Nithya Myneni

Is this Fair? 

Dodge the shopping cart! Ten points
Catch the falling biscuits! Twenty points.
Jump on every blue tile! Thirty points. 
Run into the angry cashier again! 
Game over.

A busy supermarket was no place for a seven year old,
An Indian metropolis is no place either, 
But that won’t stop my grandmother,
She shoulders on. 

I follow dutifully, 
Until I don’t, 
I play my games and dance in the aisle, 
Nothing to fear. 

Rose pink catches my eye,
Shiny boxes placed between shiny green zucchinis, 
I’ve spotted the gold,
My fingers make contact. 


Grandmother has caught me, 
Swinging me and my treasure into the cart,
Home is where we are going,
I am going to be beautiful.

But that is not what I think,
As the serum hits my face, 
I think only,  
Is this Fair? 

No, I only see brown, 
Dirt of the road passed over and trodden by millions, 
Light? Purity? 
Certainly no identity. 

Then the burning disappears, 
I face myself in my grandmother’s mirror, 
History is revealed,  
It unravels in my reflection. 

I only see brown, 
Dirt of the fields cultivated by strong dark hands, 
As the brush held in the hands of my ancestors, 
Painted in their image, this must be perfection. 

About the Author: Nithya Myneni is currently a junior at Valley High School in Des Moines, Iowa. She is a frequent participant in writing competitions, with a finalist position in the India Philanthropy Alliance annual essay competition. Outside of school, Myneni enjoys writing creative prose and personal narratives, drawing inspiration from her Indian cultural background and interest in classic Western literature. She hopes to inspire writers of all ages to share their unique experiences with the world through her work.