FLASH FICTION FRIDAYS
Here is the next installment of "Flash Fiction Fridays." Another Shaira misadventure. Enjoy!
"Sari Not Sari"
“You know this is an Indian show, right?”
No, bitch. I don’t recognize brown people when I see them.
That was the first thought that popped into my triggered brain, but I use my filter on occasion.
When I get monosyllabic, you’ve fucked up.
Moments like this are why I roll my eyes when my mother guilts me into going to family gatherings. “But they’re your family, Shaira.” Famous last words when you know you’re going into the lion’s den of assholes.
They’re not all assholes. I agreed to see my mother’s second cousin’s kid from Mumbai because my favorite cousin, Neelam would be there. With my focus on seeing her, I got in the car. My aunt’s cooking was another incentive to make the trek to dodge judgment and random insults.
After a scrumptious Tandoori chicken, I planted myself in the living room where the spectacle of a Bollywood award show played out on television. I enjoy a Bollywood film from time-to-time, so I was interested. Since I enjoy movies, I am a student of all kinds of cinema. I know Bollywood films and eras.
Sometimes, I’m more interested in the clothes than the movies themselves. Since award shows are fashion fiestas, I watch. I spotted Priyanka Chopra in a sari. I love saris. I can’t tie one to save my life, but I love them. They’re just so feminine and beautiful. Now, this was when only Bollywood knew her. But even then, Priyanka Chopra could rock eastern and western looks with ease. When she got married, she wore a Sabyasachi Mukherjee lehenga for her Hindu ceremony, then a Ralph Lauren wedding gown for her Christian vows. I’m all about the East/West cross-pollination. I’ve proudly lived my life that way. Rather than me choosing it, it chose me.
So, even though I mostly grew up around white people, I recognize Indian people and Bollywood actors. My mother’s second cousin’s kid didn’t know me, but she assumed I didn’t know what a sari was or what other Indian people looked like, which led to her ridiculous question.
Again, she didn’t know me, so she didn’t recognize the mix of sarcasm and irritation in my voice from the word, yeah.
“Is it okay if we watch it?”
We weren’t at my house. Why would I care what we were watching?
Neelam sat in the middle of this tension, eating her dessert, looking straight ahead.
Second monosyllabic response.
“You may have heard some things about me. Don’t believe all of it. But if you’ve heard, I have a big mouth, believe that.”
“Oh, I didn’t hear anything,” the presumptuous twit said.
“Can’t judge a book by its cover,” Neelam said.
“I wasn’t judging, okay!” she said to Neelam.
The twit avoided eye contact with me at this point. We avoided conversation after that because of the mutual disdain we cultivated. Her pre-judgment told me it was already there for her.
I hung out with Neelam for the rest of the night. Poor girl was in the middle of me and the twit. We managed to have fun discussing the topics Americanized kids talk about like school, life, even making our way back to saris.
That’s how I live my life. Sari, not sari.
Until next time... look behind and beyond the veil...
Sameena K. Mughal, Author, Freelance Writer