Nationalism 101

nationalism: our private
puppet. we know how to
breathe. but we don’t. we
seek a hero. everyone does.
so we impeach each other
in each other’s crimes.

we beg. tirelessly we work.
we are one, two, three, four,
five sheep of different
shepherds. we like
to nationalism a lot. drunk
from our insatiable urge to
be known, we use words. we
fight, with each other, with
swords made of paper strips
on the stage. on the stage.

the men run, we run. we
call each other by our
castes. we don’t stop
eating. we eat and we eat.
we don’t stop. we run
with fit bands on our arms.
thup thup-feet tapping.
dancing & lolling tongues.
we’re glued to our sets
of televisions. zero stares
at us through the television.

and yet
we continue to stare at it
back. we give it its own
medicine. we lie, to each
other like dancing nymphs,
we lie. And yet we eat. we don’t
complete. gender – we talk
about and nationalism. but
death – we don’t talk about.

And eat, we eat and eat.
we eat words of the
same kind. taxes and
Muslims we talk about.
Hindus we are. Dalits
we talk about. but we
never talk. we just eat.
eat eat. words we eat.
words of nationalism
and then retch.

Nachi Keta is a neurodiverse writer from New Delhi whose work focuses on mental health, oppression and the absurd in social and personal.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty