New York City comedians and your favorite Desi boys, Usama Siddiquee and Pranav Behari highlight the South Asian American experience in their quirky, rowdy, crude yet jovial podcast, “Mango Bae”. I would recommend it to all ABCDs or even “the whites”, as Siddiquee and Behari promote it to. They created the show dedicated to the American Desi community to talk about the struggles growing up and assimilating, our uncles and aunties’ weird habits and cultural stigmas. It’s raw and very specific to the Indian culture, but also an outlet for others to understand the culture in a cheeky way, guaranteed to bring laughter and even some tears, from laughing too much.
Being a fellow American Born Confused Desi (ABCD), I highly related to this podcast. Listening to this podcast series felt so kindred, I thought they were my brothers poking fun at me, my mom, dad and cousins. Eating chicken masala with basic, non-absorbant white bread when there are no rotis left in the house, our dads not having any emotion while watching Frozen, having the standard limiting career options (Doctor/Lawyer/Engineer) are just a few of the examples of the similar quirks we have as South Asians. Then, they discuss more serious topics on colorism and racism within the Indian community, (mis)representation of Indians in western media, and Indian culture and artifacts stolen by the British.
I did not even know about some of these colorist stigmas in the community, so I was educated on some of these topics as well. They deep dived talking about how Indian comedians take the easy way out and using typical Indian stereotypes as a tool of comedy and in effect allowing the stereotypes to persist. Siddiquee and Behari prove that not only are they hilarious and unruly with trivial topics but also enlightening us on issues that are not regularly discussed in the popular media. I was both highly entertained and educated in this series.
Listening to this podcast, I was so proud of the representation they gave us. It was not specific to one type of Desi or one religion, as we are not only from India and practice Hinduism, we also practice different religions, traditions and come from several different regions in the South Asia, including Pakistan and Bangladesh.
To get a taste of this fruity and eccentric podcast, listen to Mango Bae on Spotify, Apple, or YouTube!
Written by: Ashley Karakal