May 1, 2015

Prerna Bakshi: Three poems, including, "A Tale Of Round Rotis "

Prerna Bakshi is a sociolinguist, research scholar and writer of Indian origin, currently based in Macao. She has contributed essays and articles to a variety of publications including The Hindu, CounterCurrents, Amar Ujala, and Desh Bandhu to name a few. Her poetry has been published in Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Indiana Voice Journal, Red Fez, peer reviewed journals such as Muse India, Postcolonial Text and is forthcoming in Hysteria, Grey Sparrow Journal, and several publications.  
She could be reached at: or found on Twitter: @bprerna

A Tale of Round Rotis

Ever Since I was growing up
I was told just how important it was
To cook round roti (Indian bread)
Perfectly shaped
Soft, round rotis

I hated them
For their supposed
'Perfectness', in a world
Full of people
Far from being perfect
Who would judge a woman's worth
By her ability to make 'round rotis'

I hated them
For what they put
Countless women through
With women slogging in the kitchen
Kneading, rolling the dough
Making, unmaking, remaking it
To escape from being judged
All for that ever so desired
Perfectly shaped round roti

No I don't like them 'round'
I like them Tedhi-Medhi
Thank you!
Far from what's regarded
'Perfect', I know
But at least, this way, they resemble
Our lives
The lives of women
Lives which are
Far from being perfect
These imperfect, unsuitable rotis, then
Are much more realistic, after all
Don't you think?

Family gup-shup (chit-chat)

Tea will be ordered
Plates of biscuits will be offered
Coffee table will be filled
With samosas, kachauris, namkeen
Then, they’d all sit down
To an abundant meal
Prepared by her
(Most likely that took hours in the making)
If feeling generous
They’d pay her some compliments
Finishing the meal
Family gossip and
Conversations will follow
In the lounge room

See, he doesn’t take me out anywhere.
As the room will break out in laughter
Please, say something!
As everyone will continue to giggle
He’d listen to you, if you say.
She will say with a glimmer of hope
As chuckles will fill the room
They’d then look at their watch
Say they’d better leave

Another day,
Another family union,

There is something deeply sinister about
Our society that finds humor in
Women’s sheer lack of autonomy,
Forced domesticity.


They say one craves for things
They can’t have.
I never understood why people say
They hate living out of their suitcases.
I want to meet these people.
I would gladly exchange
My life with theirs.

For years,
I’ve diligently folded,
Packed away clothes, and
Everything else in neat,
Organized manner,
In their predictable spaces,
In drawers, shelves, cupboards,
Everything had to be in its
Confined, permanent spot, and
That was that.

But there is nothing so permanent
About a traveling suitcase.
For it symbolizes transition.
The journey.
The now, not so much of forever.
Each suitcase tells its own story.
Uncertainty over
What might lie ahead.
Certainty over
What has been left behind.
Things that will find their place
In future, and
Things that just didn’t
Make the cut
For them to be packed inside.
A suitcase provides escape.
It gives hope.
It reflects moments.
Moments cherished,
Moments left behind,
New moments that await…
~Prerna Bakshi

Total Pageviews