He must have sniffed me passing him, his gora girl. Perhaps I smelled like keka, my hair atwirl?

He chased me like a lion. I whirled around, hearing pounding behind me, so frightened.

My name is Bobby, he told me. You are the prettiest kuri I have ever seen. Hanji.


By next week I was hooked on him, his black eyes. Another teddy bear, rose gold, by my bedside.

He drove me in luxury. I was transported, speeding through the city. Leaving my country.

I love you, he told me. You are special to me. You have the prettiest muha I have ever seen. Touch me.


Each week he grew angrier at me, my naivety. Disturbing his dosa with my purity. Confusing.

He invaded my room like a Sultanate, nothing about this man was Sikh. He dripped his lack of control on my carpet.

I, as a girl, stayed on. But he told me he loved me, I was his jaan! I learned his real name was Pavitar.


Overnight in his apartment, I couldn’t sleep. Counting pops of soaking chickpeas while he dozed next to me.

My caramel charmer, only accessible in his dreams. Bobby pins in his bed? A pink toothbrush next to my red? Why was he hiding his phone calls from me?

I decided I’d rather not lose him. I would just lose me. Because maybe no one else could love me?

I told him how I saved myself up. About my ten years of sweet fantasy. He could marry me. I loved him too. I could do a sari.


One January snow, I didn’t tell him no.


But in the last minute, I remembered what I meant!

And I said NO!

But my arms were bent. My wrists held behind me.

He cracked my head against his headboard. I became the sheet.

I crunched through the snow dripping blood behind me. I needed to get clean. Safa.


Before I left, I had prayed to Ganesh in his cabinet door.

Move this obstacle. Move me.

I am cargo.




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