This story by Maennaka Ravindran was originally featured on Malaysian Indian Anthology and has been reproduced in Astro Ulagam.

"Mama, kotor!"

My heart thumped with indignation as the child ran away from me. Just a few moments earlier, he'd been happily playing with a Malay colleague. We were medical students shadowing a paediatrician in his clinic.

As a pained smile fluttered across my face, my colleague had the courtesy to admonish the child, "Adik, tak baik cakap macam itu."

"Memang kotor pun," returned the mother with barely a glance in my direction. I left the room feeling angry and humiliated, barely holding back tears.

It's one thing to deal with the prevalent judgement in our daily lives. It's a whole other thing to have it thrown at your face from a child, who could've only picked it up at home.

Here I was studying to become a doctor, but it didn't make an iota of difference against the prejudice that faces our community. That all we will be are dirty drunks and hooligans up to no good.

With a troubled mind, I tossed and turned long into the night. When will it end?

Photo source: Malaysian Indian Anthology Facebook.