She left Pakistan when she was six. But Los Angeles-based actress Dilshad Vadsaria, of Indian and Portuguese descent, says she has vivid memories of Pakistan - of spending quality time with her family watching Bollywood films and of feeding vultures!
"I have vivid memories of Pakistan. Strange, since I was so young, one of the many things I remember is how social everything was and how everything revolved around family, every day. Now, everyone is spread out across the world, quite different from the roots.... Oh, and I miss feeding the vultures, with my sister! Who wouldn't?" the 25-year-old Dilshad told IANS in an email interaction from the Hollywood hub.
"Some very fond memories I have is that of my entire family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins) sitting down on the ground, turning off the lights, and enjoying Bollywood movies. The songs, the dancing, the out-of-the-ordinary lives of the characters. It was wonderful for us to be able to have that time together, to enjoy these movies together. What a great gift to give to people," she added.
Dilshad, who will be seen in Sony Pictures Entertainment's 30 Minutes or Less, releasing Sep 30, spent her childhood travelling. After living in Karachi, she stayed in different parts of the US - Chicago, Illinois, Richmond, Virginia and Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.
"(In Pakistan) I lived in Karachi. Education was always a big thing in my family. It drove the difficult decision, on my parents' end, to leave everything they'd ever known and move to a different culture, a different world really, in order to provide for their children the absolute best in education and as many opportunities as possible," she said.
The young girl chose acting as her field and studied in New York. But did she always have Hollywood dreams?
"I think for me, the imaginary world was always exciting. I started in New York doing theatre, from having just one person in an audience to performing for a full house. I think I've always enjoyed playing different characters, blending into different environments and such. So for me, it can be theatre or being in LA or in some other part of the world, as long as I can explore storytelling and human connection through storytelling, I'm quite content," said Dilshad, who started her small screen career with Vanished in 2006.
Later, she bagged a role in TV series Greek, and even featured in other shows like NCIS, Bones and CSI: Miami. She has even featured in a 2006 film Rapture. Now Dilshad harbours larger dreams as an actor.
"I think I have so much more to accomplish in this world of acting. There are many different types of characters I want to play. I want to keep making people laugh and I want to explore dramatic roles as well. If something comes down the pile which is a good fit, a great story, then of course! Definitely not out of the question," she said.
Her other wish is to travel to India.
"I have yet to travel to India. I do look forward to it one day, and hopefully soon. One of the things on my list to do is to travel to Kashmir to go skiing... gosh, that would be amazing... to go to Goa and Mumbai," said the excited Dilshad, who credits her parents with instilling an Indian ethos in her despite her upbringing abroad.
"My parents have always been very concerned of making sure we know who we are and where we come from. I have to give them credit for that. Knowing your roots is quite important."