Living Without a Surname

I stopped abruptly before
writing my daughter’s surname
after her name on her school bag.
I wanted it to remain hidden from
the constant gazes of the curious eyes.

My daughter asked me,
Why did you leave my name incomplete?
I hushed her.
Told her,
“It’s better to live without a title
without prominence, with a low profile.”

I teach her every night not to utter in school
her favourite dishes.
She crams even in her sleep–
Every meat is chicken
Every (beef) biryani is chicken or mutton biryani.
We are not that type of Muslim,
We don’t eat beef.
I teach her to keep hidden
who we are
and leave a part of her behind our doors.

The school bell rings,
but it doesn’t ring for her as it does for others.

Moumita Alam is a poet from West Bengal. Her poetry collection The Musings of the Dark is available on Amazon.

Featured image: Hasan Almasi / Unsplash