Sunday, April 19, 2015
When I think of home, I see the sea. I do not know what it means to feel like I belong more in water than I do on land. Bayu, my motherland, was named after the wind god Vayu, who scattered Sanskrit into Malay, daughters into diaspora. Sometimes I ask Vayu to tell me more of his antics when he blew my great-grandfather away from Khyber Pass and left a void in two worlds. Sometimes I ask him if he remembers teasing my mother's hair before she wore the hijab to answer a Call louder than any man's command. At times, I understand the wind more than anyone else because his tongue is always shifting. It only took me two years to cultivate an accent. See, I can be British, North American, regional creole, but only in my mouth. My face is too foreign to belong in one culture. Neither here nor there. When I put my hands in baba's and it's just us walking together at the market, I am either his mistress, or an adopted child. There is no resemblance, they say, so you must not be his. When I strut alongside my mother crossing the street, we are either carbon copies or sisters, but always 'other'. There is too much resemblance, they say, but too brown to be Malay, too strange to belong. But we all speak the same language, so I guess we are allowed to pretend that we are indeed, home.