Favorite Quote: "Before you can love another you must first learn to love yourself."
Even though Ashika's family hails from the Fiji Islands, she is a native to the Pacific NorthWest. Her childhood memories included American horror movies, rock music and the now infamous, deer curry. These things set her apart and often left her feeling more American than Indian. In 2011, when her childhood friend, Sangeeta Naidu, was signed up to direct the 2012 Yoni Ki Baat show, she asked Ashika to perform since the theme was humor as she finds her to be hilarious. Little did she know that performing in YKB would be the change that she had yearned for in her life. The doors to her ancestral side swung open and she felt the hole inside of her start to fill. The experience filled Ashika with so much love and joy! Without a second thought, she performed again in the 2013 Yoni Ki Baat show. Ashika's journey through another year of YKB 2014 was again life changing. In 2015, she gave back to that community and platform that gifted her with a new home and family, by co-directing YKB. When her fellow sister Nanda Mehta moved to San Deigo and announced she was going to launch Yoni Ki Baat, Ashika immediately volunteered to fly down to perform. She's excited and proud to be a part of spreading the love and sisterhood of Yoni Ki Baat San Diego in it's 2nd year!
Ashika's introspective illustration "Conditional Love"
Favorite Quote: "Quote : “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus Dumbledore
“Take the road less travelled” is a maxim that has shaped Savita’s life and how she lives it. A nomad of sorts who has lived in different parts of the world and who spent a year backpacking across the globe with her husband on a whim, she has put down her roots (for the moment) in the beautiful and breathtaking Pacific NorthWest, (the hype about the rain is over rated..it is beautiful all year round!!) her home since 2003.
Mother, Wife, Art Educator, Published Writer and Intermittent Poet, Occasional Printmaker, Intrepid Traveler, Voracious Reader and Fabulous Cook (according to her 10 year old son) – all these roles define who she is and give her enormous joy and fulfilment.
She performed in YKB Seattle 2015 along with a group of 8 remarkable, resilient and funny women who continue to inspire and uplift her every day. She knows that they are all firmly in her corner and support her no matter what!
Savita is filled with gratitude to be able to expand her YKB family to the amazing women from San Francisco and San Diego and the journey has been Empowering - Exhilarating - Enlightening!
Savita's poignant narrative " * LOVE * LOSS * LIGHT * "
Favorite Quote: "Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." - Dalai Lama
Born in Bangalore India, Lakshmi is an only child from a gigantic extended family! Her most vivid memories of her childhood growing up in India, are from long hot summers, cracking jokes and eating mangoes with aunts, uncles and cousins. She is a huge foodie and loves to take trips to new countries and experience new cultures. She is highly curious and In her spare time she can be found exploring new hiking trails, catching up on Bollywood gossip or in intense online retail therapy.Her motto has always been “why not?” which has driven some crazy adventures- sailing, paddle boarding, hiking into the Grand Canyon, sky diving in Seattle and going Mezcal hunting in Mexico. Lakshmi’s strength to overcome rough patches in life has come from the amazing women who have stood by her at every stage .She is excited to be participating in her first YKB 2016 in San Diego and expanding her family with the amazing Yoni sisters.
Lakshmi's chilling chronicle "My Yoni. My Life."
Favorite Quote: "Every[one] is a divinity in disguise, a god playing the fool." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Manvi Singh was born and raised in San Diego, California, where she now lives with her husband after moving up and down the West Coast over the past few years. As a college student, she participated in the UCSD production of The Vagina Monologues in 2009 and directed it in 2010. Through performing her work on stage as a poet and writer over the past several years, she believes in the power of both sharing and hearing intimate personal stories to unite, foster understanding, and inspire positive change. She is happy to be putting roots back into her hometown while writing her forthcoming spiritual memoir and running her yoga business. Manvi is honored to be sharing the stage with the other resilient, creative, amazing women of Southern California Yoni Ki Baat 2016! She believes this is an important show which empowers the women of our South Asian community in America and brings important issues to light.
Manvi's triumphant tale "Lotuses on the Water"
2nd Ahaana Festival
Saturday September 24, 2016
5:00pm to 9:00pm
Mingei International Museum Balboa Park
Favorite quote: "Maybe the journey isn't so much about becoming anything. Maybe it's about unbecoming everything that isn't really you, so you can finally become who you were meant to be in the first place."
Sudeshna has been involved with Yoni Ki Baat Seattle as a spectator right from it's very beginnings. She was in awe of the courage and path-breaking performances of these Yoni sisters, and was inspired to perform in 2013 in Seattle, and again in 2015 in San Diego. This year, she is privileged and honored to co-direct Yoni Ki Baat 2016. It has been a wonderful journey of self-discovery, of gaining new insights about the world around her, of acceptance and surrender, and finding lasting friendships.
