Yesterday I found out from a complete stranger that my birth father’s name placed my paternal heritage as 100% Kashmiri.
I am standing in my office at work watching the clouds scud by in the rain and wind – talking on the telephone to a complete stranger and I let my guard down.
Knowledge is given – too much knowledge shared without a second thought.
I am half Kashmiri. I am half Kashmiri.
I turn this over and over in my mind as we speak.
This stranger tells me that his name (Kaya) is an abbreviation.
He has shortened it., he shortened it.coutny
Kaya, he continues, is short for Kayat which means “tailor”.
So my birth father was a tailor and it wasn’t a name he gave my seventeen year old birth mother in 1964 outside the Town and Country Club when they had sex but his profession.
And then he disappeared.
I don’t know, I think. Immediately uncomfortable.
What do you bet, says Mohammed that I can’t find him in Bradford now.
I don’t know, I reply.
I make a joke and the call ends.
Later I retrieve this piece of knowledge and twist and turn it over again in my mind.
My father was from Kashmir.
He was a tailor.
My green eyes, high cheekbones,fair hair and fair skin are a bloodline link to Alexander the Great and his Macedonian conquests, I think.
Things start to escalate and I feel afraid. I am a muslim?
And then I let it go.