Our forefathers taught us well.
We got taught, how NOT TO GET INTO TROUBLE.
How to lie low.
How to play it safe.
How to avoid the fire.
Play the white game.
Wear the white clothes.
Change your name to Tom. Or John.
So it eases the barriers down.
And we did it.
Before us, our parents did it.
We rubbed off the bindis.
Traded the saris for blouses.
Our houses smell like curry, so we change before we head out.
Exhaust fans always on.
I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you apologise for the smell of your tuna.
I didn’t hear you apologise for your thick accent, the one I can barely decipher.
I didn’t hear you apologise for the skin you bare, so offensive to the culture I come from.
You don’t need to apologise.
It is who you are.
So why the fuck.
Are we apologising for who we are?
I blame us.
So now, when I order an latte, I don’t say “Kish” to make it easier for you to spell my name.
I say Karishma. So you learn it for the next Karishma.
I don’t tell my son to take off his rakhi, or hesitate to speak in Indian to him in front of you.
It’s not rude. It’s our language.
I cook up a curry storm and I invite you home for it.
We are us.
And the differences make us beautiful.
And who we are.
Erasing them, erases us.
And we are hollow inside.
Lost, confused and messed up.
Trying to be like you, but when we see ourselves in the mirror, we know can never be.