The term Coolitude is derived from “coolie,” a word originating in Tamil that means “laborer” with the implication that the labor provided is physical in nature. The British started taking Indians into their colonies in 1838, a trade that lasted until 1917, created to provide labor needed in sugar plantations after slavery was abolished. Its roots are in labor and works to reclaim an identity that acknowledges histories of labor and the British labor trade in the colonies. This type of movement that faces Asia from spaces where overseas Indians live counters common wisdom that holds that fictions of “race” create identity.
Driving to your block, I slide in my father's cassette of old Hindi songs and I am humming in twilight to the legendary playback singer's baritone releasing those sounds in that language that makes me feel like I am home. In the back of my throat, I can taste my grandmother's translucent thin chappatis that as children we would hold up to the light, the dough so evenly rolled out by her hands that not one lump would show.