By Chithira Vijayakumar, Black Girl Dangerous
I learnt to read Malayalam the easy way: by lying on my grandmother’s stomach, brown skin painted with the silverfish of my mother’s and my uncle’s births. By listening to her read the daily newspapers out to me.
I listened lying on the pleats of her starched cotton sari. I listened through the warmth of her skin, warmth like she had swallowed a thousand suns. By the time I was three, I was coaxing my tongue around headlines such as ‘Prathipakshakakshikal Rajyasabha Niraskarichu’. I was reading before I could understand what I was reading.
It wasn’t my doing; it was my grandmother, rolling the words up in her palm into delicious morsels, then placing them gently on my tongue.