Unusual Customs

Featured Artwork: Zoe Harveen Kaur

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bhabi, your daughter has a dull —

she pauses for a moment and says —

please don’t take this as an insult —

but how’s she going to find a suitor, 

all i am saying is 

this is for the better, 

but it must be upsetting to have this worry looming

over your head —

this thought that my daughter might not get married, 

or worse she never gets to put on the dark red —

sindur on her forehead. 

 

 

But beta, not to worry

here’s a cream —

fair and lovely,

someday you’ll find the prince 

of your dreams,

who’s charming and bubbly.

It will bleach away all the impurities

product disclaimer:

what it doesn’t mention are all the added insecurities.

If this doesn’t work, 

mix turmeric, lime, and honey

with a spoonful of beson, 

you will have suitors lined up

some rich engineer maybe? not to mention.

 

 

But why must it be  

that my honeyed skin is considered dirt,

a topic of mockery and mirth 

a shame I have brought upon my family you say

since my birth, why must it be 

that my earthy skin is given bleaching creams

not deemed worthy of love, 

It’s you maybe who finds it

perhaps a little daunting? 

maybe my skin isn’t defined by your 

rituals and customs,

a little something out of the ordinary,

yet i wear my skin like a comfortable

fur coat —

made to believe it’s faux, 

an anecdote —

is what you are to me, not the whole note.