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.

the basement under the History building
was where our debate team met
so many files spread over tables like squashed spiders
all of us hitting the keys of our laptops furiously
practicing speeches amongst ourselves

I didn’t speak much
I didn’t socialize much

I spent all of my time doing researching
sometimes about the state of Midterm elections,
or whether North Korea was going to bomb us all,
so that my team-mates would have evidence.

I didn’t speak well enough usually to get selected for rounds.

I wanted to go to tournaments so bad
win prizes for my school
and to be fair, I went to some
but could never win
and had some of the lowest speaker points of the team
up to the point that my coach lost faith in me,
and made me just do research.

Was it because I had trouble pronouncing the letter ‘r’?
I didn’t know how to trill my tongue and aspirate without air.
I kept putting my tongue on my dental plate
and making the ‘l’ sound.

Was it because I got so nervous,
that it was hard to articulate words?
in these rounds,
standing so firmly, talking at high speed,
I don’t think anything I said made sense

Was it because I didn’t know how to be me yet?
Was it because I was still learning how to behave around others?

no matter what,
my coach spent all of his time
taking the files of my work
and shouting about how bad it was.
he cursed a lot.
he had beer on his breath.
He shouted so loudly that people in other rooms
sometimes came and asked what was going on.

I don’t know why he shouted so much.
I just wanted to do my best
and it bothered me
desperately, profoundly,
that no matter how much I worked,
I wasn’t improving at all.

© Kiran Bhat, 2020