I live in Bangalore, India, and work in a multinational semiconductor company as a wireless systems engineer. I love working on technology but also have a keen interest in literature and fashion. I write poems and design clothes outside my working hours, and someday I want to pursue a career in poetry and fashion as well. My poems are heartfelt and personal and they carry my thoughts and feelings about the world around me.
I stare at your pretty clean scrubbed face
Smeared with fragrant oils and cream,
Resplendent with complacency,
Smoothed for lack of struggle.
Won't you stare at mine?
It is caked and caulked with dust and hardship,
My features hidden beneath layers of meekness
My teeth still white but too shy to be bared by a smile.
Nice and immaculately pressed is the skirt you wear.
There is lace on your skirt.
There are embroidered roses on your skirt.
There are buttons on your skirt.
I am wearing a mangy skirt as a skirt,
A mangy skirt tightened around my neck as a shirt,
And a mangy skirt as a headdress
So I don't get too dizzy in the Sun.
What do you have on your fingers?
Precious stones — colored and scintillating.
See how my fingers have hardened into stone.
But of course, they are not at all precious.
How beautiful are the tassels you wear on your hair!
My hair is tangled into dry dirty tassels.
And you wear shiny heeled shoes.
Well, I don't need any for myself
For the soles of my feet are cauterized to numbness
From walking the burning roads, the thorns, the slush.
What do you carry in your large embellished purse?
Sheaves of notes — crisp and unmutilated?
Are they tens or hundreds?
Do you even have notes of a thousand?
And what are you going to buy with them?
More clothes, more shoes, more stones, more lace?
Ice-creams, chocolates, prettier hair and prettier face?
I too have coins, their jingle means hope for today.
I have them in a plastic bag I picked from the trash.
Just a few more coins from the philanthropic, the divine
And I will have earned a stale loaf of bread
Which I will gorge to the last crumb
And then douse with some infected water.
Oh, I see you looking at me too.
But what is the expression on your face?
You are wincing and grimacing.
Why do I repel you so?
You should know I don't like you either.
If I ever get a chance,
I will gouge out the fake flesh from your face.
I will drag you by your beautiful hair out of your beautiful cage.
I will strip you of your pretty clothing, pretty shoes and pretty purse.
And leave you to dry and shrink;
To feel and taste the scorching Sun;
To feel and taste the desertion;
While I will run far away with my plunder.
But then I know, copiousness will find you again
Through the police and the newspapers and the televisions;
Through the love and the doting and the fretting.
The flood will trickle in and engulf you again.
And you'll be placed in the glass aquarium again.
To be fed and fattened and sated.
Because you are entitled to it.
As for me, even with your clothing and purse and shoes,
I will not taste respect and wholesomeness.
I will be exposed yet again, unclothed, unfed and shriveled.
And so you who grimaces looking at me ,
You who is you without deserving to be you,
I hope you drown in the surfeit
While I perish in the dearth whose child I am.
©2015 Sindhu Verma