Sankalpita Mullick

Peeling apart the layers of beauty

Peeling apart the layers of beauty:
Beauty is the rock that skips and falls into the pond, 
Fleeting, momentary, sinking deeper when weighted more,
Vanished, like it never existed, with the inevitable brush of death’s wand.

Beauty is superficial and mundane,
Beauty is what we tell ourselves when we are afraid to look inside and see a monster within,
Beauty is constant, achievable, inane.

I want to hear more about the scars across your face,
Your calloused hands, your acne, the pigmentation on your elbows, 
I want to see the dilation of your pupils during a lovers’ embrace.

Your “ugly” nose, your “imperfect” stretchmarks, your “unfashionable” clothes,
I want to know where they came from, how the bodies of your ancestors did they grace.
I want to find out what is worth mocking about your lips, your weight?

I want to understand how one could be offended by your tummy rolls and cellulite,
when your body is shaped by an angel, sewn together by strings of fate.
I want to understand how you are “too short” or “too tall”?
When the clothes on your back and shoes on your feet fit, 
what else is one to measure, how can any other height be right for you, either too big or too small?
I do not want to understand the ever-changing fashion trends.

I want to grasp the concept that people should hate their existing bodies 
for the oft-changing wills and mental bends
of those who carefully craft these lofty ideals of beauty to sell.

You are sold beauty in a pack,
the labels mocking you; telling you how you are never enough.
You can buy beauty off a rack,
shrunk and plumped to distort you into a shape you never wanted to resemble. 

They never wanted you to be beautiful, only to make you think you were ugly
because if you knew just how beautiful you are, the world begins to tremble.
I much admire these features of yours, the ugliness, the uniqueness, the newness.
They make me feel at home, like a friendly mirror to my own.
I want you to know you are beautiful because that would mean I am no less…

Sankalpita Mullick is an Indian author, poet, and law student. She is a founding member of online platform “Mind Melt Worldwide”( ), which is a platform for sharing stories written by a team of young authors who belong to countries across the globe.  She had written her first book “Metamorphosis-Legends Come to Life” at the precipice of her teenage years, which was published when she was fourteen. She has been one of the fifty awardees of the Hindustan Times Essay Writing Competition, out of more than 42,000 applicants. She has won the nationwide LaughGuru creative writing competition and has recently been awarded the Literoma Young Achiever Award, 2020. She was a part of the Counter Speech Fellowship by YLAC (Young Leaders for Active Change, India), advocating for intersectionality, equality, body positivity, mental health. She also works to raise awareness and funds for multiple causes, edits legal books and has been published in newspapers and magazines.  She has contributed to a poetic anthology on social justice, organised by the Kistrech Poetry Festival, and she has spoken to second year poetry students in Kisii University, Kenya about her poems against racism and injustice. She has had the privilege of attending International Writing Program called “Between the Lines” at the University of Iowa, as part of an all-expenses paid scholarship program by the US State Department.