Sudeshna loves to travel and write. She lives with her family in the Seattle area.
Favorite Quote: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
― Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
By the time Nanda was 17, she was raised on three Continents - Asia, Africa and America! This great childhood ingrained in her the passion for travel and schooling in various countries, including boarding school, has afforded her a very open view of the world. She is a passionate Entrepreneur, as CEO of Creative Journeys. a Travel and Event Management Company which she started in 1990. Nanda is in her zen when dancing, all forms of dance, but especially Bharatanatyam which she has learnt since the age of 4 and she finally culminated her Arangetram by celebrating her 50th Birthday, in Seattle, WA; from where she moved to San Diego in January 2014. She is a senior teacher at From Within Academy (Seattle) and teaching and performing this ancient form of dance art, she finds purely meditative.
Launching Ahaana Festival (501c3) in September 2015 in Balboa Park's Mingei Museum, is her most satisfying experience. Ahaana addresses cultural awareness of the nine South Asian countries, through women, and with focus on Art & Theater, with center stage given to Yoni Ki Baat. She is most grateful for her YKB sisters' unconditional support and inspiration from Aaina Festival in Seattle.Core units of Ahaana are South Asian Women Entrepreneurs Network and soon to be launched South Asian Meet Up. She loves to help and network with people, and is involved in many non-profit organizations like House of India & SD Nari.
Nanda's hobbies traveling, hiking, reading, workouts, meditation, writing and creating unique center pieces, guest gifts and themes for events and festivals; also keep her busy. She feels very blessed to be surrounded by super supportive mother, a loving family, a devoted partner, young and adult kids and 3 beautiful little grand kids! Her strength comes from learning something positive from everyone she meets and daily discovering happiness within herself.
Nanda's compassionate comparisons "My Yoni is a Mystery"
Kanta Premji Jina
Favorite Quote: "Love isn't something you find. Love is something that finds you." - Loretta Young
I was born and raised in Kenya, Africa. From my early age, I enjoyed creating food to please my friends and family. My mother and sisters were my biggest inspiration towards my journey, they guided me into my passion for food. Luckily for me, I’ve been able to turn that passion for food into a lucrative career. As a founder and Executive Chef at Sattvik Foods, I bring with me a culture and passion for food. I embedded my African style of cooking to fuse with the Asian culture and some American influences to create flavorful masterpieces.
I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, listening to music, reading, socializing and volunteering. I also love taking my dog, Coco to the beach and the dog park.
Kanta's comical escapades "42 Years Later"
Yoni ki Baat ~ 2016 Performing Artistes
Favorite Quote: "Sometimes the wrong train takes you to the right destination" - The Lunchbox, Bollywood movie, 2013
Payal was born and raised in an actor's family in Kolkata India. This will be her very first YKB experience and she is stoked to be initiated into this vibrant tribe. Payal is a multi faceted artist. She started writing poetry early in life and progressed to becoming a fiction writer. Her flash fiction and poetryis published all over US and UK. A playwright, actor, director, singer, CPA, single mom to two beautiful children and a serial goof with a passion for life, Payal is sometimes all of the roles she plays. Payal is sometimes none of the roles she plays. Payal is unfolding..right here in San Diego.
Payal's candid commentary "Between Time and Spaces"
Favorite quote: "Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." - GB Shaw
Born and raised in India, in an Air Force family, Preeti was bitten by the travel bug at an early age. Having lived in multiple cities, she has been exposed to myriad sub-cultures and experiences. It has given her the ability to make new friends, and settle into a new place quickly while maintaining relationships that transcend distance and time. That journey started with setting foot in Oregon 18 years ago, followed by Washington and now continues in sunny California, with many vistas still calling. Books have been a constant companion which take her on many escapades, real or imagined and she can be found browsing in a bookstore in her spare time; her favorite genre being historical fiction. Preeti has a passion for Interior Design, loves to put things in order and finds joy in color. She is intrigued by psychology and the human condition. It gives her an insight into human behavior and why people do the things they do! Habits, attitudes, values or the lack thereof, intrigue her. An ideal day at home would be, relaxing in her garden, admiring her plants and the marvel of nature, with a great book to read and a cup or two of hot tea.
Surrounded by loads of testosterone at home, with her husband, two very active teenage boys, and a canine fur-ball, fate guided her to Yoni ki Baat in 2009. Since then, there’s been no looking back! She has formed a special bond with her Yoni sisters and finds it her sacred space, empowered by dynamic women. Preeti wrote and performed in 2013 in Seattle, and again in 2015 at YKB launch in San Diego. As co-director of YKB San Diego 2016, she is honored to bring to you a wonderful collection of true, personal stories performed by seven bold, strong and amazing women!
Preeti Malhotra Co-Directors Sudeshna Sathe Dixit