Veera Ramayah4 April 2018
Have you ever walked into the wrong lecture during week 1 of the semester? There’s something about the anxiety and the irreplaceable feeling of everyone’s eyes on
you that nothing else can quite replicate.
If you explained the premise of the movie 127 Hours to any ‘third culture kid’, almost all of us would be able to substitute ourselves in for the protagonist. Being stuck between a rock and a hard place is a sentiment we know all too well.
Imagine being one-quarter Sindhi, one-quarter Bengali, one-quarter Tamil and one-quarter Telegu and not being able to speak any of the languages from these areas. Imagine being the colour of a perfectly blended hot chocolate from Standing Room, but sounding like a cup of tea with almost a whole bottle of milk poured in.
I’m known in most circles as the loud, extroverted one. I know how to make an entrance, and, like fireworks, you can almost always hear me before you see me. I am often asked about where I get my confidence from, and how I have the ability to seemingly be so “intense” all the time.
It is the year 1600 and India is dressed in the colours of the Mughal Empire. One of the world’s richest countries, it has a 23% share of the world economy. India opens her arms to the East India Company and over 200 years, royal colours of maroon and gold are forcibly replaced by white, blue and red. By the time the Company leaves in 1947, India has been turned into a poster child for third world poverty.
The evening we found out that my grand-uncle had been brutally taken from us, my childhood home no longer felt like home. The air hung heavy and the humidity that served as a reminder of the inevitability of summer, clung to my skin, making it hard to breathe.
Shakespeare once said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.” Although, he was probably referring to white names because we all know that Rose rolls off the tongue a lot easier than Mishti does.
Alien. That’s the best way to describe it. Being an immigrant often feels like you’re between a rock and a hard place. But the rock is the place you are now, and the hard place is fitting in. Always in between, always not quite there, mentally or physically. Physically, missing out on schoolies for a family trip back to the home that is spoken of at least once every family meal. Mentally, always worlds away, wrapped up in stories from family about faraway lands, of sights, smells and people that exist on what seems like an entirely different planet.
Veera Ramayah addresses white allies
Veera Ramayah on colourism
It’s raining outside. Stormy even. And, far in the distance, you can almost hear the faint chanting of “Grease lightning”.
Veera Ramayah on her education on colonialism
In an age where we can barely last the year without
buying a new smartphone and throw ageing possessions before they have a chance to decay, it’s puzzling why we still refuse to throw away the remnants of the toxic colonial mindset.
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