whilst every brown boy and his mother leaf through the beauty of local girls,
I sit rudely in the scorching sun daring him to turn me darker still.
they’re checking the boxes that define perfection—
milky skin against ebony locks, submissive eyes.
but they lump me separately—
too much fire for a family so obviously dry.
with my ideas for grand women, embracing all colours & sexes & loves,
with my outline for a fair marriage,
& a mouth full of truth,
I am not the fabric of pretty Indian brides.
you are looking for a woman to replicate your mother,
feed you sweetmeats and stroke your ego,
a woman who will not ask why you smell like deceit,
or will never expect you to commit to equality.
hear me small brown man,
I do not care if you do not fit me as the queen of your home,
my father made me the goddess of his,
and you may call me Kali.
— Ria Naidoo —
I came across this poem last week on Instagram and immediately knew I wanted to share it for this week’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday. Ria masterfully offers insight into one of the most entrenched traditions of Indian culture: arranged marriage. I found the boldness and self-assurance of this poem’s speaker inspiring, and I hope you do too.