An afternoon at the Little Magazine Archive, Kolkata
TBR's Managing Editor, Maitreyee Chowdhury, takes a trip to the Kolkata Little Magazine Archive in Tamer Lane, in the college Street area. She returned with a treasure trove worth of stories and anecdotes.
Remember the gulf between who you are on the outside and who you are in the privacy of your skull? Yes, yes, you try to assimilate as best you can but you’re never quite…enough. While you know this is the case for most people, somehow, it causes you more problems than you will admit, perhaps because you’ve been raised to believe they’re character deficits and you can’t accept they define you.
Their catnaps were high-speed energy recharges. On cool days, they slept in either of two baskets alone or together. Most days, they found sunny or shady corners around the house. We once discovered them entwined to resemble a heart. They had a favorite conjoined twin pose where they slept with their heads against each other.
My childhood home may have been more than an ocean crossing away from the Adriatic. Nevertheless, in the house I grew up in just west of Lake Michigan, summers proved intensely humid; hence, my association of the season with the dizzyingly sweet fragrance of lilacs.
Another memory spreads across the field. My parents load me and my siblings into the brown GM van; we sleep on the 14-hour drive to our grandparents’ mountain town filled with lights and purple shadows and cowboys and scents of anise and Chex mix. The year I was born, my grandparents moved west for Grandpa’s job with the railroad.
Damilola Oyedele's essay explores language as both a barrier and a tether. Her accent and diction - influenced by the various Nigerian languages and dialects she speaks - shapes her interactions as an immigrant in the United States and South Africa, and tethers her to Nigeria, her home country.