• Priyanka Srivastava

"The exotic Indian turmeric queen" by Ridhi Bhutani

On March 22nd 2000

A castle of universal truths and mannerisms was built to contain me inside my own body like a tenant.

The Tenant Queen pays 9000 rupees to afford her own bones which need more corsets than calcium. The game to become a queen overnight is natural.

Natural enough to surpass nature and bring a man on his knees so he can love you just the way you are with a skin which naturally destroys its hairs with a fountain of chocolate wax and sensual screaming.

Natural enough to surpass nature and make galaxies adjust themselves at the tip of cotton dipped in gulab jal (rose water) so that when I smile my favorite poets use similes to compliment my rose-like cheeks. On days when I turn cheeky, my mom reminds me how for the 18year old Queen, the uses of a kitchen change.

So I no longer apply turmeric on my belly button to cure stomach ache because my mom told me my face could only be bridal enough when I learn the right usage of turmeric.

It's always the turmeric she says.

So my mother sits in the kitchen to open the exotic box of Indian spices to make me memorize the names of spices so that when the bride to be, gets interviewed at Skype,

she revamps into an Indian exotic sculpture spewing tablespoons of her letter of recommendation from the kitchen of an exotic Asian family.

I am the Asian Goddess they accommodate on Netflix. I smell like cardamom and tea from far until you come a little closer to smell the aftermath rashes of jojoba wax and vomits caused by bulimia to fit in a Sabyasachi Lehenga worth more than my graduation expenses.

In the curriculum vitae, I shall submit to my in-laws, one of my key skills would be versatility. I can paste turmeric on my face, put turmeric in my daal, eat turmeric to cure stomach ache and talk about turmeric in poetry, which is my only safe space btw.

Meanwhile, when I'm not the queen, my therapist tells me I live in dualisms, which is to say that this Indian Princess either wipes tears or floor, whichever thrown at her first.

No one helps the damsel in distress when it's the knight she's scared of when the queen craves to be exiled from the kingdom to be sent somewhere far far away from the land of once upon a time in Punjab, India.

So today the princess is exiled from the kingdom for talking about politics during dinner table conversations so today she will write a rant like a poem about feminism.

From within the 4 chambers of her washroom.

Washroom princess will yet again win a debate against shampoo bottles and bathtubs with a mic dropping argument only until she gets back at the dinner table to talk about turmeric instead of politics and feminism.

Meanwhile my mother whispers in my ears,

Its always about turmeric, nothing but turmeric alone.

Editorial : Ridhi’s poem is a page which has the fragrance of Indian spices and the predominant one in it is the turmeric. The poem is about how a girl is groomed in her parent's home to suit the boy’s family, how more attention is given to her appearance and how her inner wounds are ignored by her loved ones.


This Poem talks about the stark reality predominant in India, once a daughter is born she is told that her home is somewhere else. The poet keeps hiding in her home and is seen speaking to the walls most of the time. The poems are stuck in her throat, something which she can’t swallow nor tell her parents. So she keeps staining the page turmeric yellow with the words because it’s better than carrying the weight of the poem. (Priyanka) Ridhi is based in New Delhi, when she is not writing she is busy reciting poems at Indian Slam Poetry events. She likes to like to recognize herself as soft, naïve ginger-like Indian mutiny.

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