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Dead Saffron
Dissent: Volume 6 of the Helter Skelter Anthology of New Writing

Dead Saffron

Dead Saffron, illustration by Kavisha Dharia
Dead Saffron, illustration by Kavisha Dharia
Illustration by Kavisha Dharia

Where you came from,
even the streets were lined with light bulbs
nudging you along a trail
towards the oak wood you smelt on your
father’s stationery and the sandalwood
your grandmother anointed you with.

Where I come from,

there are no lines that run into each other
head-butting like rams at the centre of a crowd,

nothing to tell me where I’m going to or coming from.

I was baptised with dead saffron and don’t know

what simple games of your childhood sound like.


And because you tread my land with anxiety,

almost like a child realising with an inching desperation

that he lost the hand in the crowd,

I haven’t the heart to tell you that
I am not your answer.

Shruti Rao
Shruti is a 24-year-old literature postgraduate from Jawaharlal Nehru University. By day she’s an editor at a children’s publishing house and a word-ninja by night. Her favourite movie is Jaani Dushman—Sonu Nigam had her at his red spandex pants and she hasn’t felt love like that ever since.
Kavisha Dharia
Kavisha is a graphic designer who thinks like a fine artist. Besides communicating visually, she writes eloquently and, true to her name, rhymes often and with passion.
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