The Perfect Round

Every Indian women 

Has a story 

With a roti


Now expert 

Or perhaps 

Forever clumsy

A society that decided 

Her virtues

By its shape and size

We all remember 

That the perfect circles

Once resembled 

The map of Atlanta 

Mine still do 

Not that I apologize 

The world I hoped

Had changed 

In conversations of living rooms 

Beyond a virgin’s promise

Of a Round Roti.

(Roti is a round flatbread native to the Indian subcontinent made from stoneground whole-wheat flour, traditionally known as atta, and water that is combined in a dough. Roti is the equivalent of any other bread around the world. It is a staple accompaniment to other foods)

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About Vandana Kumar

Vandana Kumar is a Middle School French teacher in New Delhi, India. An educator with over 20 years of experience, she is also a French translator and recruitment consultant. Her poems have been published in various national and international journals and websites like ‘Mad Swirl’, Toronto based ‘Scarlet Leaf Review’, Philadelphia based ‘North of Oxford’, UK based ‘Destiny Poets’, ‘Lothlorien Poetry Journal’, Saint Paul, Minnesota based ‘Grey Sparrow Journal’, California based ‘The Piker Press’, Canada based ‘Halcyon Days’, ‘Founder’s favourites’, W-Poesis, Singapore based ‘Borderless Journal’, ‘Madras Courier’, Glomag etc. She has featured in anthologies like Houston, Texas based – ‘Harbinger Asylum’ and in two prestigious ones by the US based Indie Blu(e) Publishing – ‘Kali Project’ and ‘But You Don't Look Sick’. She has been part of two projects of the World literature series on Post-modern voices and critical thought. She was a jury member for the ‘All India Poetry Competition’ organized by ‘Cocoa-Butter’ and also co-edited their debut print anthology that resulted from this competition. She also writes articles on cinema that have appeared on websites and journals like ‘Just-cinema’, ‘Daily Eye’, ‘The Free Press Journal’, and The Artamour.

21 thoughts on “The Perfect Round

  1. Neelanjali Sharma

    Wry and Witty. Also, relatable for most occasions. Perfectly cuts through the Indian mindset on ‘gol’ rotis.

  2. Kerala Varma

    Vandana’s story with a roti doesn’t mince words. At the same time its economy of words is remarkable. In a few words, in short but evocative lines that would put a haiku to shame, she says it like it should be. Our orthodoxy and hypocrisy (the two pillars of our conservative society) will grow stronger in “conversations of living rooms” about the divinity of “a virgin’s promise of a round roti.”

  3. pramilakhadun

    Ma chere Vands, Je suis impressionee par ta facon d’ecrire la poesie.En quelques mots, tu dis tous, l’ocean dans une goutte d’eau.


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