• Sonya on Surviving Cancer & Founding a Business

    Sonya was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 29, with no family history. She found out she had cancer while she was out of town and doing a self examination in the shower. That self breast exam changed her life. Soon after, Sonya underwent chemo and treatment, and decided to shave her head to take control of potential side effects. Frustrated with her headware options, she then founded her own turban company and has since been featured in magazines and on runways.

    Sonya has an incredible outlook on life and shares how she reframed her perspective in times of hardship. We absolutely loved learning from her resilience, and we’re confident you will too.

    Footnote: Throughout the episode, we talk about some things that are specific to the Ismaili Muslim community. Firstly, we mention “Hazir Imam” or “the Imam." Hazir Imam is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and Ismaili Muslims consider him to be their spiritual leader. Additionally, we refer to “Didar,” which Sonya attended in Atlanta. Didar is a special and rare event for Ismaili Muslims as this is when they get to see their Imam in person and earn guidance and blessings.

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    54m - Oct 27, 2021
  • Aaron on Growing Up with his Deaf-Blind Brother

    In this week’s episode, we’re so excited to host Aaron! Aaron and his family became stronger as a unit in the face of adversity. Aaron’s older brother is both blind and deaf, and suffers from many other health issues as well. As a result, Aaron spent significant time in and out of hospitals growing up. This fueled his long-lasting passion for medicine, improving the patient experience, and eventually starting a mentorship organization called Prescribe it Forward.

    Aaron chats with us about what growing up with his brother was like, what the Ismaili community has done well (and what it hasn’t) to include his brother, and how we can all be more empathetic to differently-abled individuals.

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    29m - Feb 2, 2021
  • Aashna on Bullying & Body Acceptance

    Content Warning: Bullying

    From a young age, Aashna faced insecurities about her appearance and her body, feelings exacerbated by bullying and unwanted comments from peers in Jamatkhana, in addition to media and its unachievable beauty standards. It wasn't long before Aashna realized that her environment was negatively impacting her mental health, and she had to make a change.

    Aashna embarked on a journey to body acceptance (not 'body positivity'). She learned to make difficult decisions about which individuals she needed to leave behind and which habits and practices worked well for her and her mental health. 

    Aashna shares how she has since learned to prioritize herself, find people who lift her up, and nurture her mental wellbeing. She shares her tips with us, as well as the important difference between body positivity and body acceptance. 

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    35m - Jan 19, 2021
  • Noor on Serving in the Military & Surviving Abuse

    Content Warning: Military Combat, Sexual Assault, & Domestic Violence

    Noor James was the first-ever Ismaili female West Point Academy graduate. She then served abroad as a First Lieutenant in the armed forces, where she was sexually assaulted, far from her family and support system.

    After returning to the US and earning her law degree, Noor married, but quickly realized her marriage was not safe for her after she was physically harmed by her partner. Noor’s decision to divorce impacted her mental health as she tried to understand her next steps.

    Shortly thereafter, Noor was happily in an interfaith and interracial relationship. After feeling sick on a trip, Noor found out that she and her boyfriend were expecting. Noor shares the rollercoaster of emotions she felt: happiness and excitement, but also anxiety about what her family and community members would think. Additionally, during another pregnancy later on, Noor suffered a miscarriage, and describes the impact this had on her emotional well-being.

    Noor’s story is full of resilience at every turn. We hope all of you learn from her and her immeasurable strength.

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    44m - Jan 5, 2021
  • Tazim on IVF and its Physical & Mental Challenges

    For the third episode of our motherhood series, we bring you a powerful story surrounding IVF and the challenges that accompany this process.

    At first, Tazim wasn't sure whether motherhood was right for her. She had a career and a life that she loved, and didn’t know if children were in the cards. Once she did decide that she wanted to be a parent, she wasn't able to get pregnant right away. She then pursued In Vitro Fertilization.

    In addition to the physical toll that IVF takes on the body, Tazim dives into the challenges that we don't often hear about. She shares how she had to tell her boss and all-male team at work that she would be late everyday due to her doctor's appointments. She shares how she pursued therapy to help her decide if she wanted to put her body through IVF a second time to give her son a sibling. She shares her internal conflict when deciding what to do with her embryos still in storage.

    Tazim's story is not uncommon, but it is often not discussed. We hope her story educates and inspires our listeners.

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    37m - Dec 22, 2020
  • Neelum on Delivering her Baby 5 Months Early

    At barely 23 weeks pregnant, Neelum was rushed to the hospital one night after significant bleeding. She was going into labor 5 months early.

