day, during her junior year at high school as Najma Khan was holed up in the library, a photo flashed on her phone.

It showed a beheading by Islamic State militants along with a caption in red letters: “Go back to your own country.” Najma reported the incident but the school never tracked down the person who sent it.

It was not the first time she had been the focus of hatred, the 19-year-old who is my niece’s best friend said, with unshed tears at the corners of her eyes as she narrated similar incidents, sitting next to her parents in their Santa Monica home. I noticed that a copy of the Quran was prominently displayed on a bookstand on the mantelpiece.

A Vaccine or My Family: Children of anti-vaxers caught in the Middle

When she went to get her first dose of the vaccine, Anya, 27, told her parents she was going to get her Friday fix of samosas and rasmalai from Bharat Bazaar, the local Indian store. Her parents (family friends of mine) whom she was staying with, in Yuba City—while working remotely —believe that Covid 19 vaccines are “manufactured by the deep state” and that “when 5G gets turned on, it will kill everyone.”

“When they found out I was even thinking about getting it, they cried and legitimately thought I’d be dead in three years,” said Anya. So Anya decided to get the shot in secret. “I almost got caught,” she recalls. Getting the shot took quite some time and adding on the time to get groceries made my trip “seem extremely long.”

The American Mall : Dead as the Dinosaur

In March of this year, Neelu Joseph received a flurry of text messages from her mother, who was at the going-out-of-business sale at their local Macy’s. She was floored—not by the deals but because her childhood mall, Metrocenter Mall in Glendale, Arizona, was losing another big box store. Sears exited a couple of years ago, and the mall had steadily lost tenants like the Gap, H & M, and Abercrombie and Fitch. Her teenage self would barely recognize the place today.

Does No One Want To Work Anymore?

Baby Boo is making a face that means she might soon begin to cry. Priya’s neck is sweating. Her armpits are sweating.

Chef—Owner and Head Cook—of one of Los Angeles’ finest Indian restaurants, Bombay Grill, yells, “Pick up for Table number 6, ready!” as he swiftly ladles goat curry fragrant with peppercorns, ginger, and coconut milk atop a puddle of basmati rice. That’s the order for her customer in the corner booth, an olive-hued man in his 30s, lightly tanned, wearing a taupe-colored Stetson hat that covers most of his face.

What is causing air-rage in the U.S. and beyond?

“I am 40. My first flight was when I was 18 years old. Everyone was well-mannered and an old lady sitting next to me gave me a piece of gum. Fast forward to my last flight in 2021. Trashy people dressed like slobs acting entitled, choosing to punch a flight attendant.”

Joe Munroe, a lanky, brown-haired man with bushy eyebrows and a receding chin is talking about an altercation between a passenger on a Southwest flight from Sacramento to San Diego who got violent and knocked out two of the attendant’s front teeth.

Surviving and flourishing during the Pandemic

Sixty-three-year-old Julia walked to the edge of the campsite and yanked on the rope that held her food in a tarp off the ground. Outside her trailer, she placed folding chairs, a small camp table, and a Coleman stove, with an old-fashioned coffee pot heating on it. She measured the coffee, turned it on, and thought of what she would make for breakfast—maybe, an omelet with the sourdough bread she’d picked up from The Food Emporium at the nearby riverside market town.

A Year Later: Travel Has Become an Emotional Journey

When Rajesh Sharma finally became eligible to receive the Covid vaccine, he jumped into action and added three big events to his calendar: his two vaccine appointments and a request for a four-week leave of absence so that he could visit his aged mother in India, who had been hunkering alone on the seventh floor of her hot and humid apartment in Gurgaon, New Delhi. Exactly two weeks and one day after receiving his second Moderna shot and thus fully immunized, he boarded a plane for an intercontinental flight for the first time in a year and a half.

“I have some loose plans to take my Mom for her annual check-ups and get her Gurkha servant, Bahadur, who’s been in our family for thirty years his two Covidshield vaccines, but mostly I planned on a solo trip just to chill out with my mom. Spend time with her before it’s too late, and I’m filled with regrets. I promised my mom that as soon as I was fully vaccinated I’d return to visit her and for me, it marks the beginning of our return to normalcy,” he said, casting a sidelong glance at the passenger next to him.

COVID-Complicated Graduations: In-person or Virtual?

Her first reaction after receiving the email from the University announcing that commencement would be conducted online was to cry. Across Southern California, larger colleges were announcing plans for in-person graduations—so why not hers?

Then, twenty-two-year-old Anya dried her tears and turned to Instagram, asking: If Vanguard University hosted an in-person graduation, would they attend?

When eighty percent of the respondents said ‘Yes,’ she and two classmates created a GoFundMe account and started selling tickets.

One Year Later: How Two working Moms Are Doing

Priya Sethi walked outside the kitchen’s back door so that the strong salty sea smell blew onto the balcony. The air had a sharp tang that battled for supremacy over the scents of tandoori salmon and smoke (yesterday’s dinner) that blew out from the kitchen.

She couldn’t see the ocean—a row of bungalows identical to her own, some with redwood planter boxes blooming with trumpet-shaped pink petunias blocked her view. She could hear the water though . . . the steady dull thunder of the surf reminding her that it was close, at the edge of Manhattan Beach in Southern California where they’d relocated to.

Anoop Judge is a blogger and an author, who’s lived in the San Francisco-Bay Area for the past 27 years. As an Indian-American writer, her goal is to discuss the diaspora of Indian people in the context of twenty-first century America.