Kiran Bhat is a global citizen formed in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, to parents from Southern Karnataka, in India. An avid world traveller, polyglot, and digital nomad, he has travelled to over 130 countries, lived in 18 different places, and speaks 12 languages. His list of homes is vast, but his heart and spirit always remain in Mumbai, somehow. He currently lives in Melbourne.
Kiran is about to launch a new novel, Girar, which he will publish digitally from 2021 to 2030. The story, told from the perspectives of “Mother” and “Father”, whose nationalities change throughout, will take place over 365 locations. To join Kiran and follow as his epic story unfolds, click on through to: https://kiranbhat.substack.com/p/coming-soon.
I came back to Mysore
not to visit
as I did since I was a six-year old boy
visiting Blossoms with my Akka
playing video games with my cousins in Mangalore
but to learn my mother tongue
which I never knew how to speak well.
one day an uncle took me to the park.
I was eager to practice
I threw whatever words of the language I knew.
He went up to a friend of his
and asked him to listen to me
to see if he could understand me.
one day I went with my driver to the sugarcane shop
no one understood what I said
my grandmother was frustrated
she told me to stop embarrassing her.
I got so mad that day
the house shook with my yelling
afterwards I was so angry
I locked the door to my room
and refused to come out.
her hair grayed ever yet
just like my nails.
I struggled for my language.
I lost hair over my language.
I ate my ego for my language.
I don’t think it was worth it,
but a part of me changed,
and I don’t know why,
because no one was nice,
and no one wanted me to do what I did,
but ever since then,
I have to go to India,
each and every year,
like it is my real country,
not the USA.
I don’t feel like a native.
I don’t always feel comfortable.
I probably look a little bit like a foreigner.
somehow I am still chained to it
there’s more to it than racial appearance
there’s custom, language, family
it is to be nothing and to be everything
to be someone and no one
to have it always recorded on my tongue
I was born and raised in the USA.
India is my country.
© Kiran Bhat, 2020