Whoever was born a tabula rasa?
I came from the womb
with the history of our ancestors
the forks in their tongues
and the venom on their lips
interwoven into the strands of my DNA
wash, scrub and rinse, abrade and buff
it won’t come off.
Put on all the liberal masks of the world
one over the other yet
there will be a chink where the cosmetics melt
and the BB cream cracks
to show teeth and fangs
and atavistic passions
that would put our tribal past to shame
haven’t we now devised means so clinical,
long distant, sophisticated and global
that we can vanquish
entire peoples without a spot of blood
on our manicured white hands.
(First published in Teksto – the Peoples’ Magazine of the North East India Company)