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The tale of (De)Generation - Sumedha Sengupta

Updated: Jan 22

I was Seven,

And a cruel king in one of my grandmother’s tales

buried his seven children in the backyard.

Seven pastel flowers bloomed in the night thereafter,

and they became his perfumed agony.

With the tip of her lip upturned, it was perhaps her way

of assuring (herself) that human souls never truly wither.


I was Nine,

And I struggled to keep up with her seventy-year-old

fingers that flew across the harmonium keys.

Indian tunes cut through the air and stern glances

stirred my soul, lest I sing my colonisers

tongue better than my own.


I was Eleven,

And the stench of currying fish mingled

with petrichor, the silent humming of dead

old songs, and the sight of dainty fingers

ladling gravy over rice, was an identity

dearer to me than my own name.


I was Thirteen,

And we took a stroll in the garden behind our home, and

I pranced away into the greenery, while she struggled

to keep up with me, scrambling to manage her

emblematic beige Saree.


I was Fifteen,

And saw something from the corner of my eye-

My grandmother discarded half-eaten shortbread biscuits

that my mother had baked.


I was Seventeen,

And habitual were the sounds of curses and cries in the afternoon,

emanating from my grandmothers’ bedroom.

I was Nineteen,

And faced with her gut-wrenching questions-


“Who even are you?” She would ask.

Strangely though, I still have no answer.


I am Twenty-one,

and my favourite story is that of the soul withering away.


Bio:

Sumedha Sengupta (She/Her) is a 21 year old student and writer residing in New Delhi, India. Her work can be found in Twist&Twain, The LiveWire, and is forthcoming in a few lit magazines. On a good day, she can be found obsessing over chemical reactions, painting contorted faces, or listening to classical music. One day, she hopes to fly!


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