Poem: From the other side of the tracks

[ID: A greyscale photo of a young Indian person looking directly into the camera]

Poem & Photo by Tamanna Malik

From the other side of the tracks

No, I don’t write about pretty skies or beautiful flowers,

for the sky is hardly ever visible from my home and flowers do not grow in my backyard. 


No, I don’t write about serene mornings at beautiful beaches,

for all I can hear in the clustered lanes of this slum are curses and cries.


No, I don’t write about mothers’ loving touch and protective hugs,

for mine died taking care of you and your mess.


No, I don’t write about my people and their journeys,

for I belong to the other side of the tracks and you don’t have the stomach to read our stories.


No, I don’t write about my dreams either,

for we’re taught to survive and not dream for dreams are the illusions that lead to destruction.


No, I don’t write about our sufferings, our pains, our lives,

for you’ve snatched our ink and quills and you’ve built walls to deny our existence.


No, I don’t write,

for I can not, ‘cause you don’t let me. 


and then you ask me, “why don’t you write?”





Tamanna Malik is a nineteen-year-old English Literature student at the University of Delhi. She has contributed articles to ‘The Quint’ and ‘LiveWire’. She has also made contributions to online and print literary journals like ‘The Indian Periodical’, ‘The Writers Club’, ‘Bitacora’. You can find her on Instagram- @tamannaamalik