• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 03


Steeped in European history at school,
I, a first-generation post-colonial,
am a lonely child enthralled by medieval tales,
and during long, hot tropical summers,
I proudly perch on my wooden horse,
with its scraggly coir tail and chipped paint
even though the oscillations make me dizzy.

In a spectacular display of obstinacy,
I persist in imagining myself as a knight
on his loyal steed, off to joust,
because the role is so much more dashing
and gallant than a damsel, whether distressed or not.
I swathe myself in my grandmother’s silk sarees,
and wear oversize sunglasses as a visor.

In my hands, I heft a long bamboo pole
as a stand-in for my lance and rock
hard enough that the horse scoots
a paltry few inches forward on the tile floor.
But in my mind, as trumpets blast,
my royal silks flutter in the breeze,
as I head into the lists at a steady canter.

Of course, in my equine reverie, I forget
that the pole is much longer than my horse.
When its tip strikes the wall,
the impact pushes me backwards,
and I barely stay in the saddle
held in place awkwardly by tangled silk,
my head dangling by the coir tail.



The noise has brought cousins running,
and my little mishap elicits no assistance to dismount,
but plenty of mirth and ridicule,
once they realize I am unhurt.
“Good night, good knight” says one.
Then comes the swift coup de grace–
“See? There’s your proof she’s a horse’s ass!”