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Despite the lure of Bollywood’s starry tantrum queens, gyrating dance sequences and chiffon saris, Radhika quit her job as an assistant director and jumped into advertising eleven years ago. She has worked as a copywriter on brands with a legacy of rich advertising such as Volkswagen, Philips, Coca-Cola, Nestle and HBO. She is also working on an anthology of short stories by South Asian writers based in the UK and a screenplay. The Feminist Review and the Pioneer have published her work. She recently won third place in the Euroscript Screenwriting competition.

As a Story Terrace writer, Radhika interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better: you can read an autobiographical story of her own below. Get in touch today to work with her!

The Hat of the Matter

I had just never imagined wearing a hat.

Until I found myself going to the Ascot Races. It was part of the dress code so I picked one up from Marks and Spencer. When I showed it to my sister over Skype, she exclaimed, “You look like Kate Middleton!” And my mother giggled excitedly.

The morning of the races arrived. I put on the hat and immediately turned into an impostor. Pretend English. The feeling only gathered steam once I got to Ascot. The Punjabi aunties all wore hats that were a little too big, a little too foreign for their heads. One even said to me, “Today we can be ladies of leisure. Tomorrow, back to kitchen.” It was a day out of reality. I kept adjusting my own hat – I wasn’t quite sure what angle to let it perch at.

I thought to myself, “What am I doing here? There should only be English people here.” Actually, those very same English people looked like con artists too. An image of their inelegant pub-going souls superimposed itself on these hat-wearing liars. Clutching the slightly askew headpiece, I asked my husband, “Do I really have to have this on all the time?”

“Think of it like being in a Gurudwara,” he said. “The head needs to be covered.” The Gurudwara is a Sikh temple, inside which you cover your head with a piece of cloth as a sign of respect. The odd comparison had the pompousness hissing out of the races, like air from a tyre.

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