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  • Aashiq Anshad


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

on screen.

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

simultaneously autotuned.

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.


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