Angrezi to Bhartiya

Non-fiction Apr 13, 2020

Dear 8th-grade-me,

Remember how much you detested relocating to India, from the USA, to settle in the land of mystical myriads and snake charmers? The unsettledness of Bombay nauseated you and so did the city stench. The new flavour palate you were forced to get used to caused you diarrhoea till no end and you missed the temperate suburbs of Jacksonville just as much as the subtle flavours of Chick-A-Fil and Wendy's. Remember the way your classmates mocked you just because your tongue rolled out words smoother than theirs? Aah, the agony of not understanding Hindi, let alone preparing for your Sanskrit orals. The way the cashier at your local grocery store smiled back at you timidly when you wished her a "Good morning, how are you doing today?", because you were used to smiling at random strangers back in the States? You realized that greetings weren't a customary norm everywhere and that you did so out of habit of your pure innocent heart. You didn't hold a candle to the smart Asian kids in Math, and you loathed the subject to no end. But what if I told you, a few years down the line, you would be the voice of the underprivileged, the host to many events, the best debater on team as well as the best orator on stage? That the same accent you tried to mellow down would be your strongest trait someday? What if I told you that you scored a whopping 96/100 in your Math as well as Hindi boards, and you beat your school topper? What if I told you, you inculcated greetings in your friend circle and nowadays they thank the autorickshaw driver every time they travelled in an autorickshaw? What if I told you, you could hog down pani puris faster than the street vendor could assemble them. That you found solace in the busy hustle of the city of lights, and even a day off of your frenzied and chaotic work schedule made you feel slothful and at times, sluggish? That you became best friends with perseverance and the never give up attitude. Would you stop feeling sorry about moving back? Because I certainly am not sorry. In fact, I think I've found my second home, here in the heart of Bombay. And maybe I'm guilty as charged for loving this second home a wee bit more than the first one?

Unapologetic American Indian,
Shreya Patil

-Shreya Patil

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