Tag Archives: acceptance

Film still from 'The Last Conception'

Love, Laughter, and Surprises in Indian-American Rom-Com ‘The Last Conception’

Graced by humor, Gabriela Ledesma’s The Last Conception seeks to spread the radiance of humane values amidst its laughable moments. It is the story of the Sikand family, whose quirkiness mixed with their sweetness, takes you on an eighty-five-minute exhilarating ride.

Film poster for 'The Last Conception'
Film poster for ‘The Last Conception’

Meet the Sikands and know their story

Savarna (Nazanin Mandi), an Indian-American young woman, is an embryologist at an IVF lab. Her parents Davidia (Marshall Manesh) and Mira (Veena Bidasha) have burdened her with the responsibility of getting married and having a baby to carry on the bloodline. 

The parents present their arguments to convince Savarna.

a) Her sister Chitra (Lovlee Carroll) is barren, and she and her husband Mike (Josh George) have adopted a child who is not part of their lineage.

b) Her cousins from India, who were in the race to grow the family tree, have died in an accident. So they have no other option but to pin all their hopes on Savarna to carry out this task.

A bombshell drops when Savarna announces that she is gay and in a serious relationship with her Caucasian-American partner Charley (Callie Schuttera). 

After some initial disappointment and drama, Savarna’s parents accept her sexuality. But Savarna’s mom is still insistent that she has to have the baby some way or the other. Tension brews with the arrival of Savarna’s grandmother, who comes from India with a spiritual assistant to ensure that Savarna gets pregnant.

A big surprise greets the Sikand sisters when they learn that they are Buddhists and not Hindus. Their parents reveal that they are the direct descendants of Gautam Buddha, and the child born to Savarna is the only hope to maintain the sacred family name. It is speculated that the new baby could even be Buddha reincarnated!

Savarna, with the approval of her family, gets married to Charley. But will she give her parents the grandchild that they have been waiting for? Join the lovable Sikands till the finish line to know about it all.

A humorous plot and brilliant performances make the film enjoyable.

There is never a dull moment in The Last Conception. The humor is not forced and flows spontaneously through the dialogues and actions. The actors need to be credited for doing justice to their parts as they ably contribute to keeping the laughter ball rolling. They perform with natural ease, and that’s what keeps the comic elements alive.

I laughed when Chitra stumbled between the words lineage and linen!

Then there is Savarna’s boss Jackson (Matt Richards) at the IVF lab who, while putting the samples in the freezer, called them babies.

The family moments are captured naturally, and the scenes fit into the right places.

Husbands and wives can act extremely silly when they argue over trivial things, and Savarna’s parents are no exception. In one such scene, Davidia snubs his wife when she simply inquires why he is breathing so hard. 

Charley, surprised, asks Savarna if she has more than one father when her father knocks at their door and announces “It’s your Dad. Davidia.”

Close on the heels of one another, there is a refreshing shower of humorous moments that keep one thoroughly entertained.

Film still from 'The Last Conception'
Film still from ‘The Last Conception’

It’s all there in a solid script!

Thanks to screenwriter Gabriel Constans, there is so much that is tenderly handled in the story. The idea of the divine child is a rather unique paradigm that offers freshness to the script. Constans maneuvers the story artistically with a twist at the end that one would anticipate the least. 

Besides the humor that flows perennially throughout the film, we experience a family camaraderie that is so heartwarming. Also, the concept of multiculturalism blends beautifully into the story. After Savarna surprises the family by telling them about Charley, her sister casually remarks: “Takes the heat off me for marrying a white guy!” But we see no traces of ill will towards any culture or community. Instead, a thought rings loud that humanity flourishes by embracing diversity. 

The film addresses the LGBTQ perspective through the story of Savarna and Charley without any spoken words, sending a message that love, respect, and acceptance can create wonders and pave the road to happiness.

It’s all about laughter, kindness, warmth, and affection in The Last Conception, and it’s this sweet package that leaves you with a feel-good experience at the end.


Rashmi Bora Das is settled in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA. She has written for various platforms including Women’s Web to which she regularly contributes. You may visit her at www.rashmiwrites.com.


 

Being Thankful & Keeping My Sunny Side Up

Fall is my most favorite season of the year. I love seeing the leaves of trees change colors, and the pleasantly mild temperatures encourage me to take long walks. As we celebrate Thanksgiving at the end of November, we reflect on our blessings in life. This year, it has become all the more important to be grateful for all that we have, with the world being caught in the grip of an invisible monster that is shaking the world!

Every day, I wake up with a thought that is not at all comforting. A question arises as to how long the cloud of uncertainty will be hovering over us. It was mid-March when I first wrote an article on the COVID-19 situation, and 8 months later, we are still battling it.

In the wake of this crisis, the issue of mental health is one of grave concern. What has emerged as a very crucial requirement for all of us is the need to be happy. I don’t know if it’s the few strands of gray that have made me older and wiser, but the pandemic has made me look at life from a different perspective. I’m pleasantly surprised that I have emerged as a more optimistic person than I was before.

Learning is a continuous process, and at times, certain events or circumstances reinforce what we have learned in the past with even greater strength. If I were asked what are the values the world needs to learn the most from the pandemic, I have an instant answer. Gratitude, positivity, and acceptance are the values we need to embrace. I have definitely made them my mantras.

We pass the test of humanity when we conduct ourselves with grace and dignity during turbulent times. For a change, let’s divert our minds from the negatives and focus on the brighter side of what life has to offer. This is my personal viewpoint, yet I am confident that there will be many who will identify with me.

