Yema

Yema (36) is a teacher at a prestigious all boys school in Trinidad. "I remember, one day, my family and I were cleaning the temple and people had come to see my dad who is the village pundit (temple priest). It was an awkward situation because you're there cleaning, sweating, your clothes are all dirty. They were all just sitting there and because there was nothing else to do, they're just looking at you. It's like you're living in a zoo, and you are the main attraction. But they would come in and start teasing; in their mind they are teasing but really they are insulting. They started calling me "meek mouth" and things like that. Now mind you, I was a child, maybe 10 or so. I remember answering back to the people. And my dad comes and gives me two slaps and says, "Don't be rude to people!". And so you have these experiences that then begin to shape you, to condition you - what you think is acceptable and what is not acceptable. In a situation like that, for women, particularly East Indian women in Trinidad, we begin to develop a dual identity, having a public and private image of ourselves. So who are you really? You are struggling with identity. You live a divorced life."