The weight of my hair is most felt when it comes away so easily. I stand in the shower, clutching at clumps – like seaweed waving, sweeping along the ocean floor. I know the freedom of running my fingers over smooth, prickled scalp. It misses my mother’s Fingers gently rubbing my hair with hibiscus scented oil. Her weekly routine to ensure a mass of midnight blue curls has come to nothing. Now it’s just a rash of skin protected by a silk scarf.
Susmita Bhattacharya’s debut novel, The Normal State of Mind (Parthian, 2015) was longlisted for the Word2Screen Prize at the Mumbai Film Festival, 2018. Her short story collection, Table Manners (Dahlia Publishing, 2018) won the Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection (2019) and has been featured on BBC Radio 4. Her poems have won prizes and been nominated for Best of the Net by Janus Literary Journal.