In the last few years, we've started to see a lot more South Asians in pop culture. For me and the rest of my generation of desi-Americans who grew up in a void of representation, it's an exciting moment to finally see people who look like us and share our stories on screen. However, by always presenting straight, white women as brown mens' love interests, shows like Master of None and films like The Big Sick tend to tweak, rather than challenge, prevailing narratives of whiteness. Furthermore, these works exclude brown women or present them as burdensome, caricatured, and unattractive options.
As a desi woman, I've been frustrated by this pattern. I started imagining what it would have been like if the rom coms I grew up with featured anyone who looked like me, and the idea for the illustrations was born. It was featured on Buzzfeed India last summer.