It was my mother’s fault that she birthed
Me on the banks of Kaveri
For try as they did they could not wash the black alluvial soil off my skin.
Little piece of coal my mother’s brother calls me
As he pretends he can’t spot me in the darkened birthing chamber
It sounds very cute when said in Tamil.
This one just got baked a little longer in the oven laughs my father when
My mother guiltily presents him with yet another daughter
One whose skin only a paddy farmer could love.
I am six when I am made to understand that
I who was proudly showing off my 99% in Maths was less than my best friend,
At least I’m fairer than you she says,
Sadly looking down at her own 73% marks
Raahat Ali hisses the epithet in class 3, that I…
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