Guest Poet: Ruby Subramaniam

I met Ruby Subramaniam briefly while she was passing through Brazil, paying her way by doing random acts of art. She is a powerful woman and was gracious enough to allow me to place one of her poems on my space. Do yourself a favor and follow her at

Search for God

When I worshipped you in temples, I felt like an impostor. I didn’t know the mantras, I couldn’t dress the part. How was I to hold my palms together in prayer for inspiration when my mind struggled to muster the courage just to enter your holy shrine?

I have heard the tales of women who brought shame to the family one too many times. I know society never deems a woman with tattoos, short hair, and certainly not one with that much skin showing, as a good being. I wasn’t enough of a woman in your man-made temples, Saraswathi, so I searched for myself elsewhere.

I looked into a lover who garlanded my self-esteem with the wilting numbers on my weighing scale. I sought to find love of one’s self through the eyes of another.

“Just a few more kilos and I’d be beautiful. I’d be enough.”

By the time he left me, I lost more than my weight. I lost my worth.

I turned to philosophy as my community turned its back on me, and assumed moral superiority.

“The demon that you can swallow gives you its power, and the greater life’s pain, the greater life’s reply” said Nietzsche of amor fati.

Among other things, I returned to your vedas for answers. Fortunately, it was not written in an ancient, handwritten mantra in a forgotten tongue that I cannot, for the life of me, decipher, but rather eloquently in Times New Roman.
I didn’t fall to my knees in devotion right away or wear a saree with flowers tucked in my hair. I didn’t recite your splendors and glories with the perfume of incense in the air. Of course people assume I do not ever pray, because you, Saraswathi, were never seen to be worshiped by women in pyjamas with messy, unkempt hair in a room lingering with the scent of cigarettes and littered with cans of beer.

But you, Saraswathi, you heard the silent prayers I had whispered to the amethyst stone I wear around my neck in your stead. I sought for you in churches, and museums, in art galleries and dance performances. I saw your light gleaming across the borders of every new city, your knowledge flowing within the veins of every new stranger that I chanced upon.

I woke up one day and looked at my palms blooming like your white lotus with a tenderness for life’s beauty. I have found you, Saraswathi. Most of all, I have found myself.

I am merely twenty-seven years of age, but within me, I recognize the familiar, gentle coursing of the Saraswathi river, rushing to open its arms to melt into the age-old Trivani Sangam. My purity remains hidden to the common eye, but those who have the patience to see where others merely look, to trust in the ebb and flow of something larger than society’s mantra, are welcome to dive into my currents. I promise I will make my presence felt underwater.

I sway with the knowledge of every woman who has ever walked this world before me. I recognise a temple within each of us, like the small eddies in the river’s edge forming a resonant Om. After all, who is Saraswathi, but the goddess who leads to the essence of one’s self? I choose to flow without restraint in my worship of Her.

“I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God”- Sufi Proverb.

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