    Neelum talks us through how she felt robbed of a traditional pregnancy, a baby shower, creating her child's nursery, and even packing a hospital bag. She also shares the significant obstacles her child had to overcome during his months-long stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The health challenges faced by both Neelum and her son were considerable, and she shares how we can better support mothers in positions like hers. She talks us through her emotional and nontraditional path to becoming a mother, and her resilience permeates throughout her story.

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    31m - Dec 8, 2020
  • Aliya on Divorce & Single Motherhood

    We are so excited to bring you the first guest of our motherhood series. Over the course of eight weeks, we will be spotlighting women whose paths to motherhood deviated from the traditional image.

    Today, we sit down with Aliya, who is the dictionary definition of resilience. Originally from Dallas, she moved to the Bay and got married at a relatively young age. When she realized the relationship was no longer fulfilling her, she pursued a divorce, but she always knew in her heart that she wanted to be a mom. So, she did her research, talked to other women and single mothers who had pursued similar paths, and had her son on her own. The journey, however, was not without its hardships. She shares how friends, family, and community members reacted, and what her and her son's relationships with the Ismaili community have been like.

    She is a brilliant, inspirational woman that we can all learn so much from. We’re so thankful she shared her story with us.

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    37m - Nov 24, 2020
  • Fazila on Being an NYC Frontline Worker & Freezing her Eggs

    It's our first episode of Season 2!

    Fazila is an ER doctor that served on the front lines during the height of the pandemic in New York City. She tells us how this impacted her mental health, after already having struggled with anxiety and depression throughout her life. She also shares her experience of working abroad in hospitals in Tanzania. 

    Plus, Fazila waited until nearly age 40 to get married and talks us through her decision to wait. She details the process of freezing her eggs and how it empowered her to control and take charge of her future. She gives advice for women who may be considering the IVF method. Her story is full of resilience, strength, and inspiration.

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    27m - Nov 10, 2020
  • Bonus Episode: Nadia from Indian Matchmaking

    In this bonus episode, we sit down with Nadia from Indian Matchmaking to reflect on her time on the show and her life since it aired.

    She dives into how she landed a spot on the reality show, how her family and friends reacted, and whether she was happy with the way that she was portrayed. She also shares what was "real" within the show, and whether or not cameras on dates hindered her from establishing connections. And, she opens up about the discrimination she faces, and faced on the show, for being Guyanese.

    Plus, Nadia answers some listener questions!

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    31m - Sep 29, 2020
  • Sheetal & Farheen Reflect on Season 1

    It’s our season finale! Join our co-hosts as they look back on their most challenging, most rewarding, funniest, and cringiest moments of Season 1. These two also share how this season has changed them, inspired them, and surprised them. 

    Plus, find out what to expect in Season 2!

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    15m - Sep 22, 2020
  • Nureen on her Partner's Conversion into Islam

    In part 3 of our interfaith series, Nureen discusses her previously interfaith (now same-faith) and interracial marriage. Her partner, Akil, is Trinidadian and converted to Islam and joined the Ismaili community.

    Nureen candidly shares what the conversion journey was like for them and the challenges they had to overcome throughout. She dives into the impact that Akil's embrace of Islam had and continues to have on her relationship and marriage, and what initially drew Akil to the Ismaili faith and the Ismaili Muslim community. Plus, she shares how Akil has now integrated into the Ismaili community.

    Note: Nureen makes references to ITREB throughout this conversation. ITREB is an Ismaili institution that oversees the conversion process and curriculum.

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    33m - Sep 8, 2020
  • Raeesa on her Hindu-Muslim Identity

    In part 2 of our interfaith series, Raeesa tells us what life was like growing up in her dual-faith household: her father identifies as a Maharashtran Hindu and her mother identifies as Ismaili. Raeesa and her brother were raised within both faiths, practicing each one and attending its festivals and rituals with regularity. Raeesa shares how this upbringing has shaped her views on organized religion, what part of each faith she has personally connected to and had challenges with, and how she hopes to engage with these faiths with her own future family. Now, Raeesa identifies as Hindu-Muslim, still actively partaking and finding meaning in both religions.

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    30m - Aug 25, 2020
  • Armina on Interfaith & Interracial Marriage

    Armina’s partner, Mike, is Catholic and identifies as white, while Armina identifies as a Pakistani Ismaili Muslim. She details their love story, how their families reacted, and what Mike’s presence and attendance at Ismaili events are like. Armina also discusses the unexpected challenges her marriage poses, as well as what her interfaith wedding ceremony was like.

    Plus, Armina explains what questions or comments she’s tired of hearing (hint: think babies and conversion). We also examine the fetishization of mixed beings and why that rhetoric is harmful. She ends with advice to anyone in a similar situation.

