Tejashree Murugan

Tejashree Murugan is a 23-year-old writer and artist from India. She is pursuing her MBA at IIM Ahmedabad after graduating from IIT Madras with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Biological Engineering. She has written essays for publications such as ThePrintHindustan Times, CNN-News18, The Daily Star, and The Straits Times. Her debut poetry collection, Science Fiction, was published by the independent publishing house Yavanika Press last year. Tejashree can be reached on Twitter and Instagram @earth2tj.

Gilded Glamour

We speedwalk through the park and she’s

actually jogging but I pretend not to notice.


The people in front of us are temporary

monuments we pass, our well-oiled


plaits swinging down our necks like

rows of glittering beetles creeping into


jasmine garlands. With every step we take

we kill. Centipedes and ants crush to death


under my mother’s Bata shoes but murder

is not new to us, we who waterboard


cockroaches in the bathroom every

other day, who stick forks into bowls


of இடியாப்பம் writhing like tangled necks

of white peacocks, who scrape roadkill


into steel dustbins with black tutus and

pretend the cracked car glass is a fairy


wing zoomed in. As we turn another corner,

a street vendor hawks reverse experiences.


For 2000 rupees, a burnt car becomes

whole again, the smoke pouring back down


from the heavens. Double that, and a body

rises up from a pool, millions of bubbles


ascending to the surface. Multiply it by a

100 and this elephant-skin path will take us


back to the decade figures like ours graced

magazine covers, where we’d not have to kill


off our cells like we do now constantly, where

our bodies would be more than a sculpture,

                                            a canvas,

                                               a right.


“Gilded Glamour” is titled after and inspired by the theme of the 2022 Met Gala. இடியாப்பம் is a Tamil word referring to a noodle dish made of rice flour.