The pandemic has definitely turned our lives topsy-turvy, but we could be in a much worse situation. I came across a beautiful piece “Be Happy You Weren’t Born in 1900” which asks the reader to imagine a hypothetical scenario of being born in 1900 and living through a spate of unfortunate historical events. The story starts with the beginning of World War I on one’s 14th birthday and ends with the conclusion of the Vietnam War upon turning 75. The examples of the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Cuban missile crisis are also put in that timeline. Truly, would it have been easy for someone to live through tragedies that happened so close on the heels of one another?

Although it is the human tendency to complain, we need to take into account all that we have at this moment. If there’s a roof over our heads and food at the dining table, we need to consider ourselves blessed. One should be happy if there’s a monthly check coming home rather than evaluating how satisfying or not his or her job is. If we are together with our family members, we need to appreciate those moments.

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” goes the proverb. It is certainly possible that we can beat a lot of the current COVID-related stress with a positive attitude. What can be a more opportune time to unravel and discover what we are capable of doing in order to sail through this storm with ease? And along with discovering our creative sides, we need to add that special dose of humor to make our days even sunnier!

Writing has always been my passion, and I have utilized this period to the fullest in order to give vent to my creative side. I have written more than I ever did because I have been spending a lot of time at home. My daily schedule has been a disciplined one, with daily yoga and pranayama being added to the routine.

So many people are discovering their hidden potential! It will perhaps not be an exaggeration to say that the world is buzzing with new singers, chefs, poets, artists, and other talented individuals during the corona crisis! On my family front itself, it is so heartwarming to see that my 24-year-old boy and my nieces have turned into accomplished chefs during this period. So isn’t it time for me and my sister-in-law to rejoice that our kids are ready to take over the kitchen and give mommy a break? One of my nieces has also rediscovered her childhood love for painting and has come up with brilliant pieces of art.

All human beings under the wide sky need to be treated as equals. As much as we know that, we tend to forget. As COVID-19 is holding the world in its frightening grip, the whole of humanity is on the same footing. The invisible monster has not made any distinction with respect to gender, status, race, religion, or sexuality. If this is not the time to practice kindness and acceptance, I don’t know when it’ll ever be.

Every small action counts. If we can spread some happiness by giving others a listening ear to their problems or perform some act of kindness, let’s do so. We all need to shed labels, cast aside prejudices of all types, and accept our fellow beings for who or what they are.

Adversity does not last forever. There will always be light at the end of the tunnel. All that we need at this moment is patience and composure. The mosaic of our lives is made up of all those small pieces that contribute towards making it a meaningful whole. So let us live in the moment and raise a toast to the tiniest of things that bring us happiness and make us smile, for the rainbow after the storm will definitely emerge!

Here’s to wishing all a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Be thankful and stay blessed!


Rashmi Bora Das is settled in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA. She has written for various platforms including Women’s Web to which she regularly contributes. 

Remote: GUAA Winners Discuss Representation

The representation of the Asian American community is in a perpetual state of evolution — much like the community itself. Every age of immigrants must forge their own narrative, from leaving behind the securities of their motherland to confronting racial stereotypes. Read 11th grader Arya Das’s essay, Remote, where she discusses the generational ties between her father and herself amid a changing America. This essay won the ‘Best In Class’ award in the ‘Growing Up Asian In America’ contest. 

America Is Not Complete Without Us by sixth-grader An Ly

Remote

I pick up the remote control, flip through the channels, and count off the characters.

One geeky sidekick whose glasses lay atop his large, angled nose. Two simple-minded shop owners who speak with the same broken English that my grandparents have struggled to leave behind. Three caricatures. The comedic relief whose awkwardness is overlayed by laugh tracks. They all look like me, and they have never had a story of their own.

This must be why the people at school giggle amongst themselves with their hands together in prayer, nodding side to side and grinning like fools. I fail to see the humor in the familiar way they drum their d’s like a tabla, imitating Apu from the Simpsons but reflecting my relatives and loved ones. Flipping through the channels, these are the jokes that they see. Confusion bubbles up inside me, but all I can manage is a small laugh. This is what I have learned. When my father immigrated to America over 20 years ago, he counted. He counted down the days, working as a hotel dishwasher to pay for engineering school and dreaming of moving to the heart of innovation and technology. He left behind security for hope.

There are unfathomable sacrifices that every immigrant has made for the future of themselves and their children. These sacrifices cannot be brushed aside. My father’s story wasn’t written out for him, but he picked up a pen and set to work. I asked him one day, now that he has raised us in the Bay Area and works as an engineer, whether he feels prejudice. Whether he even has to think about his accent. I didn’t expect him to say yes. He recounted the investors, associates, and superiors who turned him down, seeing him primarily as his race, completely remote from his credentials. Does his accent make him stupid? Is he unintelligent for learning a new language by himself, for moving across the world and working as hard as he can? He told me it’s okay, that he just picks himself up and moves on to the next person. This is how he survives. This is what he has learned. Even when living in the Bay Area and knowing that TV portrayals are a stark contrast from the people in our lives, these stereotypes still sting us in a million little ways.

However, equality is no longer a remote dream. Acceptance must be the story we write every day, the narrative that drives our future. The next generation will see us when they flip through the channels. We can help them recognize that they span beyond the control of others’ expectations, into arts, innovation, and vivid colors. We count, and we need them to know that they count, too.


Image: The artwork, entitled, America Is Not Complete Without Us, was created by sixth-grader An Ly. 

Essay: Remote was written by eleventh grader Arya Das.