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What We ‘Allow’ Our Girls And Women Is Only An Illusion Of Choice; Coz How Dare They?

Posted: March 9, 2021

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An elegy for choice, an illusion we offer our girls, and as an extension, our women. Because how dare they think for themselves, right?!

“beta! have you decided on
what stream you will be taking?”
father chides, well-meaning
and jovial as ever.

“arrey, arrey!
what nonsense-schmonsense this is!”
mother says, chiming in.
“let girl take what she want!”
she proclaims, defiantly staring
my father down.

he matches it with his signature grin, and begins his long
monologue, god knows how
long he’d prepared it for.
“beta…you see! the world is
heading in a good way! in a
science way!
its important to take what you want, whatever you like.
see…you must have interest!
like bank loan!

you must do what you want,
yes, yes! whatever you’re
wanting! anything!
…as long as it’s science!”

i wonder
is anything truly my choice?

you can choose
to follow your dreams
as long as it makes you money

you can choose
to work
as long as your husband allows it

you can choose
to wear what you want
as long as it isn’t too revealing

you can choose
to use a pad or a menstrual cup
as long as you don’t talk about it

you can choose
to be anything you want to be
as long as it’s straight, cis

you can choose
to worship any god
as long as its your parent’s as well

you can choose
to dream
as long as you know

that’s all it is…

what is choice?
is it mine?
is it yours?
is it a collective?

choice is
an illusion

choice is
taking the longer road to
the exact same place
just to prove you’re right

choice is
choosing between
two left feet
to dance

choice is
including someone
as long as you’re not
left out

choice is
when even no
means yes
and a flower is bruised

choice is
to find your own voice
in a sea of others’ echoes

choice is
the lies we’re fed

choice is
nothing at all

Image source: a still from the film Mohabbatein

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I am Janani Balaji. A grade 10 student, 15 years old and passionate about writing

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