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On Growing Up Indian Muslim

On Growing Up Indian Muslim

abuse in-laws

I grew up with my heritage meticulously arranged

in a crystal snow globe

Hum Saath Saath Hain and a warm bowl of Haleem alike

Surrounded by endless fields of mango trees

Framed by the piercing of a macague-filled mountain

That gives way to carelessly paved roads of

intricately adorned lorries and fresh street-side nariyals

The quintessence of everything that’s good

Pieced together in chunks of summer vacation 

Encapsulated in an orb

That glistens in the sunshine 

But there’s something else in there too. 

A collection of pashminas and chiffons wrapped around

A face whose forehead bows to the ground in namaaz

In remembrance of God being one 

Mounted in front of a gentle night sky glowing in 

The light of a delicate crescent moon 

The essence of the breaths that escape

Bolstered by early mornings at Sunday school

Captured in between two palms

Raised towards the sky 

This is who I am.

pieces of wanna-be snow

orbiting around the very things

That make me who I am.

And yet you force me to grasp onto it all so tightly

Out of fear that someone will come by and shatter her

Yanking street-side nariyals from collections of pashmina

Claiming that the two should have separated 

A long time back

When my Nana was eight and his father knew

better than a thousand educated men

Yeh log bhi hamare log hai 

That I’ve forgotten what it feels like to 

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walk into a room of people whose ancestors

come from the same place as mine

and not have to explain myself

To raise my hands in group prayer

at the local mosque 

and hear the name of 

my motherland alongside yours 

I grew up with my heritage meticulously arranged

in a crystal snow globe. 

It’s a shame that it confuses you so much.  

But this is who I am. 

Indian. 

Muslim.

Indian. Muslim. 

Indian Muslim. 

-a khazi-syed

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