In 'When She Married Dr Patekar', Nidhi Thakur Brings Tales Of Diaspora

When She Married Dr Patekar and Other Stories include global desi tales on diaspora experiences of missing India and braving it on foreign lands in a post-9/11 and pre-WhatsApp world

Nidhi Thakur
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Nidhi Thakur

When She Married Dr Patekar and Other Stories include global desi tales on diaspora experiences of missing India and braving it on foreign lands in a post-9/11 and pre-WhatsApp world! The title story creates a fictional biopic of a famous Bolly diva! Largely female protagonists cover topics of marriage, divorce, childhood trauma, racism, and empowerment. 


Here's an excerpt from Nidhi Thakur's When She Married Dr Patekar and Other Stories

Once, she went to get her hair done at a salon. As the stylist- a young white woman, threw a black plastic cape-like thing around Mehak’s neck, sitting under the bright white illumination from the sizeable square light fixtures, Mehak caught a glimpse of her own side profile in one of the large mirrors that covered most walls of the salon. She then looked straight at the front mirror to notice

that the stylist was busy gathering her assortment of scissors of different sizes on a side cart and took no special notice of her esteemed client. When the stylist started the trimming, Mehak smiled at her in the mirror and said,

“Do you work here every day?”

“I do, except on weekends. On weekends, I wait tables in Louisville. I have little twins. I drop my kids at my mother’s there and work.” She carried on snipping hair here and there.

Mehak’s impulse was to enquire about the father of the twins, but instead, she said, “Louisville? That’s not close by.” 

“It’s an hour and a half drive. Not bad. My boys love the drive. Though, on the way back on Sundays, they are usually sleepy. So, they sometimes cry.”


“Oh!” Mehak was sorry for the kids, for the stylist, and for the grandmother too. 

“It’s not that bad. I like my work here, though.”

After a moment’s silence, Mehak said it. She wanted to say this. 

“You watch any Indian films ever?”

“You mean Bollywood?”



“Yeah, I once had a boyfriend who gifted me two CDs of Bollywood movies. I love the dancing. And the singing. And the costumes.”

Then she stopped cutting the hair and looked up at Mehak in the mirror. 

“You’re from India?” She asked. 

“Yes. Yes.” Mehak beamed a big smile and deepened her gaze at the stylist in the mirror. But there was the usual nod and nonchalance on that young face of a mother of small twins.

Then Mehak added, “You’ve seen Love Aur Pyaar?” This was one of her most popular movies, with many English-speaking characters to caricature the Canadian Indian immigrants from Punjab. The movie was popular on two continents.

“I’m not sure…if I’ve seen that one.” The stylist said in a disinterested drawl.


“Well, if you can, you must watch it.” Mehak insisted. And then she added, “I was the heroine in that.”

She watched the stylist’s face for any signs of gleeful surprise. But instead, the stylist kept nodding and picking up the dryer. Then, as the whirring of the dryer began, Mehak bit her lower lip and closed her eyes. 

After a few moments, switching off the dryer, with practiced joy, searching for a happy look of approval on Mehak’s face, the stylist said, pointing towards Mehak’s hair, “You like it? Look at you; you look nothing less than a Bollywood star!”

Mehak nodded. 

She planted a crisp ten-dollar bill as a tip in the hands of the stylist and left the salon.

People in Lexington have their own lives. They have their own histories and own stories to write. They even have their own heroes and villains. She is not the star of their galaxy. This would need getting used to. It is hard.

Extracted with permission from Nidhi Thakur's When She Married Dr. Patekar and Other Stories; published by Hawakal Publishers

When She Married Dr Patekar