There were four Asian girls in my class at secondary school, but I was far and away the loudest and most exhibitionist. So when our class put on a play about the Mughal Empire (an ancient empire in South Asia), I was chosen to play the Emperor Akbar.
I remember sitting on a throne (aka a chair), and six other girls sitting cross-legged at my feet, pretending to be my wives. Our adviser on all things Mughal was a teacher called Mrs Chopra, who studied the scene and announced, ‘Akbar needs a hookah!’
[A hookah pipe, used for smoking shisha.]
Never one to miss an opportunity for a joke, I quipped ‘But Mrs Chopra, I already have six wives!’
Our stern teacher Miss Buckley rounded upon me with a fearsome glare, and replied ‘Ariane, I thought you were a nice girl. You are not a nice girl!’
If I ever write a memoir, Not a Nice Girl will be the title.
[Me, aged 11. Not so nice, apparently.]
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