John dropped the bag of groceries, and practicaly ran out of Tesco.
“Where to mate?” The cabbie asked.
“Baker street. And hurry up.”
“All right mate, calm down.”
On my way.
Sherlock didn’t answer.
“You better be alive.” John muttered to himself as he impaitently looked out of the window.
Before the cab stopped John was already half out of the car. He threw 20 pounds at the driver.
“Keep the change!” He shouted as he ran upstairs.
“Sherlock! Sherlock are you okay?!”
He opened the door to the living room and found Sherlock sitting on the floor in his dressing gown. However the most surprising thing was Rosie.
She stood up by herself and carefully, very carefully, took small steps towards Sherlock.
“This is her first steps, John.”
Sherlock was sat with his back to John, carefully watching Rosie, being ready to catch her at any second.
Rosie spotted her dad and began laughing. She got too eager to impress and fell down and landed on her butt, still laughing.
“Oh John, you ruined it.”
John laughed and gave Sherlock a kiss on the cheek.
“I saw it. And it probably won’t be the last time she walked. Will it Rosie?” John asked and picked her up.
“She’s growing up so fast,” John said.
“She really is,” Sherlock agreed.
“Our little girl.”
Sherlock smiled and looked away.
“Oh come on, love. She’s OUR daughter. You know that.”
“I do know that.”
John gave him a kiss.
“The best dad she could ever ask for. That I could ever ask for. But now I have to take a trip to Tesco again.”
“I’ll ask Mrs. Hudson to by some nappies for Rosie while she’s out. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.”
Gleaming with raindrops in streetlight, the black cab pulls up effortlessly at 221 Baker Street. Sherlock gives the cabbie the appropriate change and sleekly swoops onto the pavement. The natural gravity of the car’s slant on the pavement along with the vehement breeze tilts the door shut effortlessly. He strides up to the door frame.
There are 25,000 streets in central
London, laid out in a manner best described as willy-nilly. Anyone who wants to
drive a cab must memorize them all. This arcane body of knowledge is called, in
typical British understatement, The Knowledge. Mastering it takes more than
three years, and physically changes your brain.
Students often say memorizing The
Knowledge is the hardest thing they’ve ever done.
here we go again. nearly a year after my last selfie with a bindi, and i’ve become both more proud of my heritage and more scared to identify with it.
being a light skinned, white passing desi is, undeniably, easier. i have it easier than my darker skinned sisters, who have infinitely more strength than i ever could have, as they face the idiots in tesco’s mistaking them for employees, cabbies yelling slurs at them as they walk down streets, security guards side-eyeing them in every place they enter (of the few sufferings i have witnessed by mere company). my bleached hair and pale skin allow me to hide the race card, should i desire, and let me live my life in relative peace, or at least until im required to pull out my passport.
but i cannot deny that every “you’re not like those other indian girls” feels like a gun pointed at my forehead, and if i so much as look away to my desi sisters, like a bullet through my head, every “how is your english so good?” sounds like an insult to my sisters’ heavy accents and multi-tongued excellence, every “are you sure you’re indian?” feels like a loss of personhood, of cultural identity, of being.
and back home is another battleground, with autowallas who tell me “300 rupees madam” in broken english and a gleeful smile, wiped off with a sentence of hindi in return, with relatives who snort at my mannerisms and strange hair, who invalidate my education, who persistently ask “have you found a gora boyfriend?”, who call my liberalism and mental health problems diseases that i brought home from the west.
this is not a slight to my darker sisters’ struggles. this is, hopefully, validation, and a reminder to myself that i share their strength. there are days i cannot wear a bindi or kurta, days i struggle to call myself indian, days i wash my clothes twice to wash off the smell of haldi and kali mirch. days i crave white acceptance by being easy and malleable by “not always being a goddamn bitch about your race all the time”.
this is not one of those days. to my darker desi sisters, you are all epitomes of strength, of perseverance and beauty, and you all deserve so much more. thank you for your existence, i don’t think you hear that enough.
and to white people, i implore you to not steal our culture from us. it has taken us eras of blood to protect it from you.