This is related to my previous post, although it does not strictly follow the other. These two together capture the tumultuous emotions that swirled within me after listening to conversations surrounding a molestation allegation. Why not earlier? Why anonymous? Why not a formal complaint? Perhaps this is why. She replies.Continue reading “She Replies”
I am bound by walls and chained by prejudices of my own making.
The weight upon my wings is not a storm but a sigh; the blemish on my face not a scar but a tear that I refuse to wipe away.
I pull a shroud upon my features and hide from the sun, not knowing that the fire I fear is burning me from within. That the hot breaths scald not my skin but my soul.
I search for paths, riddled ways away from home and yet cower in the shadows when the winds whistles to say it’s time. Never ready. Not now, not ever – for I am not a girl yet to come of age and learn of the world but a woman who makes a mockery of herself hailing change and recklessness and that touch of infinity on the sly, and still end up yearning for approval and compassion.
I reach for the skies and fall to ground.
No, I am not free.
For I refuse to be.
Yesterday was one of those days. My mind was a web of cluttered thoughts as messy as my room, and although the right thing to do was to get to work at cleaning both up, I found myself reaching for my keys. A lonely ride around town at night seemed like a great idea. I did not know where to, but then, the beach and the streets of White Town are all that Pondicherry really has to offer at night. So I rode slowly in that direction, gathering my thoughts.
I had never been to the beach alone before, and it felt rather strange. More disconcerting than soothing. Among all those people around me, armed with friends, lovers or families, I felt I must make a sorry picture, alone at the beach close to midnight, with not even a bottle or a puff to keep me company. I perched on a rock and began to stare at the sea, seeking tranquility. The waves crashed much like my ruminations – anticlimactic, recurring brilliant pieces of frothy white light that dissipated just on the verge of formation.
Suddenly I heard a call behind me. Two young men stood precariously close, and I started, as any average Indian woman would.
“Don’t be afraid”, one said. “It’s our friend’s birthday.. he’s rather shy.. so, here you go”.
One of them extended a piece of Black-forest cake (incidentally, my favourite) as the other stood by, sheepishly. I was not quite sure of what to do. If this were to happen in the Western world, and if I am to believe what I’ve seen on television, the ideal response would be a beaming smile and to extend a hand, or a hug perhaps, wishing the ‘birthday person’ warm greetings from your part. As a cautious female, I did nothing of the sort. After choosing to pinch off the tiniest fraction of the cake I could manage (lest it be poisoned with the date rape drug) and muttering a hurried thank you, I went back to staring at the sea with even more determination. Sure, I was currently in apparently one of the safest cities in for women, and was surrounded by more than a hundred people, but one doesn’t want to take chances. To quote a poem I recently came across on YouTube, “we don’t want to be another of India’s daughters, do we??”
So I sat there with my back to the world till it occurred to me that perhaps I had been rude. They had not really seemed like trouble. I decided to walk up to them and say a proper birthday wish. As I stood up and turned around, I realized they were gone.
I remembered his first words. Don’t be afraid.. And then it hit me. Perhaps, like any average Indian, my response was exactly what he expected anyway.
I saw her on the metro rail today
Leaning against the seats
In a dreamy stance
Dark thick eyelashes
That drew out jealousy,
That shrouded her kohl lined eyes,
Two dark irises searching for lost meanings
In the greens passing by,
The smile that played just so lightly
On her thin red lips –
What I mistook to be a smirk
The hint of confidence;
And just above the modest neckline
Safe under the dimpled chin,
Nestled a forgotten Adams apple,
The ripe fruit of sin,
Scar of a forgiven crucification,
And yet beneath it
An air of defiance
Worn in the supple folds of her purple sari
And the sure resonance of her anklets.
I watched in awe
As she walked away
Immune to tags
One with life,
A beautiful woman.