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#Poetry. The (fictional) story of Aparajita, the invincible girl who rose above fat shaming to become an Olympic gold medallist, in verse.
Firm footsteps, long strides
Bright eyes lit up with a confident smile
The host read out the citation
As she ascended the podium.
The dignitaries stood up in welcome
The hall echoed with thunderous applause
A standing ovation honored the winner.
The medallion lent a golden hue to the petite lass.
Ten long years!
The scene flashed before her eyes.
A gawky, plump adolescent
Nurturing golden dreams in her eager heart.
To run for her nation,
To bring home the ultimate award
To hold the Indian flag aloft.
To make everyone proud.
Her first race. The last lap.
She huffed and panted
Just a few steps more, she counted,
Then suddenly tumbled over
and fell flat, head buried in the sand.
They laughed. They jeered.
You’re a big loser!
‘It was my fault’, to her furious coach
She mumbled an apology.
‘You good-for-nothing buffalo,
You can’t ever be a sportsperson.
Just shut up and get lost!’ he screamed.
Cruel words knifed through
A passionate, desolate heart.
Repulsed by the hatred, it revolted.
‘You shut up!
Am no loser.
I won’t give up, sir.
I will prove you all wrong.’
Angry words had flown off
Her quivering mouth.
Dark eyes had spewed sparks of rage.
Tears of gloom fell down the ashen visage.
‘You’re so stupid! Such a disgrace!’
Her enraged, embarrassed family declared.
‘And how did you dare
To shout at your own teacher?
He called you fat, insulted you before others,
Why couldn’t you hear in silence?
Didn’t you deserve the reprimand?
You’re a girl, he’ll ruin you!’
‘But I did accept my mistake.
I did ask for forgiveness.
I had already suffered much.
Did I need more humiliation?
What right did he have to scream and shout?
Didn’t I deserve some consolation?’
A desolate girl cried in frustration.
‘Bear it in silence? No, I refuse!’ She resolved.
Five mile sprints and yogasana,
Early morning obeisance to the sun-god,
Late night meditation sessions,
A strictly monitored diet. For ten long years
She put up a brave and determined fight,
With herself, with her family and detractors.
Taunts and jeers, manipulations and denials
Couldn’t deter the resolute girl.
The nation rose in jubilation to honor
Its first female Olympic gold medallist.
Aparajita, the Invincible!
Editor’s note: This story had been shortlisted for the November 2017 Muse of the Month, but not among the top 5 winners.
Image source: pxhere