Posts tagged ‘selected shorts’

Breaking and Entering

Picture this: A whip of a young woman, dressed in black leather to boot, with tasteful tattoos and a couple of beads and feathers in her hair, sitted with her feet on top of the chair next to her, showing would-wanna-be sit-mates that neither she, nor her chair, were to be trifled with. A boyfriend occupying one of the “priority” seats across from her: mountain-type, effortlessly muscular, lots of facial hair, the possibility of a B.O; his heavy back-pack moving up and down with him every time he reached to nuzzle the chin of his shaggy dog. Hippies, right? Back-packers, to the least. Won’t be long before they start tongue-sucking one another or eating out of an oily Macdonalds’ paper bag.

An older gentleman walks in with a cane in hand.. wearing an old and over-sized polo-shirt; the thin long hair, square jaw line and flat nose of a Native American. Girl removes her feet off chair, brushes it and moves a little to the side, a respectful invitation for him to sit. Older gentleman acknowledges her with his forehead, but goes and sits behind her; proud and silent, as they say, as a tomb! A friend of his – similarly attired and with the same sort of facial features, follows suit. Soon, the older men start talking. The girl has been all ears ever since they entered. She joins in before long. They go back and forth, older gentleman hesitant, girl eager to please, switching between English and another language. She talks about her mother, letting her hands do all the explaining, while beads whip around her neck in a colorful, jingling mess. He talks about his family. A connection is made. In her excitement, girl tries to involve her boyfriend; who just smiles, nods at the old men and absent-mindedly strokes the dog’s chin; making the mongrel wag his tail with delight. Then the friend of the older gentleman says something. Girls jumps up, saying something in that other language, something awestruck and reverent; kneels on chair, reaches across to grab the hand of the first gentleman and starts to kiss and bow infront of it. A Chief, apparently. Or an elder.

The kissing and bowing, and muttering in a strange-language goes on for a while, making fellow-travellers exchange looks and start biting their nails while looking uncomfortablly out the window.

Few minutes later, someone pulls the wires to signal a stop. Dog sits up and prepares to follow master, while master grabs his bag and heads for door. Girl adieus her new companions with the devotion of a follower, save for not crossing herself, walks to front of bus, pours coins in machine, thanks driver and then step off the bus. Eyes follow her, fascinated.

Well.. mine anyway.

So this is what they call “Native Pride”!, I may have thought longingly; sweeping my eyes across the faces of my fellow riders, searching for the Ethiopians who would avoid looking directly at me, Now THAT is how you treat a kin!.

Then I would have probably gone back to my reading, or looking out the window, or journey’s end. Until one night I come across a story written not just about but actually by a Seattle-born “native” on NPR’s “Selected shorts”. The fact that it was about a “white-looking” American-Indian who killed a black-teenager by accident, that was just a bonus. The story was being read and performed by the talented D.B. Wong; who played “Howard Wanza” on “Father of the bride”. And when I say it was the best hearing experience of my life, I am not exaggerating! I mean dude is both gay and Chinese; and I’m still in love with him. (Don’t believe me? Refer to first word of “wisdom” here). So here is a copy of that short story, courtesy of oprah.com. Read it. It will be worth your time. (more…)

August 11, 2012 at 10:25 pm Leave a comment


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The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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