Sunday, 26 January 2014

Today is Special

A faint orange glow
from her broken window
She gets up, says a prayer,
smiles at her little palms
And decides to try something
new with her hair

Neatly partitioned in the centre,
Two slim french braids.
Just like the girl
from the movie theatre.
It takes her longer
to get ready for school.
She irons out her brother's
uniform before her pinafore.
But the braids are important.
The popular girls
will finally notice her.

A quick kiss on mother's cheek,
she strides out with her bicycle.
Today, she is leading her class assembly.

Today is special.
There is a raatraani tree on her way.
She picks the fallen flowers,
still fresh, fragrant and moist,
And begins to arrange them in her braid.

"Hi, beautiful", someone calls from ahead.
She hadn't noticed the cycles parked
A little way off until just now.
She doesn't like the voice.
It makes the word sound cursed.

Laughter follows as she whirls around
to get back to her cycle. Her safety.
But they catch up with her.
She knows some of them.
That boy with the cut lip,
he works in the city.
His brother is in her class.
They smile at her.
She knows it isn't a good smile.

She pretends they aren't there
and continues to walk on.
Her mother taught her
to ignore such men.

One of them asks if she is
uncomfortable in her dress.
Should he help her out of it?
She wants to cry
But she walks.

As she gets on to her safety,
the city-boy says to the others - his whore
puts raatrani in her hair.

Pedaling on as fast
as her legs can carry,
she doesn't dare look back.
In her frenzy to get the flowers
out of her hair, her braids
come undone.

She must stop crying before
she reaches school.
She has an assembly to lead.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Right to dignity

(This post is a reaction to: but consider this as more than just that. It is a sincere appeal to every woman)

Right to dignity
Right to my own goddamn body. Right to choose. Right to refuse. Right to emotion.

You have no right over me. No right to make any decision over the use of my body. I am a human being, you know. Not a home appliance.

Safe in my home, i don't have to think of these things. I take my freedom as a given, as a fundamental right - as it should be. But in the very country i live in, the very state, the very city, the very locality, the very neighbourhood, there are women who don't have that liberty. The freedom that is my everyday life.
Without realizing that i have done so, i have acknowledged certain boundaries to my freedom - certain unfair boundaries. Those which include wearing only a certain length of clothes, not travelling alone, not venturing in certain lanes. Minor hold-ups. Occasionally relaxed limits.

Do i ever worry of being molested? Of being cornered, of being raped, and spat out in some gutter? Mostly, I worry about mundane things.
But there are times - alone in a lane just opposite my building, in a rickshaw, in a bus, in a train - if a stranger stares at me, doesn't look away, i want to cry. I've become slightly bolder now. Stronger, even. But not strong enough - because i am not indifferent. It is not possible to be indifferent.

I have decided to learn self-defence in earnest. If i want to defend women in my country, i want to be able to defend myself. I want to never be scared of a man.

I want to defend the women in my country. I want every man to know that he would not be alive if not for a woman. I want every woman to know that, too. Know that she is powerful. Know that, if she decides to, there is nothing that she cannot do. Know that together, we can demolish all these khaps, skin alive all those men who have false notions of power. Together, we can put the fear of - not God - of women, of Maa Kaali, of Durga, in men. Stand up when you see injustice to a woman. Fight.

All men fear women. Some fools try to subdue, they try to scare us into submission. Lets show them we can break more than just their bones, more than just their hearts - we can break their lives, their pride, their ego, their will to live.

Women are disadvantaged not because we are less able, we are disadvantaged for two reasons -

First, men fear our brilliance - our potential energy to take over their whole lives. So they keep us in the dark for as much as they can.

Second, more important, more devastating and far more damaging -
We, women, don't stand up for each other.

The gang-rape wouldn't have happened if the women in the village stood as one to protect the girl. I said this to a male friend and it broke my heart when he said - what could the women do? This attitude. This thinking that women can't do anything. I can burn you alive, you idiot. The men wouldn't have dared to even touch a woman, let alone slap her, if every woman of the village refused to take bullshit from them.

The problem is, men are so scared of us, and we are so comfortably ignorant of our own powers, they haven't allowed us to realise what we are truly capable of.

Know this - nobody is allowed to even touch you without your permission. You can file an assault case on those grounds. Know your rights. And stand up for all the women around you. We talk of an anti-corruption revolution taking over the country. We need a women's revolution - an assertion of our rights, our demands. Lets fight for laws empowering women. I deserve respect - and if you don't give it to me, i will throttle you, choke you, till your eyes bulge out of their sockets, till your face is bursting with blood, till you cry to me for sparing your dear life. But i will have my respect.

Women of the country, lets do something. You, reading this at home or at work, under the pseudo sense of safety, you are as affected by the atrocities of backward, less-than-human, vile and lecherous men who don't deserve to live, as the innocent girl who took a crowded bus this morning and was groped, as the woman who was raped and then killed, as the woman who was stripped and gang-raped in public by low-lifes, as the woman who gets beaten up in the enclosure of a place she must call her home. We are all the same. Lets stand as one. Defend our own.

I want to live in a place where i know for a fact that if i raise my voice against a low-life mistreating me, i will have immediate support of all the women around me at that very moment. Is that too much to ask for?

