Theen Ladakiyaan (Three Girls)


Sasha, Danica, and Izzy were best friends. They were three girls, one heart, forever. But forever is a long time.

Isabelle P., Writer

Sasha and Danica were the longest-standing friends I ever had, closer than blood, closer than water, closer than our three pregnant mothers standing together in photographs, laughing and brown and happy. Sasha was from Yorba Linda, and Danica was from Irvine, the kind of distance from home that knights would cross, or maybe princesses. We didn’t see each other except on special occasions, when it was worth calling all the Desis to drive for hours to someone’s brightly decorated house, full of flowing saaris and sugary sweet jalebi and the scent of cardamom. But when we were together, we were three peas in a pod, the fairytale girls from every storybook mashed into one, Anna and Elsa and Sita and Mulan (she’s not a princessyes she is!). And if our twirling dupattas didn’t match Sleeping Beauty’s skirt quite right, it was okay, because we were SashaandDanicaandIzzy, and we were gonna be best friends forever.

Three girls, born in America, raised in America, with parents whose hearts still belonged to a corruption-laced, color-filled land. Three girls, who ate upma at home and mashed potatoes at school and could count to 10 haltingly in Hindi and in English. Three girls, dark as the land our parents had come from, but with skin never kissed by that sun, we didn’t fit. Not with the white kids. Not with the Indian teenagers. So the three girls (or princesses, or mermaids, or or ASTRONAUTS) banded together. SashaandDanicaandIzzy. One name, three girls. Closer than blood, closer than water. 

It was the three of us against the world, until the world slipped in through the cracks. But that would come later. Until then, we were still three girls, giggling at the imagined antics of our guardian fairies, a fever dream mash-up of Tinkerbell, Catholicism, and 7-year-old logic. 

For the fairies! Danica whispered, as we wriggled from our sleeping bags in my room that night to the bathroom door. The bathroom door, which, while closed, allowed a few tantalizing rays of light into my dark room: fairy gold, to fill our cupped hands and feed our tiny magical friends. Little hands, digging at the glow, shushing each other for when the door would inevitably open to someone’s mom or sister, silhouetted in the light, who would catch us at our secret mission. By the grand age of 7, we were too old for magic anyway, but as long as the door stayed closed, as the light still shone, we could giggle in the dark. Just three girls, not quite white and not quite brown, but the light reflected on our faces all the same. 

     And the fairy gold




into the sepia tones of memory. We were gonna be best friends forever, but forever is a long time. When there was no one else, we banded together and left fairy dust in our wake. But the world is nothing if it is not vast, and love built on twice-a-year visits doesn’t last. We couldn’t be put together again as pretty as we looked in the photographs, not like the fairy tales, from either of our worlds. Maybe the gold was always just a lightbulb behind a door, or maybe it was fairy dust, or maybe it was something in between, just on the cusp of magic and the edge of ordinary like three girls, arms stretched wide to hold and reach each other too, just for a little longer. SashaandDanicaandIzzy. Three girls, one heart, forever.