Of the Subalternate Universe.
The desert smelled salty. It may have been the stench of the sweating people in the unusually humid part of Saudi Arabia where I lived. You will be surprised by how far the stench of sweat travels.
When I was five, I would sit on the balcony of the fourth-floor apartment my parents had chosen for us in the suburbs of Jeddah or I would lean against the railings, daring the heat of the afternoon sun.
For all those who know a bit of history, the fact that the Pakistani by the name Ali Hassan is one of the closest things I have to India right now would sound like supreme irony.
Death smells like an excess of incense.
Some part of my mind retains the memory of the cloying aroma of incense they burn at funerals, and I felt like I could smell it in the plane, triggered perhaps, by the floral perfume of some fellow passenger, chrysanthemums probably.
Since very young, I have associated the smell of incense with funerals; I remember it lingering in my mind as I commuted to them……
A critique of the Indian caste system.
“The Brahmin Burden”
It is a sad truth that most revolutions and independence movements subside but simply by replacing one form of oppression by another. The pomp, songs, flags and vigor will all be soon appropriated by a new ruling class and symbols of liberation will later be held in sway over the proletariat as if they were imperial scepters….
India is an incredibly diverse country, but it is also one of the most racially intolerant, casteist and Islamophobic. In order to understand this paradox, one must look at the nation through the eyes of its minorities, the people who really make it special, but who are also at the receiving end of things.