Hindi runs in the veins of this लड़की
every द, ध, ढ, ढ़, ड़ slips off my tongue
and I take great care to pronounce
each right for it is indeed my mother’s
tongue and I wish to do justice to
her tireless pleads.
I speak English in phrases and metaphors,
a language in which I am soft spoken
and delicate; where the crown of
sophistication rests on my head, from
a बच्ची, I am a woman.
My toes wreathe in the sands of Punjabi,
a language that is happy and heartfelt,
but I’m also a कुड़ी, an object of male
attention, and gazes that constantly
rest on my shoulders.
दीदी at home does not understand the three
other people that I can be so for her I am
a परोगी and in Marathi only I tell her that
मी तिची आभारी आहे.
I often read French aloud, a language où
je suis une femme of poise and sincerity,
where every word I speak with such
deliberation that you would not realise
I am now five different people in one.
Now, no one dare say that I am difficult to