Indo- Canadian Reality
BY PUNEET PARHAR
I grew up with, played with, studied with, partied with, rebelled with, snuck out with, lied with, sympathized with, adolescented with,
will go to university with, gain my reputation with, acquire professional power with, get married with, have children with, gossip with, then as now, with,
the confused minds of my Indo-Canadian generation,
who, dressed in bright orange, pink, yellow, green, full length Indian suits, played cabbage patch doll at family parties, in front of uncles and aunties, serving spicy tea and playing coy during the day.
who, dressed in the latest backless, braless, bright, Parasuco tops and curvy leather mini skirts, unleashed their wild inner Barbie girls at night, swaying, displaying,
who, at 18, has known since days spent playing with little pink dolls, that she must be at once an intelligent, ambitious engineering student at MIT and a head bowing, tea serving, dinner making, husband pleasing, child rearing, incarnation of Aishwariya Rai herself, that goddess of Bollywood movies and fantasies of sexually charged adolescent males and their lost-in-the-clouds mothers,
who spend countless hours raging, pleading, fighting, and engaging in futile efforts to convince parents, descendants of an ancient civilization which bore dance masters, painting gurus, philosophic geniuses, famous poets, which invented the arts, to let them pursue dreams to paint, to act, to write
who must resign themselves to ties, stethoscopes, briefcases, careers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, which strangle, choke, suffocate them,
who are told to be MEN, not to cry, but never to argue, never to stand up to their fathers, never to disobey their mothers,
who go to McDonald's with friends, but can eat nothing, no meat, no hamburgers, no fries fried in the oil which fries the meat,
who leave the house to party with friends at 8 p.m. but must be home for curfew at 9:30 p.m.
who, shopping at Square One with their mothers, forbidden from tight fitting clothes, doomed to outfits two sizes too big, smuggle in tank tops low waist jeans strapless bras stuffed inside textbooks hidden at the bottom of bags disguised as gifts for friends
who live out their romances at Central, Streetsville, Meadowvale libraries, cell phones in hand, meeting the boys in BMWs, decked out in Ecko, Phatfarm, Nike, making excuses to their scolding mothers, sighing at the relief when the phone finally clicks, another two hours before the next phone call, the next lie,
who, Khandas hanging from their necks, claiming Sikh pride, their bulging mothers dragging them to the temple by the ear, whip out their cell phones in the lobby, smoke their cigarettes in the back, holler at the good Sikh girls they'll be meeting later at 108, or Calypso or Berlin in Brampton,
who sit at family parties bearing the scrutiny of potential mothers in law who pinch arms to check for fat while shoving snack after snack, meal after meal in their faces, mistaking girls with short haircuts for boys,
who chase after Indian girls, looking up skirts, slapping tight asses, pimping, macking, harassing, but refusing to respect, refusing to take home, refusing to marry,
who, brimming with anger beat the white kids, the white cops, the way their drunken fathers beat them,
who are given scotch on their fifth birthday, pass out drunkenly on the porch at family gatherings, crash brand new Mercedes-Benz' every three months,
who, after countless stabbings backups shootings run ins with cracked beer bottles take pride in the scars running down their backs along their arms across their cheeks, continuing the violence, the same scars stripped across their fathers' bodies as if they were born branded, Sikh, Punjabi, fists for life this life that life the one before it the one after it,
who are ill fated to marry only Indians, only Punjabis, only Sikhs,
who must give up their Chinese girlfriends black boyfriends for husbands scanned versions of their fathers for wives printed versions of their mothers after one date one meeting one engagement ceremony,
who are linked, fianceed, married off, by caveparents who sit night after night at the computer, on the web, searching through arranged marriage personals advertising daughters as slim almond eyed quiet obedient excellent cooks,
who hate each other, he said she said they did oh my god did you see the gossip insecurity oho aha Monika Deol Much VJ slut drag her down back down all the way down,
who, turbaned marked with Sikh pride know nothing of gurus eternal truths religious principles misunderstood cut their hair throw away turbans pick up diamond studded playboy bunnies,
who live Bollywood lives only two characters; Singhs, translation: lions, constantly growling fighting, proving staking out territory Brampton crew Malton boys Rexdale thugs ignored by rejected by eventually married off to Kaurs meaning: princess,
who wish all people Blacks Whites Chinese were Indians just like them Arabs Persians Pakistanis all the same as us all Brown
who, singin bling blingin drive Lexuses, BMWs, Mercedes-Benzs, operate out of 100,000 square foot homes, life is money money is life spirituality what deeper meanings what callings what love what cash yes cheques yes diamonds YES!
who, failures the legacy of the American dream parents who slaved day and night, counted every penny sacrificied fun life spending for children a better life better education high class jobs, 21 years old still in high school no pencils no books no grades failures
who never reach adulthood in their parents' eyes, remain children incapable of picking their own clothes, their own husbands, their own homes, even at 37 years of age incapable of making their own decisions,
who, I'm sorry to say I'll grow old with, have children with, continue the cycle with, sorry for you, sorry for me, sorry for them, confusion, confusion, confusion.
My name is Puneet Parhar. I am an 18-year-old student currently attending Clarkson Secondary School. I wrote this poem after being introduced to Allen Ginsberg's "Howl." This is my Howl.
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