Written by Nishi Nandineni – Instagram: @nishi_1121
I used to like it when they said I had a pretty name. A unique one. A name that held so much weight in their words. A name that defined me.
They’d refer to me with it, stretching the vowels gently, so gently that you could barely hear it.
At first, I’d answer back–quick and easy–with just enough curiosity. “Why? Isn’t it too long?”
It was always the same response. The same smile. “But that’s the beauty,” they’d say.
What could I do, other than thank them and return that wretched smile of theirs?
And that was it. I could do nothing more than appreciate their notice, nothing more than agree with a compliment that had no meaning in the first place.
I could do nothing more than like it.
Then I began to hear something different. A tone An underlying emotion that weaved so well through their words that it took me days, months to find it.
Jealousy. Disgust. Hatred, even. Why? I’d think to myself. I’d never done anything but taken the name that my ancestors, my parents, gave to me.
Couldn’t they stand to accept my heritage in genuine? Couldn’t they stand to take the courage they had hidden so deeply in their heart, for the simple sake of normalcy?
Couldn’t they allow me to believe I was no different from the clones who walk the streets?