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Offerings I Made to the Fire

"For fuck's sake we could have had the Havan tomorrow but God is on a tight schedule"

On judgement day I wake to the smell of 

the cardamom in masala chai that even my 

tired nose knows is not kadak enough 

because dad likes it watery and dadu has 



Guys I am so stressed I need to 

pick my year 12 subjects by 2pm today 

it doesn't matter today is about family and 



Dadi carefully irons the creases out of my 

brother's teenage mutant ninja turtles Kmart

t-shirt but raises a painted eyebrow at my knees

on display even though it's a 42 degree day oh

for fuck's sake we could have had the Havan 

tomorrow but apparently God is on a tight schedule.


Unfiltered morning sunlight glints off the pandit's 

gold bangle as he flicks his wrist and says swaha!

the weary bones of dadu's shoulders

the slouch in my mother's back 

the disinterest in my brother's eyes 

are all part of the offerings made to the fire.


I wish I believed enough to concentrate on the

words spilling out of the pandit’s mouth

mum chides me for sulking in my room and

marvelling at the necrosis of my own faith 

after coming closest to god i have for months;

I'm sorry Dadi the only thing religion has 

taught me is that Parvati can become Kali.


I throw the Courtney Barnett shirt I wore to the

pooja in the wash because it smells of how

my lungs grew heavy with the weight of burnt

sage and chants and my ribs grew heavy

with the weight of my lungs.


I guess the least

I could have done is worn my jhumkas.


I take a Snapchat of Dadu teaching my nine year old

brother the importance of Krishna, Shiva and 

Ganesha while Dadi and mum make the slouching pandit

more roti.



Main artwork produced by author Kavya Malhotra, @prettyjosten
About the author

Kavya is a second-year art history/psychology student whose mum won't let her pierce her nose even though she's nineteen. Her work centers around diaspora, reclamation of her culture, Fauvist tendencies and modernism surrounding WoC. Her personality traits include going to the NGV every fortnight and making excellent chai (not chai tea). Instagram: @prettyjosten



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