Last week I caught up with a mum.
She’s conscious about joining her playgroup.
She’s the only Asian in a fully Caucasian playgroup.
I casually said to her, “I’m so used to being the only Indian, it doesn’t even phase me. I feel like I’m special because of it. You know, I have the secret ticket because I’m the one they need when they have a trip to India on the cards, or an Indian dinner with a real masala kit.”
But looking back, I realise I’d forgotten.
What that felt like.
If he didn’t like me because my skin was brown.
If they didn’t want to befriend me because I had curry for lunch.
If I didn’t get the job because of my first name.
If the neighbours gave me a weird look because of our family colours.
If the lady on the plane was rude to us because of my in laws accent.
If my clients ever judged me before I could present to them.
Now I know.
16 years of teenage-dom into adulthood, relationships with men who weren’t Indian, friends who asked me so many questions about those Gods and being a vegetarian, work mates wanting to be invited home for dinner and neighbours who want to cuddle my son.
Now I know.
2 simple things.
There is a 99.9% chance people aren’t concerned with my colour, if anything, it intrigues them.
Regarding the other .1% – if they are concerned with it, it is purely their concern. I’m better off not having their approval and proximity in my life.
The race card made me push through, forced me to see people and get to know them and make them home to me.
When people say Australia is racist, it makes me sad. It might make the headlines, but there are other stories that don’t.
A long time ago, V and I were just a typical Indian couple in a little flat which did smell like curry. And when we needed a mattress for our guests, V asked his very, very, very Australian boss for one. Matt drove over to ours, dropped off the mattress and has to date, always caught up for coffee and breakfast with V.
Kim & Greer taught V to open doors for the ladies and ask them if they need their bags carried. Greer helped him choose earrings for me when she find out we were first dating. She offered us her baby’s cot for Aru.
And me? I’ve always been loved, I built a business on this love – in this country with no family connections to get me started. 5% of our business would be Indian clients. The rest? Every other colour.
Racism is easier to find if you’re looking for it.