Parul Desai


As Interviewed by Elan McMinn, March 15, 2014
"I donít have a dowry, but I have a degree."
Parul Desai

Introductory Profile: About Parul Desai

Parul Mahendra Desai was born in India during a time where female infanticide was widely used, along with the neglect of girls at young ages, often due to the thought that they would have to pay a dowry to who they married, and that they would lose that amount of potential work, when the woman left and moved with her husband. She and her family quickly moved to Zambia, and then back to India, and a lot of the time she would be away from her parents. Even through all this she finished her education from 1st grade through Medical school, only missing eighth grade,which caused her to always be at least a whole year younger than everyone else she went to school with. Not only did she finish school, but she did it well helping work in her parentís motel, cleaning rooms, and checking people in.

Born on July 4, 1965 in India, Mrs. Desai is about 5 foot 5 inches, dark brown hair, brown eyes, fully Indian (blood wise), kind, considerate, thoughtful, and in general a person with a positive mental attitude. She left India with her parents and brother to go to Zambia in 1968, when she was about two. After staying there for about 7-8 years, she left with her family in 1975, and then her parents left her and her brother in India with their grandparents, uncle, aunt and cousins for around 3 or 4 years. That was when their parents got their green card, and Mrs. Desai and her brother rejoined their parents and continued their everyday life in yet again another foreign environment. She got through high school, and then went to Wellesley Womenís College near Boston, Massachusetts from 1982- 1986, and after that she went to Tufts Medical School, in Boston from 1988-1992. Next she did her required residency at UC San Diego from 1992-1995. After that she did her fellowship from 1995-1998, and then shortly after in 1998, she moved to Austin where she currently resides.

My interview overall had a really relaxed tone of voice, in both me (despite my cold) and my interviewee. This is probably because she is my mom, and we recorded the interview inside of our house in not really formal clothing (comfy instead). Having the advantage of talking to my mom helped a lot because it made talking to her for such a long period of time easier, and also having that advantage also allowed me to assume some information, and not dragging the interview to over an hour (interview was 51 mins.). Having this really relaxed tone, I think made it so we were much more open, and it she seemed that she was eager to tell her stories, and so I think the overall effect of having a relaxed tone was a big help.

In general I thought the interview was a well-conducted, relaxed interview that had pertinent topics relating to social injustice, like the neglect of girls/female infanticide and the fact that my interviewee was away from her parents, not in a privileged area, and money was a small issue. This is why in conclusion I think that the events that were trying to be expressed in the interview were expressed, and that overall the interviewís questions were very helpful and contributing to the main needed events in the life of my mother, Parul Mahendra Desai.