Big Aunty Energy
I’m with my Brown women akka, didi, siss.
Adorned in my Anokhi home dress
we brush each other’s hair
slightly curly too thick and
dark like the rivers-rain
What about this sari are the colours too bright?
do you think I could wear it with sneakers
oh my god, did I tell you about this White women at work she was telling me how much she loves her desi threading lady and I’m just like Becky please give us back the Koh-i-Noor already!
hey does this parripu need more ghee?
what time are we going to get the nose-ring tomorrow?
I’m decolonising my jewellery only wearing gold from now on aye
When I don’t know how best to attach the headpiece
Saloni calls it a tikka and I laugh because I’m hungry for chicken now
as she tells me how to attach it to my head using eyelash glue.
At Diaspora some girls dance to
In Aankhon Ki Masti from Umrao Jaan.
I want Rekha’s eyes and blood red alta on my fingers
to symbolise fertility prosperity
the novel on which the film is based
describes a courtesan and poet
Ek sirf hum hi main ko | It's only me who can serve you
Aankhon se pilate hai | Wine with my eyes
Mastane hazaaro hai | There are thousands of admirers
In aankhon ki masti ke | For the intoxicating beauty of these eyes
Later that night when I’m djing
a woke Brown boy comes up to ask for some Tamil song
holds up his iPhone and being a Desi baddie
I’m like sorry the only Tamil musician I know is M.I.A.
This poem is part of a suite of poems titled How to Wrap a Sari for Beginners.