I’m supposed to be writing a story about pride — about the LGBTQ community. I’m a straight 20-something that’s never gone down the “I experimented with the same sex” phase in college, unless you count a make-out with a girl at a frat party, simply for attention, which was essentially a right of passage at Arizona State University.

And by “supposed to be writing” I mean I have a blog that focuses on a different topic each week — I’ve covered mental health, cooking, the medical system, substance abuse, coming of age, etc. But this one just feels so, so far from home that even writing a fictional story seems like a stretch, and a disservice to everyone in the LGBTQ community. Quality first, right?

So, with advice from my uncle, I decided to try and get my creative juices flowing by taking a scene from a show and bringing it to paper… nay, to keyboard.

You’ve all seen Mindy’s new hit, Never Have I Ever, right? In my opinion, she’s one of the smartest, wittiest minds out there; I guess you could say I consider her my North star. Her combination of humor, topical events, and awkward real life moments will forever inspire me.

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I pulled one of the sweetest scene’s from this popular new show, featuring a beautiful Indian teen… I spent 90 minutes playing, pausing, and rewinding, forming a picture with my words that I hoped would fit the scene.

Let me know how I did, will ya?

Devi woke up at 2am with an urgent need for water, which was convenient considering she had to take her crusted blue dinner plate down to the kitchen; she decided to spend the previous night eating mom’s cooking in the bounds of her bed.

She was still wearing her clothes from school — an orange pleated Gap sweater and a pair of distressed blue jeans that were both too small and too big depending on where you looked.

She noticed the microwave light on as she scampered down the padded stairs. Within the first two weeks of living in this house, Devi memorized the number of steps… 14. And her left hand always latched on to the smooth metal railing when she snuck to the kitchen at night.

The hardwood floor didn’t make a sound, except from the weight of Devi’s footsteps which were covered by her cheap Target socks.

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With a few more strides, Devi was in their mint-colored kitchen, when she heard her name whispered from a distance; she felt her stomach turn and her brows raised slightly as she turned slowly towards the living room… she knew that voice and she knew it well.

“Devi, come here,” she heard him say again and moved towards his voice with cautious optimism.

She knew she must be dreaming but it felt so real.

“Dad?” she questioned as she met his eager expression. He sat on their cream-colored sofa like it was any ordinary night, wearing his nice gray button down, a dark green sweater, and khaki pants.

She almost forgot how handsome her father was.

Devi noticed a tennis match playing out on the television against the wall, which sat perfectly within the confines of their dark walnut entertainment center. She wondered if all Indian men were as obsessed with tennis as her father was, quickly snapping back to reality as her dead dad patted down at the spot next to him, urging her to join him on the couch, which was over-adorned with bright colored pillows.

“Come, come, sit down,” he smiled wider, adjusting his positioning, “I want to show you something.”

Devi looked at her dad’s face suspiciously; his bearded stubble sat exactly as she remembered and his brown eyes glistened with elation. She walked into the room, setting her dinner plate down on the matching coffee table that held a small vase with a single pink flower. In her opinion, it clashed with the terracotta wall color, but she would never tell her mother.

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Before her jeans hit the crisp, quilted sofa, he pointed towards the luminous screen, almost with a sense of pride, “this, is John McEnroe; he is my favorite player of all time.” Devi watched her dad’s arm swing behind her as he appeared instantly more comfortable.

They both looked at the television which featured a green tennis court, followed by a young John, dribbling the bright ball with his racket.

Her father’s smile grew wider with enthusiasm as he was about to teach Devi a lesson.

“He doesn’t let anyone push him around,” he held his hand open and gestured towards the wall, “look at him, giving it to that umpire. He’s a firecracker, just like you.” He bounced his fist softly off Devi’s leg and turned towards her to see her back hunched while silent tears fell from her brown eyes. She sniffled quietly as her dad’s elation turned to worry.

He leaned in gently, “come now, what is it?”

Devi’s gaze was fixated on her ripped jeans, while her arms remained crossed. If her hair were an inch longer, it would have folded underneath her hands.

“Dad?” she finally looked up, “am I ugly?” another tear fell as her dad’s expression changed once again. From concern to utter confusion.

“What? Nonsense,” his disbelief was palpable, “I’m looking at you right now; you’re the most beautiful girl in the world.”

“No,” Devi responded, keeping her arms folded while she rolled her eyes, “Kamala’s beautiful… and a boy at school said that… I was an un…” she paused, clasping her eyes shut before changing her mind. “He said something mean to me.”

Her father nodded, signaling he now understood his daughter’s issue, “this boy is clearly an idiot,” he pointed towards the television again, “just like this umpire. Do you think John McEnroe would let this umpire tell him that he’s not beautiful?” he looked back at Devi; she formed a tent over her nose and eyes, then wiped her now puffy, wet face which allowed him to respond. “No, he would stand up for himself!”

Devi didn’t seem to find clarity. “So, I should beat up Ben Gross?” she questioned him with a slight twinge of judgement.

“What? No, no, no, no,” he hurriedly retorted. “You find a path for your spirit, little one. You stand up for yourself, just like him,” they both glanced ahead to see John’s sweaty face looking up at the umpire before screaming at him to answer the question.

Devi offered a slight smile, “thanks, dad, I’ll try.”

Let me know how I did.
Also, team Paxton or team Ben?

Inspirations: Mindy Kaling, Issa Rae, Lena Dunham. Trying to manifest some combination of them all + Vince Vaughn’s wit. BLACK LIVES MATTER

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