Raise Your Voice to Clean India

“Lets talk about women, shall we?”

Said the woman who lives a tiny village
with a name you’ll never know
Sequestered within four hard walls
From which she’s never emerged.

“When I was twelve, I was transferred
From the grasp of my sire, to under the thumb of a man
‘A man’, who grew to be
my husband, when he felt the need
his brother, when his brother had no use for me
his father, when he was amorous
his comrade, to keep in good spirit
and his enemy, to barter with.

When my belly grew swollen, and burst to expel a tiny girl,
I examined her tiny body, fascinated
and wept for her life that was never to be.
For I knew that in the dark,
in the shadow that creeps in the sliver of space
between the monsters and the lights
lay a place where such bundles of joy were tossed.

And forgotten.

But never, even for a fragment
of a fraction of a second
by the soul that nurtured it beneath the shade of its own.

And when the news of the world came, I thought
They discourse at great length
of the ‘dangers of the city’,
But who is it that knows the name of my child
Never acknowledged, never asked
and forever whispered in my heart?

Who is it that speaks for me and my child?

I do.”

***

“Lets talk about women, shall we?”

Said the woman who lives in the city
In the big, bad world,
Independent, intelligent
with all the freedom in the world.

“I ride the bus to and from work everyday.

On the good days,
I stand for a bit
The target of lascivious stares from men
who cant confine their roaming eyes to the bodies of their wives,
and cross raps
from grandmas who cant stand my bag touching their arm,
Before I get a seat.

On the bad days,
I stand
Without the need to hold on to anything;
the crush of bodies tight packed
more than enough to hold me up
Breathing hard, suffocating,
Not knowing whether the secret hand
that just slowly skimmed from my waist down to the top of my thighs
was a copped feel or someone removing change from their pocket.
Until I get off.

And then I get married to a man I love
only, to see him turn into the men on the bus
The ones with the roaming eyes?
When he goes to work, the scent of his cologne is heavy in the air
But when he’s back and I go hug him,
I can sense a different scent
lighter and more flowery than his own.

My parents tell me not to say a word.
For in the world of suits and ties
When a woman loses her man, she is a fallen angel
A phantom to all those who trample over her.

On the telly I see the news
They talk about ‘cleaning the land’,
Taken literally:
clean.
the.
land.
Without am inkling of all that is filthy and needs to be swept away
All that lies hidden in the dark
Spoken about only in sore whispers,
That which lies between the thin lines of acceptance and public image.

Who is it that speaks for the women
Quietly oppressed, and quietly taking it?

I do.”

 

This post is written for the Indiblogger The Power to Clean India Contest, working towards achieving a clean India by raising our voices. For every voice counts. 

Kyuki Bin Bole Ab Nahi Chalega #AbMontuBolega.

The contest is organised by Strepsils India. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

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