Baby Sky's birth was wonderful. I had a planned C-Section – planned, because Adz's birth was pretty traumatic for me – but this one went without a hitch. I felt at peace and healed up beautifully. Mentally, however, I was still a bit unsure. On one hand, I was ecstatic with my beautiful new baby, but on the other hand, anxious again. When we took Baby Sky for his first immunisation and weigh-in, the nurse recommended I see a therapist, just to talk through things.
I mentioned my anxiety, and as we talked through it, I realised that the majority of my worry was from the election that had just taken place in the States. That person had won, and the fear in the pit of my stomach had never left. My therapist mentioned, almost as an aside, that I was not the only one who had had anxiety triggered by this election. As we chatted more, I realised that the root of my fear was the fact that I was brown.
I no longer felt as safe on the streets as I was. It might have been a false sense of security, but having now lived in Canada for over seven years, I was beginning to adapt to the Canadian way of living. When I first moved here, I wanted locks on every side gate and to the backyard. Now I was leaving our door open when we pottered around in the backyard. But suddenly, I was back to locking and triple checking everything. I was overthinking every sideways gaze at me and the children. I started spraying myself with fragrance because I didn't want people to think I smelt of curry. I kept an eye out on public transit instead of being immersed in my phone.
In some ways, I was happy to know that I was not alone, that there were other people who felt triggered by the nastiness of that election. But in some ways I felt more alone than I have ever been for a long time.
Even now, as I write this post, my hands are shaking, I feel nervous and jittery and my chest feels tight. If this is my reaction – the reaction of someone whose immigrant journey, as I mentioned in my previous post, was easier than most people's, then I can only imagine what people who came here fleeing war and persecution must be feeling. What those people who seek asylum and refuge in Canada are thinking. What the mental state of those people who are braving sub-zero temperatures to cross over to Canada from the States must be like. How they must feel, having their families torn apart, having to leave everything that they have behind, their worries for their children and parents.
I don't get it. I honestly don't. How did this person – this person who openly espouses intolerance and deals in hate and fear mongering – get elected? Was everything I knew about the States wrong? According to my Facebook feed, I am preaching to the choir. Everybody is against this person. Everyone is horrified. Everybody is exhorting resistance. Yet, there were millions upon millions of people who voted for this person. Who are these people? How do they not know that their history is also one of immigration, moving to the States for a better life, and fleeing persecution? How can they suddenly be all about white power and intolerance? I don't understand it.
But then again, maybe I do.
I might joke about this, but there is a reason why my family didn't make much of a fuss when I announced that I was marrying a white man. Just after Kay had proposed, I went back to India to go wedding shopping. My grandmother asked me to show her pictures of my future in-laws. She looked over carefully at the photo, and said, "well, this is good. They are white and fat and your children will be nice and fair." Eh, what?
I don't know how my folks would have reacted if I'd gone home and said I was marrying a black Muslim man. Or even if I'd outed myself as gay. See, it doesn't matter if you're being discriminated against. You can still be racist as a brown person. Or casteist. Or intolerant of another religion ("Jess: It's all changing now. Nasser Hussein is captain of the English cricket team and he's Asian. Mrs. Bhamra: Hussein is a Muslim name, their families are different.... Pinky: You can marry anyone you want. It's fine at first when you're in love and all that but do you want to be stared at, by every family that do because you married the English bloke? Jess: He's Irish. Pinky: Well, they all look the bloody same to them, innit" – fine, I am a 'Bend It Like Beckham nerd, but seriously... this.)
It takes courage to admit that some of your ideas about how things are in this world are wrong. I've snapped at some of my relatives when they talk disparagingly about 'furriners' (foreigners, as Indian people dub white people). My kids and my husband are 'foreigners'. Technically, so am I. Are they okay talking about me like that?
I had this experience with my mom, as I was trying to explain being gay and gay rights to her. She didn't understand it at all, and all her perceptions about being gay had been coloured by the vehement opposition of the church, as she is very religious. But we did have a conversation about it, and I got her to read this article on being gay in India and the persecution they go through. At the end of the piece, she was in tears as she understood the discrimination and prejudice. She changed her mind that day. She is a brave, thoughtful woman who had the courage to admit that her convictions were wrong.
I wish a lot more people were like her. Perhaps then I would feel better about leaving this world to my children.
I found it rather fitting that my recipe swap partner, Shel Zolkevich, made these Mexican taquitos. In her recipe post, she has a funny story about why they are called PTL taquitos, I must admit I chuckled at that one, especially with a husband that mispronounces a lot of Indian words.
We don't need a wall in today's world. Having made and loved each bite of these, all I can say is that we need more taquitos, instead.
PTL Chipotle Taquitos
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, diced
1 lb ground beef, lean
½ tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
3 cups mashed potatoes
1 canned chipotle, from chipotles in adobo sauce, diced
½ cup mozzarella, shredded
24 corn tortillas, 4-5 inches wide
1 cup canola oil, for frying
Heat 2 tbsp canola oil over medium high heat. Add onion and fry for three minutes. Add ground beef and fry until all traces of pink are gone, about eight minutes. Add salt, chili powder and cumin. Mix well. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes, chipotle, cheese and ground beef mixture. Mix well.
In a wide frypan, heat 1 cup of canola oil to 375 degrees F.
Place one tortilla on a flat surface and add 1 Tbsp of ground beef and potato mixture in the centre. Roll tightly and secure with toothpick. Set aside. Continue to make five more taquitos. Fry six at a time, for two minutes on one side and two minutes on the other. Repeat until all 24 are done.
Garnish with sour cream, chopped avocado, sour cream and cilantro.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Think Beef.