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Ronita Chattopadhyay

Ronita Chattopadhyay (she/her) finds refuge in words. She also makes a living out of it while supporting not for profit organisations in India. Her poems have appeared in The Hooghly Review, Roi Fainéant Press, Mystic Owl, Streetcake Magazine, The Afterpast Review, Renard Press and Akéwì Magazine. A mountain person at heart, she lives closer to the waters in West Bengal, India. And she loves tea, travelling and books.

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The unexpected comfort of rituals

You have to put
Cantharidine hair oil
before you shampoo your hair
and, in case, you forget
as you are very likely to,
then put it
after you shampoo
and before the final wash.

This has been the accepted ritual
for washing hair in the family.
And it was one of the
few comforting constants
for my parents
when they found themselves
transplanted from
Kolkata to Dehradun.

People say
that we eventually turn into our parents.
Well, that is turning out to be true.
Cantharidine hair oil has
become important for me.
Running my fingers
through the wet, sometimes easy
and sometimes stubborn clots of hair
and that slightly sticky
and very specific fragrance of Cantharidine hair oil
are filed under favourite sensations
in the archives of my heart
and skin.

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