Songs. Songs are a kind of language, a time travel, a photograph. ABBA’s GOLD album, a road back to a kitchen. My mother stands at the stove making hot hot rotlis. I am pigtailed, pinafored, after school grubby, potbellied hungry. Fingers coated in atta dust and sticky bhindi.
Mama but what do I say when they ask me?
Beta you say we are Gujarati.
But nobody knows what that is and then they make fun of it. Last time I tried and they said: Gujalati, Punjabi, Mangali, Karang Guni, Gundusamy
Beta, they are just being stupid.
Mummy but they are my friends and I don’t want them to make me feel…
Are these children your friends? They don’t sound like they are nice to you. Friends should be nice to you. Ok move now, I have to finish making lunch I don’t have all day.
Gujalati Punjabi Mangali Karang Guni, Gundusamy.
What? Stop feeling so sad na beta. Come listen to this song. You can pretend to be like this girl, she doesn’t let anyone bully her. She’s invincible.
My feet pattering next to hers like tiny white pebbles trying to stop sadness from crashing into shore.
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