Khayali Pulao: Dreaming up the Family



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Khayali Pulao is a collection of poetry and prose that weaves my family’s oral accounts into a non-linear family history. The title, an Urdu phrase that could be translated as “Imagined Pilaf,” typically used to describe far-fetched figments of imagination, reflects how the “authenticity” of this history lies in its strokes of fiction. Time is far from logical in this history, and mythology is commonplace stuff—in one poem, my grandmother’s indigo sari becomes a present from the Hindu deity, Krishna. Although I draw from public and private archives, citing texts, photographs, and films, I allow imagination to be my primary archive, and honor the blind-spots and half-truths memory creates when we narrate our selves.



Poetry, Fiction, History, Archives, Translation, Memoir, India, South Asia, Post Colonial