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This poem on women’s lives examines the many ways in which women’s spirits are subdued – right from girlhood.
Being a girl child kills joy.
She cannot run wild
Shrieking, jumping, let fly
Mother is always there to admonish
To add layers of guilt and varnish.
After all the girl child
Has to grow into a graceful lady –
The peak of the malady.
Being a girl kills joy.
She cannot dress and study
As she might
Because most of the apparels
And careers are for her not right.
Consciously her parents groom her
For taking her secondary place
Beside a husband,
Who displaces the parents
As authority to tend her
Or, is it to bend her?
Her frustrations she has to contain,
Outwardly poise she has to maintain,
After all she is emerging as a graceful lady –
The crest of the malady.
Being a woman kills joy.
If home constitutes hundred per cent
Seventy per cent towards her is leant.
While bearing, rearing children
Additional salary she must earn.
For twenty four hours she is on call
Monotonous, unending, repetitive
Self-negating, her strength taxing
The housework continues.
Faint at heart (no upsetting the applecart),
The mother wound unheeded,
The gendered division of labour
This graceful lady does not challenge
Because it may shake the only bastion of her security
No ally she has,
Rather she becomes an ally
When she grows her daughter.
‘Don’t answer back’ (Even if you’re right!)
‘Give him, give in’ (Don’t fight!)
‘Serve others first’ (Be the last to take!)
Be self-effacing – the same hackneyed remake.
My mother did it, staying at home
Wearing a sari, with her head covered.
I’m doing it, while fetching a pay packet
With my pallu unfurled.
My daughter will do it
Wearing jeans with her hair arranged in curls.
The garbs change, characters change
The stage and story remain the same.
The heroine is a graceful lady –
(The crescendo of the melody?)
The crux of the malady
A woman is a kill-joy.
Pic used under a CC license credit Edward Rhys
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