A Telugu movie plays on Netflix of all things,
Chromecasted to the 55 inch in the living room.
It isn’t Telugu, though, it’s dubbed
a hair out
of sync with the video, a Hindi voiceover
with tones not quite as strong as the expressions of the men and women
With romanised title and
the famous 1inch barrier we call subtitles the
servers that be lock me in and out all at once.
Music that I in my absolutely zero expertise
can identify as somehow culturally apt rings out loud and
not quite true, a hundred men and women chanting but somehow
The hairs on the nape of my neck rise
dissociating perhaps from the brownness of the sound and
realising with a start that each of them stands on equally brown skin.
Neither language is mine
and I tell myself that may be why this feels like an
interloper of sorts into my home.
And I tell myself in perfect English that
this may be why this feels like
an invasion of some great colonising force into
the recesses of my mind
this might be why I don’t quite like this
this might be why this is both dissonant and discordant
this might be why the hairs on the nape of my neck
strain valiantly against their roots just as I do in
a desperate bid for liberation from the
auditory onslaught of Hindi sounds and Telugu shapes.
Neither Hindi nor Telugu sounds like
safety or home but perhaps most terrifying
is that even if my own Malayalam had soared out of
those Logitech speakers
even if my own Mother Tongue had rung out loud and true
even if it had been my own language, spoken by
my own mother, my own father, my grandparents -
even if it had been Malayalam
I would not have known the difference.