“don’t ask why, just buy!”

Written by:

Anindita Farzana, Class XI, Section Green.

You’ve watched enough Carat-Lane adverts to know that having a metastable carbon allotrope strapped across your wrist will make you feel like a Goddess. That you can’t possibly be someone’s best friend unless you both wear the same brand of over-priced jeans. Your fondness for your pet insists upon you having its portrait etched onto your flesh. How can a home possibly be a home without crystal sculptures conspicuously displayed throughout the living room? Your womanhood is defined by the size of your nail-varnish collection

Pink, pink, pink? No! Salmon, amaranth, cerise.

You convince yourself there’s a difference.

That your luscious, vibrant nail lacquer is more than just an embellishment

It’s more than just a choking hazard.

You convince yourself that it defines you somehow.

You convince yourself that it’s not the symptom of an ever-abiding affliction

Eating away at your soul You feign satisfaction.

Attempt to deceive yourself into believing that you will inevitably be content

But you just can’t help it.

You can’t neglect the numbness.

You can’t evade the realization of the fact that you are hollow.

That every bargain, crotched top, red-wine tinted pair of oxford shoes

Is just another excavation. “Mum” My mother awakens at the crack of dawn to make my breakfast

She lets me lick the residual batter off the bowl whenever she makes her warm, fudge brownies

She recites “Kajla didi”, every night, to help me fall asleep

Or she would have, I guess, had she been breathing

Or, perhaps not

Perhaps she would have done none of those things. I suppose I’ll never know

Perhaps she would have adored irises as much as I do Perhaps she would have taught me how to ride a bike

Perhaps she would have admonished me for my white lies

Perhaps she would have been my best-friend

Perhaps she would have taken me up to the rooftop To while away our hours

Counting stars glimmering in the night’s glorious sky

I suppose I’ll never know.

My father is a religious man

He once told me that people could chose the length of their subsequent lives shortly before birth

Why on earth then, did she, not choose live a little longer Why couldn’t she force her vitals to work? Why did she choose to abandon me? Maybe, someday, I’ll know.

“Mrs. Haider”

Mrs. Haider has her thick, lustrous head of hair wrapped into a bun roughly equal ,in size, to a melon

She had not run the mile since the passing of her husband.

The secret to her survival, as a widowed mother of five

Lies in the batting of her eyelashes, in her unblemished, porcelain skin In her calculated usage of her body as a swiss-army knife.

The women in her neighborhood called her a “seductive witch” She is not affronted by these terms. Not anymore She is crafty enough to use their resentment to her advantage

Her aptitude as a finagler keeps her children well-fed Her lush, floral skirts keep her home warm

Her crimson-tinted lipstick keeps a roof over her head.

In the survival of the prettiest, she is the definite victor.

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