mangoThis is number four in a series of five student pieces dedicated to thinking creatively about the concepts of diaspora and transnational literatures.

“Where are you from?”
by Jyoti Sharma (31 March, 2016)

An innocent question asked
Often after I introduce myself
The answer is not so simple, yet to make things
Less complicated, I say to them ‘Here’.

I mean I guess it may not look like it
But it is true.
I am from here just like you.
I too, woke up early on Sundays to watch
Power Rangers and Pokémon on TV.
I too, after school, ate egg tarts and lou mein.
I, too, studied the tutorial center notes
for public exams (not one but two),
and sat in study centers, buried in my books just like you.

I guess the difference comes from the fact
That my parents and yours are not alike.
They come from a different land and say,
in the future, that is where they want to go back
To be buried in the place that gave birth to them
In what they say is our motherland but it clashes
With where I live and know
As the one place I call my home.

Many years ago I remember as we travelled back,
I was enchanted by the looping mountains roads,
endless fields and untamed showers. I stood, all drenched,
running around our yard,
It was so much more spacious than our little city flat,
and there were no tall buildings obstructing my view
of the entire sky colored bright blue, and over there
I saw clouds and their silver linings, too.

I entered a magical land that only existed in dreams.
I wanted to bring back a piece of this fantasy,
So I carried in my bag, a mango that I plucked,
From a tree whose roots extended under my parent’s house
and in that mango remained a fragrance
of the earth, in which that tree grew,
and possessed a magnetic smell of clean dirt.

In a few days, however, that fragrance
Faded and all I was left with was a seed
So I planted it in a pot and watered it daily
Till finally it grew some leaves,
And when I feel that question travel
beyond my voice, into my body,
I enter my balcony and see,
In front of our skyline view of the city
breathes my potted fantasy.