Megs: A Mixed Tape + A Spicy Sweet

A portrait from Brooklyn, Hyderabad and Plymouth

Keeping with the theme of Cultures Capsules, we’ll play a game of If Megs Were a Food + If Megs Were a Playlist…).

Try them for yourself, too. They are both fun to play.


Mixtape of Megs

“But why can’t there be a radio station that plays classic rock and new songs I like, and even oldies that I like? Why do radio stations have to be so separate?”

I remember asking this of my mom as we drove up the highway in southern Massachusetts. The forced segmentation frustrated me, and I told her I was going to make a station that allowed me to play what I wanted to play, outside of definitions.

In the meantime, I created gloriously eclectic mixtapes, complete with covers I made of magazine cutout collages.

mixtapes from high school in the 1990s

I continued then I was a DJ at WZBC


Megs: The Food

That’s an easy one. If I were a cookie, I’d be Garam Masala Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, because at first glance I might just look like a simple, traditional cookie, but I pack some spice, both in terms of identity and personality.

As the saying goes: you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.

I might look like a plain-jane, blue-eyed white girl, but my existence and experience belies that.

In raising two multi-racial children along with my South Indian husband, we are navigating (each of them, and us as a family) an existence that my own DNA tells me I’m not part of.

And more importantly, beyond DNA, we are multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-lingual… we don’t fit neatly inside the boxes. Maybe you feel the same? It’s one of the things that lead me to creating Cultures Capsules.

If you want a taste of what spiced-up traditional tastes like, try the below recipe for garam masala oatmeal cookies.

If I were a cookie Id be garam masala cookie magnet jewish food society event

The photo is from a Jewish Food Society event (fall 2019) where they had artists drawing quick caricatures of your response to “If you were a food, what would you be and why.” I already had my answer ready, of course.


Garam Masala Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Growing up, my favorite cookie was without question, oatmeal raisin. When I first tasted garam masala (care of my would-be husband, somewhere in my early 20’s), I immediately wanted to put it into my favorite oatmeal raisin cookie recipe. So I did, and I never made “plain” oatmeal raisin cookies again.

close up of garam masala oatmeal raisin cookies

Now, they have become our family’s signature cookie, and we not only make them often, but also keep some on hand in the freezer at all times, ready to slice and bake or eat as raw dough (Yes, raw eggs! But it’s too, good. Proceed at your own risk.).

garam masala cookies for days


Mixtape of Megs

But how to make a mixed tape for myself? Do I pick my desert island albums that I can’t live without? Or songs that somehow define me or hold a certain meaning? No. For this, I have only included songs that move me deeply, and have continued to do so across the decades.

A term paper assignment in college included Spiritual journey.. which I sectioned off by songs that represented certain times or milestones, (and turned in the soundtrack as a mixed tape, naturally). But none of those are included here, either.

Sure, some I’ve cried to (both in live performances or recordings), but tears are not the measure.

It’s also not simply a list of my favorite songs, or else there would be more Beastie Boys, Tori Amos, Hippocampe Fou and Leyla McCalla… and I would also have had to include favs from these other desert island albums not currently represented in the playlist Arun Ramamurthy Trio’s Jazz Carnatica, Buena Vista Social Club, and Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea .

These are the songs I feel feel in my body or feel pulled towards. I some cases I can’t yet pinpoint why. Some feel like they hold a secret for me; a secret that I will only be unlocked if I listen deeply enough, or learn to play it and sing it in my own voice.

It’s an eclectic bunch, and I embrace that. It’s real. Not to be boxed in!! From the profane (‘Nobody Speak’) to the cheesy (‘Dust in the Wind’), and from total mainstream (‘Jolene’) to wacky (‘Frontier Psychiatrist’).

But enough about me! Go explore lots more stories, or think about how to tell your own because I want to hear, see and taste YOUR story, too.