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The Untamed Shrew, I Refuse To Be A Good Indian Woman

For a long time I have kept my rage in check in return for peace. This was a mistake, as I now realise - I'm speaking up now.

For a long time I have kept my rage in check in return for peace. This was a mistake, as I now realise – I’m speaking up now.

Here is a checklist of my crimes:
too argumentative.
doesn’t adjust
throws tantrums
locks herself behind doors,
disrespectful.
doesn’t accept apologies.
doesn’t forgive.

they shine on my skin
like badges
each a strike through
my ‘good name.’
each a reminder, to me
of something won,
rather than something lost.

I made a mistake once
— I traded my rage for ‘peace’
but all I got were scars
that ran so deep,
they stole from me
who I was.
I am something new now.
I am fury.

I scream.
Politeness and silence
will get me nowhere.
Have got me nowhere.
And so, I draw the boundaries
with my voice.
Thick, red, bleeding lines
that throb with pain, and truth.

I accept the slurs
shrew, characterless
drama queen, attention seeker.
It is better than
being nothing.
I do not delude myself anymore.

I am not the good Indian woman.
I refuse to be.

Image source: a still from the film Naam Shabana

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