Fair and Lovely - Avik Sarkar

My dida brings me blessings

in little white bottles,

the words Fair and Lovely printed

in a cacophony of pink and grey.


On the bottle, two faces stare—one hides

behind the other, dark, envying

her twin, fair, beaming.

The shadow of perfection

mirrors perfection itself.


A glittering helix

envelops the two faces—two strands

of silver unfurling, folding, flowing

onto one-another like the tears

that stand in each eye

as dida lathers on the stinging cream.


Gone is the ash smeared

on my elbows like ritual, my arms’

dark shimmer under dim light.


“There we go—Phayar and Labhlee.”

(Expert fairness solution.)