Integrate by Leela Soma

Integrate! Assimilate!

I have given up my sari,
I have given up my bindi
I wear your dress
I don your make up.

I have given up my language,
I speak yours,
Och aye the noo,
I buy my ‘messages’ not send them,
I ‘flit’ when I move house,
If yous cannae make it out,
‘Just awa’ an boil yer heed’.

I chose to move away from my family
make new friends, laugh, cry and share,
my life, my taxes, my very being,
yet you question if I have tried to
Integrate, Assimilate, my dear
Jimmy Mc Brierty of Auchtermuchty,
Yes! I can say your name right.

How much have you helped me integrate?
Have you come half way to learn my ways?
Have you tried to understand my culture?
Have you tried to pronounce even my name right?

Leela Soma lives in Scotland where she works as a Principal Teacher in Glasgow. She recently won the Margaret Thompson Davis Trophy for the first 10,00 words of a novel.Her short story Ayah has been published in SQA’s new ‘Write Times’. In 2006 she was short listed in the regional round of the ‘Undiscovered Authors’ competition. She has read a selection of her poems at the recent Edinburgh Fringe Festival- at the Scottish Poetry Library’s Courtyard Readings. Her work reflects her experience as a first generation Indo Scot.