Taxi Tuesday wahoooo! This one is semi-based on a true story, although I transposed the whole thing to a taxi environment. At Liverpool Central Station there used to be a small kiosk that was run by a Hindu family. Shortly after September 11th and the bombings in America the gentleman who ran the stall put a small sign up not unlike the one mentioned in the story below. It made me very sad.
1st December 2001 Mint Street, Bradford, Yorks.
The first day I put the sign up in the cab, no one says anything. I breathe a sigh of relief. Rishi knows somebody who’s going to repaint the house before Yana comes back. I’m glad it happened whilst she was away.
I am not British, I have never claimed to be and never will. I moved here at eighteen and accept I’m an outsider but my children, my children are British. At very least they are British-Indians. We are not terrorists.
My Rupa rang crying on September 11th:
“We’re in trouble now Dad.”
I calmed her, I pacified her, I silently agreed with her. Since then, my cab has been off the road three times.
Fucking P**i scum
The house is the same. Samir is only eight and he doesn’t know what he’s done wrong. Nothing I tell him. We are not Pakistani, we are not Muslim and I know this shouldn’t matter but it has had to. I sound like a racist and I am no racist. I know not to judge people because of their background, I’ve lived through enough to know that at least.
I have a friend living in America now; he’s from USSR and has made himself the perfect life, no problems for him. Whenever he writes my heart feels heavy with the necessity to reply with more lies about how good my life is too and send birthday cards to his four perfect Americanised children. Did I choose the wrong continent? Is he lucky because he avoided the tarnish of colour? I know jealously is wrong but it scalds me constantly.
The sign has been up in my cab for over a week now:
I AM AN INDIAN CITIZEN SETTLED IN UK. MY FAMILY ARE HINDU. WE ARE EXTREMELY SORRY FOR WHAT HAPPENED IN AMERICA. WE ARE NOT TERRORISTS. PLEASE DO NOT ATTACK US
I feel ashamed when I pick up Mrs. Hannan. She calls me a traitor, an imposter, a ‘fake English’. I just don’t want any trouble, we’ve had enough trouble. Sometimes I think the sign makes things worse and I get threats from all sorts now.
Just because you ain’t bombed us yet, don’t mean you won’t.
I’ve lived on the same street as these people for over twenty five years and now they hate me. I just want peace and I just want happiness and equality and all those things that seem so forbidden at the moment. Things seem to be calming down, the house is clean and the car is clean. Even so, Sami’s come home with a black eye and rips in his shorts. We say nothing.