Kill-Joy (Poem)

This poem on women's lives examines the many ways in which women's spirits are subdued - right from girlhood.

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 –

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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

No relaxing!

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

The family.


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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