Sunday, 22 December 2013


Every person knows me differently.
Some think I am a sweetheart – the nicest person they know
Some think I am so mean that they make faces at me and go.
There are some who look forward to meeting me
There are others who’d rather not see me.
To some, I am spontaneous, impulsive, happy and bright
Some others, they say they haven’t seen a girl more uptight.
Every person knows me differently.
Some say my life is similar to theirs
Some say they count me in their prayers.
Some shower me with attention, some idolize
Some feign incomprehension, some criticize.
Some think I’m a Punjabi, hence very strong
Some know that the stereotype is so very wrong.
You know me like a mother knows her child.
Not strong or weak, not good or bad,
Not beautiful or ugly, not happy or sad.
You know me, simply, as yours - a part of you.
Like there is nothing unknown between me and you.
You know me like the sea knows the sand.
You know me like the back of your hand.
With you, I don’t have to be any person in particular.
I can be a headstrong feminist with progressive views,
Or I can be a princess who needs to buy too many shoes.
I can be dirty and disgusting; or I can be sexy and clean.
I can behave however I want – decent or outright mean.
I could smile like a doe or I could frown like a monkey
You will still caress my cheek and tell me I am pretty.
It is not easy to be with you - I have to be myself.
All that practice of having to live up to expectations,
Being nice with the nice ones; smart with the sly ones
Pretense comes easier to me than just letting myself be.
When you walk towards me, it is the reason I can’t breathe.
Because standing across you, I am nobody else, but me.
With your unflinching gaze – there is nothing you don’t see.
Emotions come crashing in bursts of hysteria and madness.
As though a massive dam guarding my energies was just bombed,
Every bone in me knows - for this breakdown my heart had yearned.
As my tears surreptitiously seep through the fibers in your jacket,
They seem to dissolve my ego - that cheap, sugar-coated packet.
The feeble walls that hold my pretentiously steadfast resolves
Crumble and tumble, leaving me no choice but to face my flaws.
Each time you amble into my safe-house, you make room inside.
You de-clutter, you sanitize and you clear it up for good measure.
That’s not all. Each time, you leave behind a sparkly new treasure.
You pin-point, you nit-pick, you taunt, you laugh and you tease
And in a fit of giggles, I bask in the attention as you try to appease.
My heart still stops in that moment; but from then on, it is quite easy
I am finding myself with you because that’s who you want me to be.


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Let's make it count

What makes life good?
What makes you smile?
What matters the most to you?
What makes your heart yearn?

A reason to go that extra mile
A reason to stop and smell the roses
A reason to wake up happy and bright
A reason to cry and a reason to smile

A cause to believe in
A voice to heed to
A peak to reach
A path to meander in

A pillar for support
A boost of self-confidence
A shoulder to cry on
A stomach to punch.

There is passion worth vying for
A belief worth dying for.
You get but one life
Live for something worth the strife.

- Wannabe Wayfarer
(i don't write poetry)

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

My Day of Love

For a long while, I only saw the back of his head and sometimes, if I was lucky, a side-face. We sat on diagonally opposite ends of the same classroom. He was the dreamy front-bencher and I was the participative back-bencher. I used to observe him quite intently even before we started talking. I noticed that he doodled a lot. He’d always be scribbling or sketching in his notebook, never looking up from his desk, not even to acknowledge the professor’s presence. There was always a pair of earphones nicely hidden behind his long and shabby hair. I thought he was genuinely cool. When we first saw each other face-to-face, I tried so hard to make an impression, he confesses now that he disliked me then.

The year our paths crossed was the same year we chose to walk different ways. He moved to another city and I got busy trying to make money. The first time we really met, just the both of us, was the night before he was to leave Mumbai. We shared paani puri and awkward silence. But by the time we were to say goodbye (with an awkward shake of hands), I was hoping with all my heart that he’d stick around for just a little bit longer.
That was four years ago. He did stick around. With subtle gestures, harmless prods and seemingly inconsequential nudges, one at a time, patiently, diligently, he made room for himself in my cluttered heart. And he’s made it clear – he is here to stay. I don’t know exactly how or when it happened; maybe it had started from the day I first saw the back of his head, maybe it had started way before time itself or maybe, like a platinum love band, it simply has no start and no end. We were, we are and we will be.
There is warmth in him, a comfort in his presence. We’re wound up in each other – we couldn’t keep away even if we tried (and we have tried). They say that you’re nobody till somebody loves you. He believes in me – and that gives me strength beyond all else. He can see through my pretenses and he can break through my walls – I am most vulnerable when I am with him. I am also most protected when I am with him; he guards me fiercely.
Every moment with him is my wondrous day of love – an eternity, a legend. I fall in love with him all over again, every day. Sometimes, it’s in the moment where we make up after a fight, because of the falsetto he talks in when pleading with me to forgive him. Other times, when I don’t see him for months, it’s while watching the sun set over the sea; the beautiful memory of our first sun set together washes over me as the sun reflects a million sparkling diamonds. And every morning when I wake up, I know that there is no morning that will ever match up to our first sunrise together. Most ferociously, it is in those tiny moments that we share – when he walks towards me and the closer we get the harder it gets for me to breathe, when he looks at me with a fire in his eyes and my heart stops beating, when I look away and he softens his gaze, when he kisses my forehead and when my smile lights up his face.
Vivek and I celebrate 19th September, the day of our first kiss, as our day of love. He kissed me on my forehead on a railway station moments before he took off for Delhi. He lives in Pune now, and we meet off and on. We fight about almost everything and are constantly planning for the zombie apocalypse, among other things like our bedroom wall.
Glad i finally wrote about us,
Thanks to & Indiblogger for this motivation!
Signing off with a big smile,
Wannabe Wayfarer :)