Warped

Dreams and aspirations lie astray,

As I was taught restraint and obedience,

As I was directed to modesty and diffidence,

As I learnt to be demure and sympathetic.

.

Wrapped as a daughter, a wife and a mother.

A philosopher. A cheerleader. A dictator.

A cook. A lover. A tutor.

Warped in multiple identities but The One,

Several faces at the loss of The One.

The price I paid.

Of simply being a woman.

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I am under veils of mystery,

Independence boxed by sentinels of society,

With their double standards and patriarchal mindsets.

The waters churn a storm beneath the calm,

The rocks brew lava within the silence.

A dam waiting to burst. A volcano itching to erupt.

Waiting for the dominoes to fall.

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Often called by the name of the rose.

Soft as petals. Rich in fragrance.

Unforgiving as thorns.

Simply a woman.



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Flame #writephoto

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Late afternoons often found her sitting alone, still and straight. Her mind would travel years back in time, when the house was full of children’s laughs and echoing footfalls. In a flash, hours and days had molded into long years of cooking dinners, attending PTA meetings and finishing yet another load of laundry.

Now the house sat quiet, reminiscing of a din long gone. The children had moved out and her husband was indulging yet another hobby. One evening, a sliver of sunshine happened to escape the curtain’s stern guard. Through the dance of dust mites, she happened upon her reflection. Her eyes and her face told stories of the years gone by and the errands they had seen through.

There were no stories of her own. There was not even a hint of the flame that once shone bright in her eyes; it was extinguished long ago.

A muted glint from a hidden corner caught her attention – somehow her old ghungru* had managed to dapple in the last light of the setting sun. It had been so long she had seen them – she had almost forgotten how they felt tied at her ankles. With trembling fingers she handled them delicately, more precious than any gem in the world.

What if….? Dare she even dream…?

The next afternoon saw her tentatively clearing a space and dusting out her old dancing clothes. As her feet slowly became accustomed to the once-familiar weight of her ghungru, the years melted away and she fell into a rhythm that was as natural as breathing. On days when she was not at dance school, the curtains were firmly drawn back as she conducted personal concerts under the sunny spotlight.

She was not a daughter, a wife or a mother then. She was a dancer. She was an artist. She was her chosen form. She was blowing at the cool embers, re-kindling a fire that had almost blown out. It was never too late to spark it back!


Written for Sue’s prompt – Flame. I took it as a metaphor and ran away with it! Hope that is okay…

*Ghungru: is one of many small metallic bells strung together to form Ghungrus, a musical anklet tied to the feet of classical Indian dancers.

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It Could Have Been Me

girl

A mad peak time dash to the tube,

A burst of rain leaving her sopping wet.

Yet a rough hand dared creep up her shirt.

Momentary shock. Blistering fury.

It could have been me.

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A relaxing walk after dinner to unwind,

A silent song of the crickets escorting her,

Yet two more limbs preyed on her footsteps.

Engulfing panic. Anguished prayers.

It could have been me.

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A social visit full of happy celebrations,

A volley of laughs and drinks kept revolving,

Yet a once fatherly pat became a groping touch.

Sickening grief. Perpetual distrust.

It could have been me.

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A daunting desk held her dreams together,

A review that threatened to drown it all down,

Yet roving eyes at her cleavage made a proposal.

Shrinking confidence. Appalling disgust.

It could have been me.

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A weekend getaway promising delights,

A cabin in the woods offering warm solace.

Yet a cordial neighbor turned brutal predator.

Excruciating agony. Numbing senses.

It could have been me.

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A sacred vow of seven lifetimes together,

A rainbow of dreams seeded for the future,

Yet the trusted husband forced himself upon her,

Devastating heartbreak. Shattered bonds.

It could have been me.


A poem based on true stories – mine and countless other women. This was in reaction to the comments put forth by the Delhi rape convict two days back, “A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy…” Sickening!

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We Women, I swear!

We love. We hate. We talk. We ignore. We hug. We sulk. We support. We bitch.

We are the best of friends. We are the worst of enemies.

We are the biggest fans. We are the sharpest critics.

We give it our all. We take everything back.

We are women.

With the brain and heart not really working in tandem, I have been a giant dessert salad bowl of feelings, emotions, practicality and logic. It’s a crust of impudence, a fudge of flirtatiousness, a ganache of sensitivity, a sprinkling of caution all blended together in a fascinating sauce of womanly seasonings.

I was never a girly girl. It was never about pink frocks and beaded jewelry. Yes, I came up with disasters when I played with mom’s make up and made dad an essential part of Barbie tea parties… but at the end of the day, being a girl was never really my distinctive quality. And then came the thriving, terrifying teens and life was topsy-turvy! A nerdy introverted kid, I had a small group of close friends. I was a part of those girl gangs but never really in with my heart and soul. I was a spectator, a witness, an objective third party. And what I saw…

Why is it that it is our girlie gang behind many of those lurking misgivings, tiny hurtful sentiments and moments of self-doubt? Why are there unspoken words behind tags of partners-in-crime, female solidarity and sisterhood? We compete for the chic dress and funky hairdo. We compare our bodies and draw satisfaction when the scales tilt towards the other’s heavier side. We gossip like crazy about the sexual escapades of our fellow women and go mad over stalking the exes of our boyfriends to be assured “Oh! You are better! She is no competition at all”. We have a bunch of fake friends and a photo album full of groupies you couldn’t care less of! We dislike this one girl on sight and label her with every bad name we can think of (Okay fine! At times, she really is a cow… female intuition works here!) We subtly criticize when one of our own has an outstanding achievement. We have double standards – we demand liberalisation and unlocking the shackles but do not shy away from slut-shaming a promiscuous woman.

Nothing and no one is spared… boyfriends, wardrobes, jobs, paychecks, relationships with our moms, our cooking repertoire! I have been guilty of quite a few and have no doubt that I ain’t changing overnight. Why do we do this to ourselves? These crossed wires mazing around! Yes, I am doing some major generalizing. It doesn’t happen every time with everyone… but at one point, at one moment, it has happened.

Yet, it is impossible to live without our daily dose of female camaraderie. I love my girlfriends! I love exchanging clothes, gossiping over drinks, bonding over our mutual hatred of the period gods (I may dislike her, but it will never stop me from lending a tampon to my girl in need), comparing first times, swapping love tips, sorting family issues and be insanely crazy. At times, a comforting shoulder and a nice cuddle with our mates is our sustenance. We will be lost without each other and these quirks which are so uniquely female!

SATC quote nails it – “Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with”

Peace.