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The Indian girl child. Brought up to ‘fit in’ with society’s expectations of how she should behave, what she should do, and what she shouldn’t. But if she rebels?
Congratulations it’s a girl, said the new Dad.
The new mom said that she too was glad.
‘Cause a son is a son, until he meets his wife.
A daughter is a daughter for the rest of her life.
When the girl turned five, she cried for her broken toy.
Girls will be girls, said her father, who was once a boy.
Boys don’t cry, he was repeatedly taught.
Only Girls shed tears, is what he thought.
The little girl was instructed, how to dress, walk and talk.
She was told to sit like a lady, in her pink frock.
Your skirt is too short, shameless!! said a little boy.
She looked at his shorts and wondered, why only he was entitled to comfort and joy?
As the girl grew older she was popular amongst boys.
The aunties around asked her to be decent and a tad bit coy.
Don’t laugh so loud, you have to be soft-spoken.
Aunty, tell my brother too, said the girl, vexed and shaken.
Study well and score good marks, said her parents.
The girl thought, make it big in life, is what they meant.
She did burn the midnight oil and dreamed of soaring high.
In just a few years, she got to know, it was all a lie.
She completed her studies and got her dream job.
You cannot relocate to another city, her worried parents lamented, making her sob.
The world is unsafe. You cannot live alone. But she argued with them, in her soft tone.
Girls are getting raped, said her father out of concern.
But you taught me to walk, talk and sit like a lady, she said in return.
The society is cruel, you will not know when you fall prey.
Said her mother, don’t argue more, it’s here that you will stay.
But you moulded me to fit into society, said the girl with regret.
I could never be myself and this is what I get.
She gave up her dream for someone else, time and again.
She lived by the rules of the society, in the sun and in the rain.
Then one day her parents found a suitor, perfect and the best.
He earns so well, they said, she could stay at home and rest.
Say yes for the wedding, said her eager mother.
He will take care of you, for nothing you will have to bother.
The girl was shocked, she felt she was a toy.
She had studied so much just to marry an unknown guy.
All her life she was scolded when found talking to a boy.
Now suddenly she was expected to stop being coy.
Enough is enough, this puppet is dead forever.
I will marry when I meet my soulmate, if not, never.
I will walk, talk and laugh.
Not like a lady.
She said I will think, act and behave,
Like myself, because I am Me, dear Daddy.
Enough that my skirt is too short.
Enough that my heels are too loud. Enough of those advice I bought.
Enough of how it wrapped me like a shroud.
I am Me, society do you listen? I am comfortable in my skin, just like you, my fellow brethren.
Following the rules set by you, is not living life. Do you even realize, you just killed someone’s daughter, sister, and wife?
I will walk, talk and laugh because I am me.
You are no one to comment on and judge me.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: a still from the film Manmarziyaan
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