Friday, October 28, 2016

The Curse of a Taboo #PeriodPride



This is a semi-fictional account of how women find strength to fight against taboos that have jeopardized their lives and strive for a better and equal existence for their next generataion by de-stigmatizing menstruation #PeriodPride.


“This blogathon is supported by the Maya App, used by 6.5 million women worldwide to take charge of their periods and health.”




Pavna was sitting in an aeroplane for the first time in her life. She was anxious because of her broken English, the speech she had to give in the conference in faraway London and for her two daughters whom she had left behind for a few days with her mother.

It had been such a long journey, 37 years, from Baraara, her tiny village in Himachal to London. Her companion Ms.Mehra had told her that her speech would be seen the world over, she was now a “global icon.”

Just a few minutes after take-off Pavna had asked Ms Mehra to guide her to the washroom of the plane, she needed to change her sanitary napkin. She was scared of very little in life now, but confined spaces still made her uncomfortable. In that small washroom thousands of feet above the earth, in that confined space as she pulled out a fresh napkin from her handbag, she became the 11 years old back in the village, blood running down her thighs for the first time.

She thought she was about to die, in all her school books many people bled and died in wars. She asked herself she wasn’t injured, was this then a curse from the village Devta? She had stolen two apples from the neighbor’s orchard the other day.

As she rushed to her mother, who was working in the cow shed and told her. Her mother inspected her stained salwar and began crying. Asking her to stay back in the Obra, she rushed in to the house and came back with some rags, she twisted those into a kind of flat thick towel and asked her to insert into her panties to soak the blood.

Pavna asked, “Amma am I going to die?”
He mother sighed and said, “ No, you will not die, this will happen every month for a few days, you are now going to get these dirty days like me and all other women and stay in the Obra till you are pure again.”
The list of instructions was long, though she knew most of them; it was she who would be sent to leave food for her mother at the door of the Obra by her grandmother every month when she was unclean.

·         No going out during the day, not even to school.
·         No going out to the fields even for toilet.
·         No playing with her siblings.
·         No touching any family member or cows.
·         No sleeping during day time.
·         No food except once during every 24 hours.

She was ready to follow all these because she knew those evil girls and women who didn’t could invite the wrath of the elders and even the ‘devta’. But she was only scared about the night; there was no electricity in that room.
Her mother was also worried for her, after all she was just an 11 years old child, and even she felt scared in there at night alone, what if a leopard attacked or a snake entered through the hay stack.

As she passed the meal to Pavna just after sunset over the threshold, she passed a homemade kerosene lamp made of a small glass bottle with a wick piercing through its lid. She knew the lamp wouldn’t last all night and was dangerous in a room full of hay but still hoped Pavna would fall asleep before it went out.

Pavna didn’t eat much on the first night. Her stomach was aching; the bleeding had already soaked the towel quite a bit. She lay down in the grass trough and covered herself with a rug made of old cattle feed bags. She longed for a hot cup of tea and wanted to cuddle with her mother. Outside the locked door she could hear the rest of the family going about their chores as normal.
It was for the first time today she realized why her grandmother said being born a girl was a curse.

Her mother tried to keep up her spirits as much as she could, and for the first time Pavna felt a strange association and empathy with all women who went through the same as her, including her mother.By the third day the bleeding was less and erratic but by now she was numb to this humiliation, this fear, this trauma.On the fifth day she was allowed to bathe and was clean again. She could eat and play with her brothers, walk in all rooms of her house and most importantly cuddle with her mother.

She prayed and prayed to the “devta” to stop her curse and not send it back ever again, but it kept recurring at regular intervals. By the time she was sixteen she was used to the routine of “those days” which were not even mentioned to anyone.

She was in class 10 when the ladies from the city came to the school, taught them several new words including one for the curse – MENSTRUATION.
They said things contrary to what her mother had told her and what she and her friends gossiped about it, that it wasn’t a curse, that they must bathe and keep themselves clean on those days, that they must use ‘napkin’ and not dirty cloth.
Pavna went home and told her mother, showed her the free packet of napkins that was given to her at school. Her mother stared at her blankly as if she was talking some foreign language. Neither Pavna, nor her mother could muster courage enough to change status quo.

Soon she was married off to a man chosen by her father and brothers. At 18 she understood that the curse of being a woman didn’t end in the cowshed, it extended to the bedroom. Her mother had told her she must do whatever her husband asked her to, even if it hurt her, otherwise she would be a bad wife.
Now she was mother to a little girl herself. She knew if she had a son, her husband and his family would be happier. A year later she had another girl. The taboo and the restrictions continued.

Image Courtesy: Google

Pavna’s fate was indeed grim, as she struggled to parent her girls her husband who was a soldier in the army was killed in Kashmir.She and her girls became even lesser than cattle in that house after that, though they were kind enough to not send her back to her parents’. She slogged in the fields, suffered all insults from his family but kept herself focused on raising her girls.

