Three Desi Things

Three Desi Things

Three desis — one Indian and two Indian-Americans — banter and joke with each other on this podcast, delve deep into history and discover little-known facts about the food, culture, and people of India and South Asia.


April 23, 2021 75 mins

To quote Veda, "double digits, baby!"


We are in dialogue with author Ira Mukhoty, who has written about amazing Indian women in history, including the queens and empresses of the Mughal Empire.

  We talk to her about her book Daughters of the Sun and how the colonial Orientalist gaze has given us a lopsided view of the women from the Mughal period — and why she refuses to use the word 'harem'. She breaks our hearts about the bel...

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We explore the rich history of cricket in North America and how the first ever cricket match in the world was between US and Canada. We also talk about some of our personal favorite cricket moments. We take a deep dive into the history of filter coffee and how it became inextricably linked with caste in South India. And finally, we talk about America’s first celebrity chef, a charismatic young man of Indian descent by the name of J...

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In this episode, we take a dive into the history of the first car manufactured in India and how it became the "king of the Indian roads."

We talk about Kuldip Rae Singh, an Indian student in the US who became famous in 1950s America after he stole the show on national television.

Finally, our food thing for this episode is the history of South Africa's favorite snack, bunny chow and its connection to South Asia.

Intrigued? Find sho...

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Our second in the “In Dialogue” series! Our guest for this week is Beth Watkins, a museum professional and popular Bollywood blogger and film enthusiast. She goes by @bethlovesbolly on Twitter.

Beth is a treasure trove of film trivia and Bollywood films in general. We talk to her about how she got into Bollywood, what you should watch if you want to start watching Bollywood films, and we play our “Guess the inspiration” game with h...

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We look at the origin of Indo-Chinese food and how it is so different from native Chinese cuisines. We talk about the Punjabi-Mexican community of California. And we discover the amazing story of Noor Inayat Khan, an Indian spy who fought the Nazis in Paris.

Find our show notes on the episode page!

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Introducing our “In Dialogue” series! This is a little different than our usual episodes. In these episodes, we'll interview experts, authors and generally cool desis about things that interest them!

In this episode, we speak to Krish Ashok, the author of “Masala Lab”, a fascinating  book that documents the science behind Indian/South Asian cooking. Ashok also comes armed with great desi food facts.

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Did you know Tarantino took inspiration from an Indian film for Kill Bill Vol. 1? Or that the world's first female head of state was from South Asia? Or the samosa, the quintessential Indian snack, is not actually Indian?

Find out more on episode #4 of Three Desi Things. Wondering how we did it? Read our episode notes!


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Did know that the phrase “dam it” or the word shampoo has its roots in colonial India? Ever heard of Velu Nachiyar, the first queen in the subcontinent to wage war against the British? We also explore the history of how chai or tea came to India and how the desis got addicted to it.

As always, show notes on the episode page of our site!

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Did you know that the first female superstars of Bollywood were from the Jewish community? Or how an African slave became a military mastermind in 17th century India? Or how India's diet completely changed in the 1960s and is now affecting people's lives? Find out more on the episode #2. Detailed show notes and references on our site!


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Did you know that the gin and tonic was invented in India? Or that two Indian queens posed for the first ever "poster" to promote vaccines? Or the story of how the British built towns to escape heat and disease?

Come along with us on this journey of lesser-known stories from India and South Asia!

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