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K Srilata ( is a poet, writer and professor of English at IIT Madras.


stare and stare

at their whiteness

until forced

to cover my eyes.

— Anne Tannam (Privilege)


The girls

fold and fold

their brown brown skins

till they fit nearly

the narrowness

of the peninsular mind.

Brown won’t go

away, they are told.

No June rain is quite


This, after all, is

the sturdy, wash-resistant

colour of the earth.

There’s no point.

Brown won’t budge, they are told.

Not in a million years.

How diligently your poor mothers


your brown brown skins

into narrow threads,

hoping to pass you through

the needle-eyes

of peninsular marriages,

and your brown getting stuck each time.


The women wake at dawn to


their brown brown skins,

heedless of how they will fit

the narrowness of needle-eyes,

cast them into cool peninsular seas,

leave them to rest for a while,

claim them again.

When they drape their

still-wet skin-nets,

yards and yards of it,

it is saris without pins,

swimming with


it is a brown

with no shores,

a brown

to climb into,

to walk in,

to not give

a damn in.


Updated On : 9th Feb, 2018


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