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The neckline always too deep, the skirt was always too short, the timeline was rigid, school, college, career mattered not…
Here is the fifth winner of our August 2017 Muse of the Month contest, Aruna Menon.
The cue for this month was from the movie Angry Indian Godessess. Indian women are policed and shamed for their choices, whether it is the kind of clothes they wear, or other things they do – woe betide the woman who smokes! And this is not just in their homes in middle class societies – it is everywhere, even in case of supposedly ’empowered women’. What women want is freedom from this and be able to make their choices without being judged.
No crackers or parties to celebrate her birth
As through life’s first obstacle she burst forth
A quiet acceptance, a wan and tired mothers smile
Was all that greeted her, all the others ran a mile!
In a country that even today worshiped goddesses
Daughters were just unwelcome and unwanted curses,
A lot more ironies unfolded as youth followed childhood
A lot more restrictions, as she eagerly embraced womanhood.
The neckline always too deep, the skirt was always too short
The timeline was rigid, school, college, career mattered not
The stars were right, more important was a good match
That was the goal, the math to add up to a great catch!
Topping the class was a welcome distraction
But a well-placed groom a better attraction!
Desperate to fly high, she spread her tiny wings
Only to have them clipped, dreams broken like twigs.
Walls closing in, the stale air permeated her very being
She walked out into the pouring rain, her eyes unseeing!
As she tripped and stumbled, a hand reached out
It was her mother, she took flight, did a turnabout!
Then stopped and turned right back
She had to speak, she could not slack.
His Yes has put paid to my dreams she said
My Yes was never asked, my No never heard.
The stunned look, the silent moments
Gave voice to her Ma’s shocked thoughts
Unexpected from a good lil Indian goddess
This defiance, this need to express or confess.
She’d got it off her chest, Ma had lent a patient ear
The storm had spent itself, she had nothing to fear
As she turned to go, a hand reached out once again
Wait, said her Ma, I hear you, I feel your pain.
Go and live your life, find your piece of sky
There’s no need for your dreams to die
The incredulous smile, the unshed tears
Was reward enough after all these years!
There were battles to be fought, a war to be won
This was not her daughters’ fight nor only her own
The goddesses were beaming, lights were shining
The tide was turning, this was only the beginning!!
Aruna Menon wins a Rs 250 Amazon voucher, as well as a chance to be picked one among the top winners at the end of 2017. Congratulations!