I’ve mentioned it quite a bit before that I really want an adaptation, preferably a movie, of WHEN DIPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon, and I mean it. I really want one, so freaking bad.
There’s many reasons for me to want an adaptation of WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI, the romcom itself is just a very wholesome story. It’s cute and sweet and romantic and adorable. And it’s also the representation that I want to see onscreen; the subtle nods towards being a desi, especially a desi in a non-desi setting.
Being diaspora is very different from being desi in a desi place, and WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI really encapsulates what it means to be a teenager who is also desi and diaspora. Living in India, a lot of my ideas about navigating my future and my identity within my community were different because what it meant to me be an Indian teenager and an Indian woman in India when I was there is very different than what it means to me to be an Indian teenager and an Indian woman in Canada today. After shifting to Canada, my identity was shaped a lot by the cultural shock at first, and it took me about 4 years after moving back here to really understand where I fit in in Canadian society, and how to navigate my identity here healthily even when I’m confused or hurt. I found a friend in WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI in Dimple Shah because I understood, and not just understand but struggled with the same pain of not knowing where you belong except with your dream in a western world that wants to do nothing but put hurdles in the way of People of Colour, especially Women of Colour, trying to achieve our dreams.
All this, I say, because I know this book’s adaptation would mean as much as the book meant to me to another desi teen.
WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI, if you’ve read it, has this magical feel to it because its absolutely ordinary. It’s a contemporary that sucks you in, that makes you want to know what’s going to happen in next like those addictive romcoms you binge for hours on a lazy day. It’s absolutely phenomenal because its absolutely normal, and I never really see that happening to desi characters. AND THIS HAPPENED TO DESI MAIN CHARACTERS IN A STORY THAT FOLLOWS THEM FALLING IN LOVE. So, yeah, you should read it, support it and adapt it.
But seriously though, I think there’s many reasons to want an adaptation of WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI, there’s the amazing representation of Hinduism (In Rishi’s pride of practicing the religion), and in the positive relationship between parents and teens, especially since I rarely see this in media when it comes to desi characters and their parents, and the overall feel of the book, and I think it’s because of these many reasons I have, and many reasons a lot of other desi adults and teens have that we should get an adaptation of it as brilliant as TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE. Books like these–honestly, stories like these in any form of media, are important because they show us, People of Colour, as real human being, existing on our own, and not in relation to white people. It shows us as us, multitudinous and absolutely ordinary, and that’s important because the more we’re seen as who we are in media, the better we can fight off stereotypes and feeling like we can’t be our unique selves in whichever western community we live in, or practice our religions, and our customs, or speak in our language in public. It’s something that, I think, would really help a lot of desi teens feel empowered.