No one asks you ‘Are you Tamil?’ when you wear a pottu
It doesn’t bother people – make them uncomfortable
It’s very commonplace to wear flowers in your hair – all sorts: Jasmine, Frangipani, Gardenia
It’s not bad-ass for women to have piercings on their noses
or men to have piercings on their ears (even a piercing through the middle of the nose is fairly every-day)
There’s nothing unusual about wearing bells around your ankles
In India, people are shocked at different things,
Like when I say I’m Sri Lankan
But I can’t speak Tamil.
Because here, knowing more than two, even three, local languages
Is very, very normal.
And they cannot fathom how I could have lived in a multi-ethnic country all my life
And can only speak one of the two native languages.
I can wear a pottu
And wear flowers in my hair
And wear anklets
But I can’t speak Tamil?