Family Parade

The household is in a state of chaos.

My mother rushes around the kitchen grabbing tin foil, plastic wrap and lunch bags for the aloo-chutney sandwiches spread in rows on the kitchen table.

“Oh Ji,” she shouts to my father, who is running up and down stairs gathering picnic supplies. “Can you get my purse from the closet? And grab my sunglasses too!”

My little sister Anika bounces a rubber ball along the kitchen walls yelling “Orange! Crush! Pepsi!”—with a loud thump following each exclamation—in imitation of a game I gave up playing last year. As usual, she forgets to say “Cola!” at the end.

Meanwhile, my grandmother shuffles down the hallway, lamenting her aching bones a bit more loudly than usual, and mutters about going out in hot weather. And my aunt and cousins, who have just arrived, talk all at once in the entryway, urging us “Chalo! Chalo!”—hurry up—so that we will not be late for the parade.

Upstairs, I am seated on my bed, arms crossed, tapping my heels with impatience. I have been waiting to use the bathroom down the hall, which my grandfather has occupied for the last half hour.

Published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 4. Purchase the book to read the full piece.

Toronto locations referenced in this piece

“Ten minutes later, I am seated in the ‘kids car,’ driven by my father, as he tries to navigate the weekend traffic on the Don Valley Parkway . . . ” —Don Valley Parkway

“I can already hear the echoes of steel drums accompanied by a heavy bass beat as we begin to walk over to University Avenue. It lends an air of energy and excitement to the city and I start to feel more optimistic about the outing . . . ” —University Ave.