One Year Ago Seems So Distant



On a special morning in December 

20 years ago

I landed with only 2 suitcases

I cried, missing all the familiar faces

I was scared

After all, it was America of all places


I thought i’d move back

yet we stayed

I learned simple traditions

like saying hi in a locking gaze

with a smile across your face

or dealing with snow

which I had never seen in India

The scene left me in a daze


T'was my mom’s story

One I’d heard about a thousand times

except I never realized 

the importance of her lines


See just a year ago i’d interrupt my parents

blurting words before the end of their sentence

I couldn’t have them speaking 

with their accent peeking

even when they’re making perfect sense


It sounds narcissistic but i’d hate that look

The strangers' eyes judging

as if my parents spoke gobbledygook


See just a year ago I’d throw away my meals

I couldn’t take the other kids and their squeals

It didn’t matter that my mom spent lots of effort on them

people would still look and condemn

So that was the deal


Throw my food away and I was the same

Peer pressure caused me to believe

it was my culture to blame


It was this election that led me to reform

Hidden in each decision was xenophobic discourse

I wanted to fit in and belong

yet I realized doing so was wrong

I was different and there should be pride in that thought


I am proud of my parents’ sacrifices

Beating all odds and a little bit of rolling the dices

America is great because of our diversity

not because we isolate our country

That’s the truth as unpleasant as it may seem


See diversity is the key to innovation

to reaching a “perfect world” destination

and when we don’t understand this

we’re just limiting our economic gains and bliss

because without immigrants our country would not exist


I now eat my mother’s meals

I now let my parents speak

I don’t really mind who they displease

because at least they see people embracing cultures

not shying away like it’s a disease


I am proud to be indian

I am proud to have come from immigrants

I am proud to be different

One year ago seems so distant

This poem is about: 
My family
My community
My country
Our world


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