RANGOLI

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About the book

A child of many countries, a daughter that grew up defying traditional family norms and asphyxiating standards, and a sister to a sister who did not like this world—Pavana Reddy was always aware of her idiosyncratic nature, and from an early age learned to welcome and tame her pain.

in another life,
the storm isn’t strong enough
to steal you away.

in another life,
we bloom,

-dedicated to my sister

Excerpt from dedication page, RANGOLI, 2017

 

An arduous labor of six years of unleashing memories on pages, RANGOLI, is a testimony of raw defining emotions that transcends personal stories and expands into the realms of womanhood. “this is a book for girls of color”, Pavana says, “more specifically, it’s a book unapologetically documenting our landscape of hurt and healing.” The poem below is a direct response to the skin lightening cream, Fair & Lovely, made popular in India due to its light skinned beauty standards.

brown girl,
you are lovely
in every shade.

Page 26, RANGOLI, 2017

 

The term rangoli, is an Indian artform of intricate symmetrical designs traditionally made with colorful sand that Pavana grew up watching her mother create. The entering of a new home was never allowed without the drawing of a rangoli design, its symmetry meant to bring protection from all sides. This book, in essence, is a form of rangoli created by Pavana and her mother—whose drawings are featured throughout the book—as a way to heal through the telling of their story.