Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan (+ Annotations by Sophie Brazier 11B) They sent me a salwar kameez peacock-blue, glistening like an orange split open, embossed slippers, gold and black points curling. Candy-striped glass bangles snapped, drew blood. Like at school, fashions changed in Pakistan – the salwar bottoms were broad and stiff, then narrow. My aunts chose an apple-green sari, silver-bordered for my teens. I tried each satin-silken top – was alien in the sitting room.
I could never be as lovely as those clothes – I longed for denim and corduroy. My costume clung to me and I was aflame, I couldn’t rise up out of its fire, half-English, unlike Aunt Jamila. I wanted my parents’ camel-skin lamp – switching it on in my bedroom, to consider the cruelty and the transformation from camel to shade, marvel at the colours like stained glass. My mother cherished her jewellery – Indian gold, dangling, filigree. But it was stolen from our car. The presents were radiant in my wardrobe.Order now
My aunts requested cardigans from Marks and Spencers. My salwar kameez didn’t impress the schoolfriend who sat on my bed, asked to see my weekend clothes. But often I admired the mirror-work, tried to glimpse myself in the miniature glass circles, recall the story how the three of us sailed to England. Prickly heat had me screaming on the way. I ended up in a cot in my English grandmother’s dining room, found myself alone, playing with a tin boat. I pictured my birthplace from fifties’ photographs.
When I was older there was a conflict, a fractured land throbbing through newsprint. Sometimes I saw Lahore - my aunts in shaded rooms, screened from male visitors, sorting presents, wrapping them in tissue. Or there were beggars, sweeper-girls and I was there – of no fixed nationality, staring through fretwork at the Shalimar gardens. Cultural reference referring to Pakistani culture. Bright vivid colours suggesting beauty of culture. See above comment. Onomatopoeia adding to imagery in mind.
See Comment This may be the personas patience snapping or her tolerance. Suggests that the girl is uncomfortable with the Pakistani culture that she is experiencing. See Comment See Comment See Comment Alliteration showing detail and feel of clothing creating a picture in our minds. See Comment The fact that this phrase is all on one line shows the intensity of this desire. Stereotypical English clothing See above comment. See Comment
This may show her embarrassment at her ‘foreign’ clothing making us feel uncomfortable and ashamed if we have judged someone on appearance. This may be her feeling when she is expected to wear or uses the presents from her Aunts in Pakistan. See above comment. Simile so we can compare the beauty to something we are familiar with. See Comment this shows us positive seemingly perfect view. The above comment is juxtaposed with this comment bringing a sense of reality into the poem. This makes us ashamed of the way people can act sometimes.
This seems to be as if she doesn’t want to acknowledge her presents which be a parallel of her not wanting to acknowledge her roots and heritage. See Comment this is a typical English gift which adds irony to the poem making us empathise with the persona, if others don’t have to have cultural presents then why should she? See comment She may resent not having weekend clothes. This seems that there are mixed feelings concerning her iage and this makes us interested as to why because she seems confused. Uncomfortable experience making it memorable.
Typical English room adds second cultural element. No one to play with so we feel sorry for the persona. Mention of conflict, theme of pain and discomfort. See above comment. See Comment Daydream quality here shows us the she still thinks of Pakistan and imagines it. Link back to the title. This may be a metaphor for cushioning the persona from life. This may be that she resents having one fixed nationality and she likes and dislikes certain elements of both the English and Pakistani culture.