Poem: The Kids in the Magazine


She shows him a magazine,
smelling slightly of an aircraft.
In-flight reading in the hands
of two eight year olds.

They flip the pages with
(puppy) fat fingers. She likes
this car, he likes that blue
bottle. At a certain page,

They stare. These white kids
they look perfect. It’s not
just the colour. It is how
they stand, like little adults.

The sun seems to wash over
them. Perhaps the Indian Sun
wasn’t as kind. Even their
grubbiness seemed so foreign.

This is uncomfortable. Their
brown index fingers spilling spit
and dirt on these very white
faces. It is annoying she says.

They don’t know why. The
white girl’s knee gleams like
the moon. Scab-less. He asks,
Do you think they are nicer?

She studies her ponytail, hating
her un-soft hair. No, I am sure
their shit smells as bad as
ours. Maybe even worse.

—-

9 Comments

Filed under Photographs, Poetry and Fiction

9 Responses to Poem: The Kids in the Magazine

  1. pacchai milagai

    Hi Neha, just a quick note to say your blog is great, really really funny!!

  2. dipali

    How wonderful- such a great consolation to find! Let the blonde and blue-eyed find a fitting riposte to this one:)

  3. From the blue-eyed contingent… not a riposte, but a note that I always wanted to look like the kids in the magazine too. They always had better clothes than me, and better hair. In every picture of me from ages 5 to about 8 I have my head cocked to one side with a “dreamy” look on my face, trying to imitate the pictures I saw of children in magazines.

    Made every picture of me look like I was an idiot. ^__^

  4. pacchai milagai: Thanks :)

    dipali: Actually, at heart I think the blond and blue-eyed feel as lost. These magazines – they airbrush more than features. But when you’re eight – all of blond and blue looks annoying – and confusing.

    Blue: Oh, I completely understand. I think even the Desi kids in Desi magazines seemed so perfect. But it was even more magnified when we see the blond and blue in the “foreign” magazines. I think it’s impossible for children to look anything but cute till the age of 5. But the awkwardness after that is so undeniable. Especially if you want to look “different”. :)

    Kavi: Heh.

  5. Annon2

    Without even getting into how I looked in my annual birthday snapshots growing up (think road-kill just before impact, with bouffant hair), I think part of the awkwardness with such printed images might also stem from the fact that desis then ascribed (still do?) higher value to everything phoren – how I envied those kids riding roller-coasters in glossy Disney brochures my mother bought back from her American Trip, as well as how avidly I borrowed baseball hats to wear from a well supplied middle school friend!

  6. dipali

    Annon2, you bet! It took ages for those mindsets to change. Of course, reading Enid Blyton’s Famous Five’s etc., I was personally convinced that those kids never ever shat at all on their camping and other adventures- probably took ‘no-shit pills’ or something before rowing off to Kirrin Island!
    Actually discovered the word ‘shit’ much later in life- in class VII ( 1967- I’m antique)-we used strange euphemisms before that…..
    Also spent my very early childhood in the UK, hence had the great desire to be blond and blue eyed, with curly hair!

  7. Might work better if it were shorter.

    J.A.P.

  8. they look perfect. It’s not
    just the colour. It is how
    they stand, like little adults …

    these lines touches the heart.. can u imagine a time, when we are child, in our south india any child have dress? if yes, it was only a nicker !… and now even one year old boy/girl has his own dress which makes them little adults…