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Poem: How an Upper-Class Hindu Responds to Riots

By Kinshuk Gupta


A headline beeps on my mobile – “A photojournalist forced to drop off his pants to establish his religion.” I remember my feeling of disgust when I saw a still from the film where a flock of refugee men ran behind the cart of tomatoes. Now, when I feel the margins of the skin on my penis, I know tomatoes and penis become more important than blood in these zones of unhinged people.


My father warns me to shut the doors and windows tight, stop playing Qawwalis loud from Coke Studio, hang a symbol in the verandah to let the human current take the path of least resistance. He tells me that any protest is like boiling milk – it uprises with acrid words but settles as foam the moment you lower down the flame.


When I ask a lady to lie down on the couch to examine her breast lump, sweat drops germinate near her hairline forming lines of fear that trace their way down to her neck.


I try to unlearn Urdu words for it is the language of mutiny, abstain from ordering Biryani in public canteens for it is food for anti-nationalists, but I can’t forget my friend whose language of chants is different from mine.

I go and hold his hands tightly but he thrusts them away like fish bones.

These acidic fights not only pith some humans like lab frogs but also dissolve bones of love.

Photo: BBC

Kinshuk Gupta, a medical student, uses the scalpel of his pen to write about his experiences as an undergraduate medical student. His work can be read or forthcoming in Joao Roque Literary Journal, American Writer’s Review, Bengaluru Review, Mad in Asia Pacific, Human/Kind Journal, Failed Haiku, Cattails, Eunoia Review, among others.


For more stories, read Café Dissensus Everyday, the blog of Café Dissensus Magazine.

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