I was five when they first taught me –
All Indians are my brothers and sisters.
I didn’t have a brother then, never would I have one.
“Brothers” caught my attention and I cherished it like some gem.
I had a country full of brothers and it made me feel so elated, so safe.
Well, sadly I grew up,
The biggest tragedy of life–growing up.
With age comes the realization that fairy tales are not true.
So did the idea that All Indians are my brothers begin to shake and falter.
There would be no Hansel to protect me from the dark spells of the urban jungle.
Now, you ask me,
“What are you fretting about, lass?”
Sisters tell me, “This is the way of the world. Be quiet!”
I begin to wonder if I got the idea of a brother wrong.
I can’t be sure since I never had a blood brother
Yet, I can’t be wrong in saying thus—
Brothers do not ogle at sisters.
Brothers do not molest their sisters.
Brothers do not rape their sisters.
Brothers do not pass derogatory remarks on their sisters.
Brothers do not make sexual advances towards their sisters.
Brothers do not see their sisters as objects of pleasure.
Brothers do not feel the need for their “private time” whenever they see their sisters.
Brothers do not take the excuse of a crowded bus to touch their sisters or to pinch or squeeze or whatever.
Brothers do not! They do not!
Either I got my idea of a brother wrong,
Or the school taught me wrong—
That all Indians are my brothers.
Well, if I am wrong, I am so glad I never had a brother.
And if the school got it wrong,
Well, you are not fooling anyone.
Everyone grows up until they realize
All Indians are, indeed, not my brothers.