Polyglot’s Problems

by Hansini

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