A Name.
It defines everything
that I am,
and am not.
More than the sound alerting me,
the silence garnered
by a lack of
reverberation,
identifies me.

Out of two hundred
forty-seven characters,
my name is made of four.
Four characters
that your strange tongue can’t roll.
So you shorten it
to two sounds, two characters.

Do you
understand the effort
behind the four characters?
The perfection
seemingly random
behind choosing those?
It all depended
on my mother.

Counting down
her breathing,
pacing herself
in all her pain.

My amma
pushed me out
into this world.
The moment,
recorded to
the exact second.

The exact second
then mapped in the stars,
and a perfect string of
Sanskrit tones created.

My name then
held in itself
the history that
made me.

To your strange mind,
the sounds,
are just something
exotic –
to command.
Unfamiliar to the tones
of romance languages.

But it is
far more romantic than
what your languages
muster. It is the sweetest melody
always calling to me,
more than an identifier –
a carrier of culture.

Respecting me
means saying my name.
Being sorry
is not enough.

If you can create
languages of jargon,
you can
value me and sing
my name right.
Or I will
not answer.

 

Kasthury Paramiswaran
I am a 22-year old, anxious Malaysian Indian who is an unemployed graduate. Being a diplobrat, and going to international schools where the Western ways are the only standard to live by, I have always faced racism embedded in the most subtle ways. In fact, being the ethnic minority in my own country, I have been systematically marginalized by laws and the social norm. Hence, I channel all my anger and revolt through my words. I speak out through my poems about how being a feminist would get me raped in Malaysia, and people have always shortened my name from Kasthury to Kas because they favored their convenience.

About Author

I am a 22-year old, anxious Malaysian Indian who is an unemployed graduate. Being a diplobrat, and going to international schools where the Western ways are the only standard to live by, I have always faced racism embedded in the most subtle ways. In fact, being the ethnic minority in my own country, I have been systematically marginalized by laws and the social norm. Hence, I channel all my anger and revolt through my words. I speak out through my poems about how being a feminist would get me raped in Malaysia, and people have always shortened my name from Kasthury to Kas because they favored their convenience.

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