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    36m - Jul 28, 2020
  • Sahar on Sexual Assault, Grooming, & Consent

    Content Warning: Sexual assault and adult themes

    Sahar courageously shares her assault story from when she was 16 years old. She had suppressed these memories for the past 8 years, but tells us how confronting them, sharing her story, and accepting is part of her healing process. We discuss the concept of grooming: the act of manipulation by an older person who holds power over a minor. Sahar highlights that our community can often trivialize experiences with assault by making women question whether or not they really are victims, and she gives our listeners guidance on how to identify and understand key signs.

    Plus, we dive into “brown boy misogyny” and how certain expectations and attitudes can perpetuate harmful rhetoric and social habits. We talk openly about how this experience has impacted Sahar's self-esteem and her intimacy and trust in relationships. Lastly, Sahar outlines exactly what consent is.

    This story is hard to hear, but extremely necessary, as we don’t often enough have open dialogue about this, and this is the only way we can all do better and be more empathetic and helpful toward victims.

    Sahar's Twitter thread with her assault story: https://twitter.com/sxharw/status/1274434452492619781?s=10

    Brown Boy Misogyny article referenced: https://chelseacommunitynews.com/2020/06/29/unpacking-brown-boy-misogyny/

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    35m - Jul 21, 2020
  • Zain on Emigrating & Becoming Agnostic

    Zain emigrated to the United States from Pakistan when she was 15. Feeling unaccepted and isolated by her Ismaili peers, she distanced herself from the community, until she eventually wasn't part of it at all. Zain shares with us her immigrant story, her journey to becoming agnostic, and communities and practices that she found felt more like home than Ismailism did.

    Plus, Zain recently launched an organic, all-natural CBD skincare line, and is gifting products to two listeners! Tune in to hear more and find out how to enter.

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    29m - Jul 14, 2020
  • Safiyya on Societal Expectations of Women

    Safiyya, 33 and single, candidly shares all aspects of life as an unmarried Ismaili woman in her thirties, including how she feels about being set up, the inevitable truth of losing friends as they start families, her thoughts on her “biological clock” ticking, unapologetically not settling, and so much more. We discuss Safiyya’s drivers throughout her life - making a significant contribution to society and developing a strong career - and how women are fed narratives about marriage and motherhood being the pinnacle of life. Safiyya highlights that there are in fact many shapes outside the classic cookie-cutter option, and tells us how she has found fulfillment and happiness in the path she chose.

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    30m - Jul 7, 2020
  • Sanan on Transitioning & Gender Affirmation

    In this incredibly illuminating conversation, Sanan describes with stunning detail the journey of his gender affirmation. He dives into his feelings of gender and identity dysphoria throughout his childhood, reactions of his family, friends, and strangers in Jamatkhana, and the details surrounding his multi-step gender affirmation surgeries. Sanan tells us how his life has since changed, how he’s treated differently, and what he’s learned. Plus, Sanan excitedly shares the science and medical aspects of his transition, discussing his new body parts, his hormonal changes, and more.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: The questions asked of Sanan in this episode were discussed and vetted prior to recording. Please do not feel entitled to ask these same invasive questions to other trans individuals without being invited to do so.









    Explicit: Sexual Content & Adult Language

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    45m - Jun 30, 2020
  • Mishaal and Zarek on Colorism & Cultural Appropriation

    This week, we sit down with our friends Mishaal and Zarek to talk about the colorism that is so deeply entrenched in many minority communities, including our own. Mishaal breaks down why exactly colorism is so harmful, and how it feeds into anti-blackness. Zarek shares his personal experiences with Ismailis in other parts of the world, and how they perceive skin color so differently. Further, we discuss how South Asians both borrow from other cultures, and are victims of cultural appropriation. We also define gaslighting, and the unique way in which it is used as a manipulation tactic to trivialize the experiences of marginalized communities. Plus, we read listener stories surrounding their own experiences with colorism.

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    38m - Jun 23, 2020
  • Imran on Coming Out

    Imran, an openly gay Ismaili, came out to family and friends 15 years ago. He talks to Farheen and Sheetal about his adolescent struggles with his sexuality, "testing" his mom to gauge her views on homosexuality before coming out to her, how he came out, and the reactions he received. Imran also dives into how people and communities can better serve LGBTQ+ individuals. Plus, he offers advice to anyone currently questioning their sexual identity.

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    37m - Jun 16, 2020
  • Inaara on her Mental Health Struggles & How Our Community Could Do Better

    Inaara courageously shares her journey battling depression and anxiety—from accepting it, to telling her friends and family, to seeking help (and switching therapists three times). She also confronts common stigmas surrounding mental illness and her plans to bring trauma-infused care into the Ismaili community. Plus, she reveals the phrase that she often heard when sharing her struggles, and how it negatively impacted her healing.

    Episode Content Warning: Mental Illness

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    40m - Jun 9, 2020
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