A Tale of Round Rotis


Ever Since I was growing up

I was told just how important it was

to cook round rotis.

Perfectly shaped

soft, round rotis.


I hated them

for their supposed

‘perfectness’, in a world

full of people

far from perfect

who would judge a woman’s worth

by her ability to make ’round rotis‘.


I hated them

for what they put

countless women through

with women slogging in the kitchen

kneading, rolling dough

making, unmaking, remaking

to escape from being judged.

All for that ever desirable

perfectly shaped round roti.


No I don’t like them ’round’.

I like them Tedhi-Medhi.

Thank you!

Far from what’s regarded

‘perfect’, I know.

But at least, this way, they resemble

our lives.

The lives of women.

Lives which are

far from perfect.

These imperfect, unsuitable rotis, then

are much more realistic, after all,

don’t you think?


By Prerna Bakshi


Author’s note:

I dedicate this poem to the memory of Aniqa, a 13-year-old girl in Pakistan, who was recently killed by her father with the aid of her brother after she failed to make a round roti.


Originally published in Indiana Voice Journal, US.


Prerna Bakshi is a sociolinguist, writer and interpreter of Indian origin, presently based in Macao. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been published in over three dozen journals, magazines and anthologies, most recently in Red Wedge Magazine, Off the Coast, Yellow Chair Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Kabul Press, Peril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture and Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature Her full-length poetry collection, Burnt Rotis, With Love, which was recently long-listed for the Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UKis forthcoming later this year. She tweets at @bprerna


Striped by Amy Bassin

Amy Bassin a fine arts photographer whose 2015 publishing credits include F-Stop Photography Magazine, Columbia University: Journal of Literature and Art, Magnolia Review, Gravel Magazine, Boog City Review, and Three Rooms Press annual Dada anthology, Maintenance 9. Amy’s text-based art collaboration with writer Mark Blickley, “Dream Streams,” was featured as an art installation during this past summer’s Fifth Annual NYC Poetry Festival on Governors Island. Selections from her series, “Selfie Fictions,” was included in group exhibitions at Bronx Art Space, NYC and Photographic Center NW, Seattle. Amy is the co-founder of an international artist collective, Urban Dialogues, nine artists across nine cities and five continents collaborate through social media.

More information is available on Amy’s website:




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