By Kahini Iyer Mar. 26, 2018
When we inevitably go for a foreign education abroad, we could be dealing with a potential shooter situation someday. Hence, it was necessary to #MarchForOurLives. And anyway, wasn’t this the hashtag of the week?
Our holistic-curriculum international school is always telling us that we should think global, and act local. I think that means we see problems in the First World, and then try to solve them in the Third World. What better way than to join a worldwide movement led by the youth? So my friends and I all decided to land up at the #MarchForOurLives protest, to make a real difference in the lives of children who fall prey to gun crimes in the US.
Because if anyone needs solidarity from a privileged Indian child, it is obviously an American kid.
Together, we made the arduous journey from our homes in South Mumbai to Otter’s Club. In our cars, of course. (Someone told me it was like 40 degrees in Bandra, the temperature really shoots up in this part of the city.) And then we marched into the untamed wilds of Bandra-Kurla Complex, with only a single 7-series for those who didn’t want to walk. And that was just for people with accessibility issues, like Yash’s restless leg syndrome, or Tanvi’s social anxiety disorder which she developed last month. It was important to us to be inclusive of everyone, no matter their disabilities. Too bad we couldn’t arrange a wheelchair for Tia who cracked her toenail during a soccer game (who calls it football?), but we sent her Snapchats every hour so she would feel like she was really there.
We even made signs and T-shirts on our own. I mean, of course, Driver Bhaiyya went and got them printed but we came up with the slogans all by ourselves. A couple of the wokest baes in my class went with #BlackLivesMatter, to make a powerful statement on racism and defend that cool Nigerian guy who scores them MDMA. They call him Raavan, so cute. On second thought, they might just have been confused about why we were marching in the first place. When you’re so passionately involved with so many social causes, it can be hard to remember which hashtag is trending this week. But well, who said changing the world was easy? No one ever!
Anyway, all this planning and preparation was for us to land up outside the US Consulate. This time I wasn’t there trying to claim a passport because I self-identify as an American citizen, although the security guards still didn’t look too happy to see me. We were there to make our voices heard and speak up against the faraway but very real threat of gun violence.
So what if Indian kids in schools only get knifed to death? That is if they manage to reach school in the first place. If they have schools that is. And survive their toxic midday meals. Also, gun violence is the problem of the hour. Farmer marches rarely trend.
When we inevitably go for a foreign education abroad, we could be dealing with a potential shooter situation someday. Yesterday, my mom had the nerve to say I should go to Australia instead, and live with my maasi in Melbourne! Does Trump’s America need yet another way to make our lives hell and destroy our dreams of partying in Boston for a few years?
This time I wasn’t there trying to claim a passport because I self-identify as an American citizen, although the security guards still didn’t look too happy to see me. We were there to make our voices heard and speak up against the faraway but very real threat of gun violence.
Guns are a serious problem and we wanted to send all our love to the US. But the Consulate was not exactly cooperative. In fact, no one gave us the atithi devo bhava treatment we expected, not even when we care so much about their poor country. There were no Bacardi coolers for us thirsty marchers who had braved the non-air conditioned outdoors, riddled with humidity and pollution, for an entire hour. No biscuits and Kool-Aid. There weren’t even porta-potties like at Magnetic Fields. We tried tweeting at Sushma Swaraj about this outrageous lack of basic amenities, but she never replied. 🙁
Still, this whole march is not really about us; it’s for disadvantaged American kids. I hope that together, we can defeat the scourge of assault rifles and bump stocks, whatever those are. I hope American school kids will always feel safe knowing we are with them in spirit, and soon, in person.
And above all, I hope this counts as community service on my college applications. I’ll write my admissions essay on being India’s answer to Emma Gonzalez. But first, Chhotu, can you bring me my cold coffee?
Kahini spends an embarrassing amount of time eating Chinese food and watching Netflix. For proof that she is living her #bestlife, follow her on Instagram @kahinii.