Nearly three decades ago, a husband and his pregnant wife were fleeing the Sri Lankan riots on a bicycle with their two children, who were one and two years old respectively. The toddler was on the bar of the bike, and the infant was being carried on the mother’s lap.
The white guy in the high-vis vest yelled at me in an inane faux-Indian accent. I didn’t hear what he said so I stood awkwardly in the bottle shop, uncertain about how to act. I skirted around the margins of my fears. High-vis swaggered closer and yelled at me in the stupid accent again. The air was electric and his mate sniggered with approval. In 2017, racism is funny in Australia.
It was almost a year ago that I sat my parents down and delivered the news to them. They were stunned and could not quite understand what I was saying. There were a few seconds of silence that felt like an eternity, followed by some melodrama that was reminiscent of of the TV serials that my mother indulges in.