‘Imagine Changing Your Name’ by Shriya Ruparelia

The Verse’s Shriya Ruparelia showcases her poem ‘Imagine Changing Your Name’ for us. 

White washed and western

Ritesh becomes Ricky, Aishwairya to Annie,

Culture grinded, like cardamom seeds

To a pestle and mortar, a powder


It’s easier to swallow that way

Easier for who?

Not knowing what name

To turn around for when called


Confusion, divide

Mother wails ‘RITESH BETA’

Roti filled with pools of ghee

waiting on the table


Teachers scream ‘RICKY’

When scalding you

For mistakes in a language

You do not know yet


But you will always be Ritesh

the red line that appears underneath

Is a constant reminder

Of forced change, of forced empire


Ingrained now, that your names

Are too complex, too long,

But you are deserving, whole

Not to be condensed


Simplified for ease of this country

That it is meant to be our home,

But it is time to force-feed

Spoonful’s of spice, into the mouths


Of those that dispute that

That you aren’t whole as you are

Your names are beautiful,

Don’t apologise anymore.


Featured Image created by Max Bandelow

The Verse Staff

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