F for Flight. Friendship. Fight.

After years of living in rented houses marked by fish fried stealthily, by the many agarbattis left alight on window sills, by the swollen rooms that held their breath every time an owner turned up for inspection, and by houses denied to us for not being Brahmin; Amma & Appa built this home from theContinue reading “F for Flight. Friendship. Fight.”

G for Gumption

The first syllable of this word comes from nowhere in particular. Your tongue hangs about without really touching anything in the mouth, making room for its own stomach to gather the ‘guh’. Indeed, it’s a word that requires more than your mouth to say it. It needs the tightness of your fists & the firmnessContinue reading “G for Gumption”

H for hair

The men in my mother’s family inherited a love for gossip. In my father’s, they inherited the more dignified baldness. Ajja had shiny white hair growing at the back of his head, leaving the top shinily exposed. He had a small, round face with the faintest trace of uneven white stubble, like an incomplete gameContinue reading “H for hair”

I for Inventory. Intimacy.

One morning, I held a hot cup of tea in my hands after cutting 15 green chilies lengthwise. When the heat pulsating inwards began pouring outside, I couldn’t tell what was feeding what. When someone who doesn’t want to laugh, laughs — I look for the line of anger on their face that suddenly hides.Continue reading “I for Inventory. Intimacy.”

J for Jabya

Jabya smiling, Jabya laughing, Jabya crying, Jabya studying, Jabya singing – is a boy in love. Jabya doing homework is Jabya writing Shalu’s name on the slate. Jabya, in uniform, is Jabya dreaming of wearing t-shirt & jeans some day. Jabya who makes his friend wait while he combs his hair, who rubs powder onContinue reading “J for Jabya”

K for Konkani – K for Kannada

Children born of bilingual marriages occupy a strange position in schools, especially as subjects of raised-eyebrow discussions between teachers. But we are gifted in a way that the xeroxed products of Brahmanical endogamy can never understand. Our bodies are Ambedkar’s dream realised – it’s here that we have mixed & also carry a mixture ofContinue reading “K for Konkani – K for Kannada”

L for Los Angeles

As young children having recently moved to Bangalore in 1999, my cousins & I were fascinated with the Bangalore sky. It seemed like it was full of possibilities in a way we hadn’t learned to look for in other cities that we’d lived in. It was here that we fully grasped the idea of anContinue reading “L for Los Angeles”

N for Nuance

Image credits: @VMSonara via Twitter (Nuance defined as: noticing a very slight difference in meaning or someone’s feelings that is not usually very obvious) Bole toh, if a Savarna journalist accuses you, a Dalit writer – of not having nuance, it means that you are not smart enough to look beyond caste. It means thatContinue reading “N for Nuance”