Before arriving in New York in that snow-full January, I had never really reconciled the “hyphens” of my own existence – born as an Indian citizen, I grew up entirely in the southern African capital of Botswana, eventually moving to Abu Dhabi for university at the age of 18. I knew I had grown up and formed a slow identity while straddling more than one culture, both of which I had not really learnt to accept or love, but just sit in, perplexed into a discomfiting stasis between them. Going to America has burst that still yolk of a bubble…
Whole Foods is the safest place on earth. What would the terrorists come for? The organic ice-cream? The dinky doughnuts, perhaps, were worth killing for. Imagine, a rainbow of kombucha and salad and bamboo leaf shampoo, with artisanal cheese for taste, shattering outwards, like the first sigh of relief after a breakup.
sliced onions fried with miris and sugar
spotted with chili seeds
creating fire within my tummy
the spicy seeni sambol wrapped in
soft crunchy appa remind
my taste buds that they are alive
Read the first instalment of our new Haiku column!
Jollibee is more than just a Filipino fast food chain. It is to me what McDonald’s is to many of my friends from other places—a staple. I have known Jollibee, both the chain and the mascot, since I could barely eat solid food. I’ve attended birthday parties, caught up with family and friends, and reflected on my personal growth with Jollibee. This bee might even have brought me closer to God…
You look sexy behind that counter of cold, packed meat,
6 to12 inches of wheat and white bread.
I watch your lips move as you
Ask if I want mayonnaise, mustard
On the foot-long turkey.
The bacon sizzles in a silver pot on a spiral top that burns
To a tangerine orange beneath sweet cabbage.
Turn that stove down low, boy!
A look inside Parisian painter Sandra Paris’ notebook of food sketches and observations.
We put on our aprons and pick up the knives
Peel off the skin from the root of the problem
Chop up the large questions into roughly diced answers
won’t have it any other way.
Between two unfeeling pieces of bread,
Stuck in mayo like tires stuck in mud,
Smeared onto mustard.
back when Grandmother had one breast and i had none
she helped me realize strange visions,
the particulars only a child conjured.
i asked for a birthday pie shaped like a fish
My Aunt Earline is heaven.
Could teach them bakers at Piccadilly’s a thing or two.
She’s as sweet as the cakes she makes.
The sum of the cafe spaces in Abu Dhabi exist as microcosms of the city itself. They can be places where a wide variety of people from different social classes, ethnicities, cultures and nationalities can come together over a cup of coffee (or karak or Moroccan mint tea) and exchange dialogue, make conversation, learn and thrive off each other, whether that’s intellectually or culturally, or just make idle chit-chat and simply be. And isn’t that a miniature prototype of Abu Dhabi itself and the “multicultural crossroads” we all love to speak of in the brochures?
the south american continent somewhere like a slice of bread
ready for the touch of a knife. cut
and spread the shrimp soft pink like a tongue
once bled from a continent buttered up
with a colonial language.