Mumbai's Mahilas: Violet Doshi

Pictured Above: Violet Doshi and her Children.
Pictured Above: Violet Doshi and her Children.

Ellen Guo (EG): Can you tell me about where you grew up and where you have lived?

Violet Doshi (VD): I am originally from Taiwan. I met my husband, who is Indian, in Taiwan and then moved to Mumbai with him, where I have lived for 18 years.

EG: How do you feel that your cultural identity has been affected?

VD: I feel that I am half-Indian now. I've really adjusted to life here-I enjoy the food and I've grown to even enjoy the monsoon. My language has particularly improved, as I didn't speak much English when I first came here. In the first two or three years, I didn't have the courage to speak to people. To do anything, I had to ask for my husband's help. But gradually, my English improved and now I have no problems at all.

EG: Can you tell me about your job?

VD: Here, I have been working as a Mandarin teacher and a tour guide for Taiwanese and Chinese businesspeople who are visiting Mumbai. I take care of all their travel plans, including bus, hotel, and meals, and I give tours of South Mumbai. I formerly worked with Inchin Closer, an India-China language and culture centre.

EG: Do you feel that India has accepted you, even though you are not of Indian descent?

VD: Yes, absolutely. Everyone is very friendly, especially to foreigners. Yes, sometimes people will try to cheat you, but that happens everywhere, in every city all over the world. Otherwise, people are very friendly to foreigners.

EG: Professionally, have you experienced any gender-related discrimination or obstacles?

VD: A little bit. With some people, I find that they are more likely to listen to a man and will take them more seriously than a woman.

EG: What are you currently reading?

VD: I generally read a lot of news, particularly about India, China, and Taiwan. There is a young Taiwanese woman located in New Delhi who writes articles in Chinese analysing relations between these countries; I find her articles to be very good.

EG: What's your favourite cuisine?

VD: Chinese-style stir fried vegetables. I also really enjoy South Indian food.

EG: What advice do you have for someone who is settling down in a new country and culture?

VD: First, you need to like the place, the food, the people. You need to tell yourself that everything is good, even when things are frustrating. For example, the noise here was originally very uncomfortable but I've become accustomed to it. So, really focus on the positive things and ignore the negative things-this is the only way to keep an open mind and learn about your new country.

Mumbai's Mahilas is an interview series conducted by Ellen Guo, Programme Development Intern, Asia Society India Centre. The series explores the experiences of women of pan-Asian descent who are living and working in India, highlighting the unique narratives of these multicultural women. Interviews delve into professional and cultural experiences, covering their backgrounds, interests, challenges, and advice for other women. Any views or opinions presented in this series are solely those of the individuals and do not represent those of the Asia Society India Centre.