What’s Your Religion?

As nobody can ever agree about what my religion is, I’m constantly asked to provide the answer. Unfortunately, my response never appears to satisfy anyone. Here is a poem, which I wrote because I was tired of people being reduced to a single facet of their identities rather than being treated like individuals.


You ask me my religion.

I smile; I tell you.

You frown; you disbelieve.

My religion doesn’t fit your colour scheme.


Mine is the religion of clouds

Gliding over a sulking sky

Edges embroidered with gilt,

Illuminated by a hidden sun.


Mine is the religion of dandelions,

Of a dead fish’s dying breath,

Of clusters of lantern-shaped bougainvillea,

Trembling in the languid afternoon breeze.


Mine is the religion of unbridled joy

Galloping over rolling green hills

A wild mare, drunk with liberty

Unfettered, untroubled, uninhibited


Mine is the religion of regard

Genuine, without gaudy show

Of promises unspoken, but not unkept.

Of acceptance, of forgiveness.


Our temple is a pine tree.

Its branches are low and sturdy.

Its foliage is thick, but unobscuring.

A still, quiet place

For anyone who climbs up.


Malavika Selvaraj is a nineteen-year-old writer and poet who lives in Mumbai.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty.