A lot of my recent writing and thoughts are about how I have a hard time being in spaces. I’m pulled in so many different directions. Being the child of immigrants and not knowing where my “home” is actually located has brought about a lot of mourning. I’m too American to fit into Indian spaces, and I’m too Indian to fit into American spaces. I am coming to learn that multiple truths can exist in the same space at the same time; much of that learning has come through how I express myself through words.
At a Glocal Gathering in 2017, a template was handed out to answer the question, “Where am I from?” When white folk ask me this question it has let to heated arguments. But being given this template to ask myself this very question? Using my words to answer that question for myself was filled with both joy and sorrow, for the things that could never be, but also incredibly liberating for telling myself who I AM.
Where are you from? What can you do with this template to tell your story? What are the places, spaces, and people that have created you into your I AM?
I am from the sindoor that used to part my mother’s hair.
I am from garam masala and white Barbie dolls.
I am from the middle of the suburbs
sanitized, antiseptic, where all the houses look the same.
I am from a tulsi plant my mother could never keep alive
once fragrant, an aphrodisiac that I wanted to rip from the soil and consume,
dirt still clinging to its roots.
I am from pujas and silence,
from Subin and Shanti.
I am from miscommunication and the pendulum swing of emotions,
from being told education would be everything to not being enough.
I am from Durga, Lakshmi, Sarswati,
the goddesses of war, wealth, education.
I am from a land I have never called my home
of laddoos, jalebis, and
the fois gras my father taught me how to cook from his deathbed.
From the saris rarely worn by my mother,
some hiding away
some on walls
some with threads in the fabric unraveling with time…
defining the life we thought we had here
yet desperately trying to remember the places we called