Thursday, February 7, 2008


You are a fascinating person.
Sorrounded by legends
And myths, ancient and modern.
Your jet-black, ramrod- straight hair
Cascades like waterfalls deep in the jungle,
Where once, tribal lords
Must have paid homage to your beauty
With songs that enchant us still,
The quiet forest reverberating
With drumbeats, as you swayed to the rhythm.

Now you carry the song in your heart
As you lose yourself among the crowd
In the busy city, a far cry from tribal ways.
You speak their language, live their life,
Desperate to fit in, a question of survival.
You do not know your walk gives you away,
For you still walk to the beat of drums
From an ancient, forgotten time,
When you were noble, yet never a savage.
You ignore such reminders, hectically trying
To forge a Self acceptable to them.

Your image in the mirror
Only reminds you your eyes are different.
In vain you wish for a different face:
Larger eyes, sharper features. You look like yourself
And that contributes to your victimization.
They do not understand your ways,
The easy camaderie, the uninhibited joy,
The assumption that people are as good as you.
They do not understand your pain
Or the lengths you go to hide it,
When you sing your sorrow-songs.

Your inability to blend in marks you out
As an object around which myths are spun.
You mesmerize, fascinate, attract and enchant,
You arouse curiosity, suspicion, fantasy, jealousy
And fear
Which must be conquered
By conquering you.
So they fabricate these myths
In an effort to slot you
Into a recognizable category.
Sister, don’t help perpetuate these myths.


  1. The above beautiful and well illustrated poem, if spoken by a guy like me, would be...

    You're beautiful.
    Come back to bed.
    End of Poem.


    Jokes aside, that was one really magnificent composition. This and the poem you left as a comment on my blog. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading your works, and why I urged you incessantly to update your blog :) Cheers and keep 'em coming.

  2. Thanks, Illusionaire. It's people like you who take the time to leave such gracious comments as these, and give people like us the courage to write! :)

    How big is your bed, by the way? lolz.

    Seriously, though, the easy stereotyping so rampant in Inda, especially as far as the so-called "northeast" is concerned, is a subject that has really troubled me, and that's why I write the kind of poems I do. As long as you're there to read 'em, be assured that I'll keep the posts coming!

  3. This poem reminds me of another somewhat similar that an old classmate at univ wrote long ago...erm it was either Robin N Singh or Erwin Suchiang, I forget which. They've both gone on to have their works published which you should do too. You and Mona both, seriously.

  4. A beautiful poem ! I have observed a similar refrain in many "NE" bloggers' posts. As a "mainlander", I feel sad that you feel this way. I left a comment on one of your other posts too (the one about biased reporting - before I read this poem).

    There are only a handful countries in the world which have a racial diversity that is similar to what is indigenously found in India. All of those other countries have a singular common language. All of them have a single predominant religion. Their populations have very high rates of literacy (95%+). In spite of these unifying features, there are, in this day and age, sub-surface racial tensions in all of those countries.

    Now coming back to India, a pre-existing racial diversity is further complicated by linguistic diversity. Add to that, a religious mix found no where else on Earth. Now you are looking at perhaps the most diverse society in the world, made even more complex by a general lack of wealth and education. It is my belief that most people in India (even many of the "educated" ones), simply cannot grasp the diversity that exists in their own country.

    I hope that in a not-so distant future, a large majority will grasp the reality of our diversity. Currently most are the benignly curious, "live and let live" variety. There is a vocal fringe that is bigoted, racist, sexist (you name it). My guess is that at the current time, out of a population of 1.2 billion or so in India, perhaps a million people or so (about 1 in 1000) will be at your level of enlightenment. Just a guesstimate but to me that number feels about right. Those million were hard to find earlier but not so hard in this age of the Internet ! Those are the people who would be absolutely thrilled to hear you speak, to read what you wrote, to laugh at your jokes, truly understand your pain, and be sad to see you sad.

    All I can say is don't take the stereotyping too personally, it is all about a relatively poor, relatively uneducated country coming to grips with its extreme diversity and slowly inching its way to true enlightenment. Find/Make your own groove in it and have fun.

    Another long comment but hope it has been helpful.

  5. not kissing @ss or nething, but, i would really love to quote this in my paper.. do i go thru official channels for permission or...?

  6. dear TakeAStepBack: thank you so much for your response. Insightful, perceptive, honest. Apart from everything else you have said, I think the two things that really strike a chord is what u said about the "vocal minority" at the fringes, who are perhaps too hasty to say too much whilst knowing too little. The other thing, about not taking the stereotyping too personally, yes I agree. I guess that's why I kinda stopped writing poems along those lines for the past two years. Sometimes, developing a thick skin is a vital tool for survival.

    @ku2: Feel free to kiss @ss anytime, hehe.
    Seriously, though...define "proper channels".... I don't know how to answer that query. Perhaps it would help it I knew where I was going to be quoted?

  7. yo, ex-student here. for my m.phil paper...urgh, such a pain..makes me marvel that u cud complete ur ph.d while at the same time face us everyday and come up with alllll those facts and 'kherchhuah keuh' questions!
    so..was wondering, do i have to make an official request with paper work and personal audience-ing to get permission?

  8. @ku2: ok... do let me see it before u submit it, though, ok? all the best

  9. yay, thanks! hope i do justice to it

  10. Gets better every time I read it.