Defining Basanti

Who is Basanti?

Truth be told, I don’t know.

I can tell you some facts I’ve learned about her.

What happens when “home” feels unfamiliar? When you’re forced to refocus your eyes to better see yourself?

Born in India, Basanti moved to Minnesota as a one year old after being adopted by two white parents. She spent her childhood and adolescence in Minneapolis. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, she moved to the East Coast (Rhode Island and Boston) for work. She then found herself calling Chicago home for a few years before heading back east to pursue her master’s degree. Nonprofit work sent Basanti back to Chicago for a year before eventually coming back to Minnesota.

Technically, Basanti is an Indian woman—raised by white parents in the Midwest—who found community in communities of color outside her home state. But she’s more than that, right?

She’s a woman who defined—and is still defining—herself through constant movement and transitions. After going from city to city, she came back home only to realize that home was no longer familiar.

The other cities had changed her. Her life experiences had changed her. Her friendships had changed her. But most of all, she changed herself.

The place she called home for so many years felt strange and unwelcoming.

But the time has come when Basanti begins to remerge; when she begins to crack out of her old shell and old confinements. The time has come where Basanti has decided to reclaim the places and spaces she calls home. Now, as she builds her community, she builds herself.

So, who is Basanti?

I don’t know.

But, for the first time in a long time, she’s confidently defining that for herself.