Its a still morning

my eyes are groggy

but the air feels cool on my skin

a woman in red is holding my palms


on top of hers


“I am sick of paisleys”, I tell her

but its too late

the colour is s l o w l y creeping into my veins

grabbing at my heart

His name adorns them

hidden somewhere between the folds of my life lines

I haven’t bothered to look-

“Has your man learnt his a-b-c’s?”

-I haven’t bothered to look

exactly where I am being branded

as if His new school notebook.




‘Chetna’ is a Hindi word which means consciousness. It is also a name given to girls in India. Many such girls are still married off at a young age in this day and age.