coromandal


missing bombay
March 13, 2008, 5:56 pm
Filed under: departure lounge | Tags: , , , ,

From Maximum City, an account by Suketu Mehta of being educated in provincial, hateful Queens, NY

When I moved to New York, I missed Bombay like an organ of my body. I thought that when I left Bombay I had escaped from the worst school in the world. I was wrong. The all-boys Catholic school I went to in Queens was worse. It was in a working-class white enclave that was steadily being encroached upon by immigrants from darker countries. I was one of the first minorities to enroll, a representative of all they were trying to hold out against. Soon after I got there, a boy with curly red hair and freckles came up to my lunch table and announced, “Lincoln should never have freed the slaves.” The teachers called me a pagan. My school yearbook photo shows me looking at the camera with the caption, “It’s so strong I can even skip a day,” referring to an advertising slogan for a brand of antiperspirant. This was how the school saw me: as a stinking heathen, emitting the foul odors of my native cooking. On the day I graduated, I walked outside the barbed-wire-topped gates, put my lips to the pavement, and kissed the ground in gratitude.”

~Suketu Mehta, Maximum City

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3 Comments so far
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Racism is a sad part of the developed world. It could not have been a pleasant experience for you especially when they say, your school years should be the best.

Comment by Winslie Gomez

Winslie – very true. Just to clarify these are not my experiences, but those of Suketu Mehta who wrote the book Maximum City about going home to Bombay after some time in New York. thanks –

Comment by coromandal

Sorry about that, Haste and speed comes to mind!

Comment by Winslie Gomez




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