"A childhood measured in wooden rulers" by Shlagha Borah


i was six when I lied for the

first time- in handwriting class,

i'd asked a friend to fill a page for me.

my strict parents found out about it

and my father talked to me

not with words but with a 30cm wooden ruler

that broke on my calves.

the next day, my father

fixed the ruler with some strong adhesive

and i used it to draw margins on my notebooks for the rest of the year.

it worked perfectly, but even sixteen years later,

my knees tremble and my jaws clench

if my partner raises his voice or

tightens his grip, even by mistake.

i guess no number of wooden rulers put together

could make me forget

that the first love language i learnt,

is actually called abuse.

Editorial - This piece here, is a picture of a scar left in childhood aching still in youth. It is beautiful in all its dark blue bruised form, and eloquent in a way only pain can be. (Pragya)

Shlagha Borah is an undergraduate from Delhi. Alongside satiating her passion for writing, this city girl has co-founded a student-led collective called Pink Freud that works around destigmatizing mental health issues.