1 min read

I have forgotten how to:

use devotion as distraction,

focus on the flame as it burns, glows, dances.

I think of words by Foo Fighters‘

Looking to the sky to save me’

I am trying the same with this flame

Sharing, asking, hoping, pleading

Sometimes, promising.

I am trying to give to this God

Scraping bits of myself

Offering revelations and sorrows

Confessions and shameful truths.

I resurrect childhood memories:

A holographic Saraswati,

Plastic Mother Mary statuette

Filled with holy water we never drink.

A priest pours milk and banana mush into my hands

The smell and texture make me gag

Mother nudges me angrily

“Pray and eat!”

Father stoically puts money in the hundi.

I am small so it is easy:

Dear God,

Thank you…can you… please?

My pigtails sway and I smile

Still protected by their reverence.

What will it take for faith to grow

Into a banyan tree?

I am coaxing my sapling:

Incenses, prostrations, circumambulations

But the prayers remain hesitant, doubtful


These chats with the Supreme aren’t getting anywhere:

I tell, I ask, I tell, I ask.

Sheepishly, I think of Notting Hill

I am just a girl,

Standing in front of a God,

Asking him to believe her.

I wait for a laugh.

Sangeetha Bhaskaran is a content and short storywriter. Her work has been published in Out of Print, Himal South Asian, Arre, Livewire, The Blahcksheep, Women’s Web. She lives in Dubai and Bengaluru.

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