The driving instructor, a middle-aged man of calm demeanour gets frustrated when his Indian student waits for his instructions before making even the simplest of moves. “It’s not your fault,” he tells her. “I see this with girls and women from India, Pakistan, South Asia…all the time. You see, over there you’re taught to listen to the man!”
The instructor is from Afghanistan.
A young colleague — the only person in the entire office with whom I can converse in my mother tongue — talks about his home, not far from Dhaka. We talk about the rise of fundamentalist forces in our home countries and of the asphalt-melting heat there. He saves the best news for the last. “I have a newborn niece,” he says with a soft smile. “Abbu-Amma don’t call me as often now. She’s the first girl in our family, you see.” Nieces are fun, I tell him from experience.
He plans to visit his family in the fall. I don’t need to ask him why.
I discovered the magic of Alphonsos only in Canada. Back in North India where I grew up, the trio of Dusherri-Langda-Chausa ruled the mango scene.
There or here, I haven’t learned the dainty way to eat mangoes. It has to be skin-licking, pit-sucking, juice-flowing messiness. Stains and all.