Tag Archives: Woke

Untouchable- Part 3

the smell of chickens
and cows and bulls
hit me as i reach
my grandmother’s house.

she lives alone
with the echoes of her past
haunting her.

her only friend is
the maid who now cooks
mid day meals to support herself.

the maid’s daughter married
an alcoholic to save herself from poverty
but came back running home
when she had a son

All these people
Getting divorces now
Back then we stuck to our spouses
In sickness and in health

My husband had cancer
And I stayed by his bedside
Till his last breath
Taking a sabbatical from work

Kunju ettan taught me
how to pick mangoes
and how to make manga chamandi
with a stone mortar

he taught me to play
catch, and seven stones
and to act for a play he’d written
about forbidden love

he teased me about boys
i was friends with
and girls i wasn’t

he told me to call him kunju
or vaishakh,
because ettan is too formal
i now know why.

he sat a bit away when we were eating
and my grandmother didn’t touch him
he had to throw his leaf elsewhere
and burn it to the ground.

every evening
my mother interrupted me
from our games
and i had to go
to our kollam
and have a bath
to rinse him away from my skin.


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Colour.

The Colour of my Skin doesn’t matter to you. Until it kills me.

You tell me you don’t see colour
But I’m a caramel mocha brown
While you’re just a Flat White
I’m a black board you write on
With white chalk
But you are a white board
With a redgreenblueblack marker.

You tell me you don’t see colour
But my skin is not dark enough
To be in a ghetto
My skin is too dark
For you to look through the barrell of a gun

You tell me you don’t see colour
But my skin is too brown
To not be diagnosed as a nutcase.
But I’m a PakiAfganMuslim Terrorist
My skin is too yellow
So i must be good at math
And that’s a compliment.

You tell me you don’t see colour
But ask me to pose for your university catalogue
I’m a statistic of multiculturalism
While you forget to teach my ancestors
In your Literature class.

You say you don’t see colour
But it’s me you check through airport security
Twice. Thrice. Four times.
Oh no, of course it’s a random check.
Of course you didn’t see my skin
Or my beard. Or my turban.
You didn’t call my sister a Paki bitch
Because of her skin colour
Even though she’s from Sri Lanka.

You tell me you don’t see colour
But it’s your blue uniform
That my mother has nightmares about
That my father is deathly afraid of
That killed my brother without a gun
That pulls the trigger every time
And gets away by the name of self defence.

You tell me you don’t see colour
But when the sirens come
It’s me who’s facing the gun
It’s me against whom the trigger is pulled
It’s me who is another statistic
Of a 17 year old boy with marijuana in my pocket
That’s dead murdered.