She was dark,


Like the midnight

With eyes,

Like stars shining

In a clear sky.

The only lines that the creator ever drew on Her, were on the palms. Lines that ran like chains, lines that criss-crossed, over-lapped and ran across the length and breadth of her palms snaking through the curves as if trying in vain to paint a picture or tell a story of a future that was to unfold. The lines were also to preserve the bits of the story that had already unfolded.

At nights when she lay on her back, counting stars she often liked to join her palms together and then slowly open them, little finger to little finger as if it were a book that she was opening. She was illiterate, but merely opening and closing her palms gave her the feeling that she was reading something important, heavy. Something meaningful. There was however a part of her that constantly questioned her faith on the lines.

As a child, she remembered wishing to be loved and constantly told that ‘something’ so ‘black’ was impure, unequipped and unworthy of love or attention. She had realized early on that she was smarter than most of her contemporaries. She was smarter than the rich fat boy who lived down the lane, who scorned her and had people to compliment him at every word he said.

The revered elders in the village had prohibited her from studying at the school, fearing her to be the spawn of the devil. But, she had, without fail stealthily sneaked up to the solitary classroom and learnt all the lessons by heart, committing every word to memory, ignoring the fact that she never learnt to paint those very words on paper.

Paper, which was white, but lacked any depth, any traces of life.

She wondered what would happen if she were to pick a blade and draw over the lines on her hand. Create new lines, which would change the life of isolation that she was used to. Were mere lines enough to change the course of life? If so, then why only the palms, why not the many wrinkles that covered her grand-mother’s face and hands, the lines that folds of skin drew, going to places it ought not to? Existing in layers, itching at night when she went to bed, itching in the mornings when she woke to get on with another day’s worth of sunlight.

Sunlight, that bought out

Created the Black and the White.

Unlike the pale nights,

That shrouded


In its own colour.

Painting it all.

– Nilanjana Taani

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