When her older girl was 10, the taboo hit again. This time Pavna garnered all the strength and stepped out of that house, her girls would not spend even a single night as an untouchable, cursed being. Pavna never looked back. It was not easy; she lived in NGOs, charity homes but started a movement against menstruation taboos.

Image Courtesy : Google

The knocking on the door was now very loud, it was Ms Mehra, “Pavna, are you alright.”
Pavna smiled and said, “Yes, now I am alright.”

The scared girl had finally gained undying self-esteem for herself and many others like her. She was now mom to two confident young girls, who unlike her were not only pursuing higher education but helped her regain her confidence whenever she faltered.

Just after her speech the next day, she received a text message from her daughters;along with was a photo of all the girls from her NGO.

We are proud of you Amma. 

Pavna had finally overcome her fear of confined spaces, cow sheds, pedestals, podiums. She had found #PeriodPride for herself and her girls.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Not Just a Woman’s Problem #PeriodPride

This is a fictional account of how damaging can menstrual taboos and silence about reproductive health be for both men and women, and how men can support and encourage women and families to understand menstruation better and join hands to empower #PeriodPride.


“This blogathon is supported by the Maya App, used by 6.5 million women worldwide to take charge of their periods and health.”




In the small village Rohera near Rohtak, Manveer was the youngest of his five older sisters, well technically one of them- Mamta, his twin just two minutes older than him. She was the only daughter of the house his father and grandmother were kind too, because she had brought along a brother, an heir of the family.

While they were very young, all the older girls were married hurriedly, one after the other. Manveer was not very close to any of them and spent some time with them only on Rakshabandhan.

By the time Manveer and Mamta were ten years old, they were the only kids left around the house. The older sisters, three of them now had kids of their own and visited occasionally during the festivals.

The youngest of the four – Asha, however came more often, beaten and thrown out by her in-laws, as even after two years of marriage she had no kids. Manveer felt bad for her, he wanted to ‘protect’ her as he promised on Rakshabandhan every year. He wished he knew where babies could be brought from and he could bring her one.

Just days before their eleventh birthday, they were told Asha had died; she had jumped into the village well. He went with his father and uncles for her last rites and thought finally she was free of the humiliation and pain of not having children. Every one said women must have children; those who didn’t were useless to their families and society.

A few days later, his mother prohibited Mamta to play with him in the fields or go out alone for toilet. He argued a lot as to why he could and she couldn’t but his usually condescending mother only told him, “She is a big girl now and will soon be married off, so he should learn to stay away from her.”

Mamta stopped going to school also and would now work more around the house all the time, wear ‘chunni’ all the time and often complain of stomach aches. He could see her in pain sitting in a corner of the courtyard but during the ‘secret’ pains he was not allowed to sit near her and was told to avoid talking to her.

Soon Manveer found new friends in High School and just as the case was with all his other sisters grew distant from Mamta. It was their 15th birthday and now just like big cities and films, he used to cut a cake and have a cold drinks and burger party for his friends, all boys of course.

Mamta was not allowed to come out and interact with any outside boys and men. As he sat flaunting his new mobile phone to his friends, he noticed her quickly slip into the newly made toilet in the house.

Minutes later, there was blood in the drain that ran out of the toilet at the edge of the courtyard. Manveer rushed to the toilet and asked Mamta if she was alright, he presumed she had fallen and hurt herself badly.
All his friends were sniggering meanwhile and the oldest of them Dinesh, pulled him away and told him she was okay, maybe having her ‘monthly woman problem’.
Image Courtesy : Google


Manveer knew a little about sex and how women had genitals (breasts and vagina) different than his own but he didn’t know anything about a ‘woman problem’. Dinesh was there expert on all issue related to women and sex. He even had videos of village girls bathing, or using the fields to defecate and proudly shared them around.

Dinesh told him that girls were ‘dirty’ every month for a few days and bled from ‘down there’ for a few days, only after they started bleeding every month, they could be ‘impregnated’ by a man.Dinesh was also constantly making fun of him and his sister’s stupidity and ignorance. He even made some crude jokes about Mamta’s body, Manveer didn’t like it but Dinesh was older and stronger and was kind of leader of the pack so he couldn’t retaliate.

Later as he returned home ‘ashamed’ and angry he told his mother how Mamta had made a spectacle of him in front of his friends, didn’t she know that the drain was open and didn’t she have any shame exposing her ‘dirtiness’ to boys.
His mother was very angered and as he sat outside with a glass of milk he was happy as she hit Mamta repeatedly with an iron tong. Ever since that day Mamta never looked at him directly, she would try to avoid him and stay out of his way at all times.

Soon after his Matriculation, he was sent to a hostel in the city and now he only rarely saw her. Family members were trying to get a good match for her is all he heard about her.

Then one day in winters the same year, his warden hurriedly sent him home citing an emergency. As he reached home he knew someone had died, maybe his old grandmother. The dead body was kept on the brick floor, it was Mamta’s.
He was told she died of typhoid. It had been ten days; he was eagerly awaiting his return to the hostel after the thirteenth day rituals when he found Mamta’s mobile phone in one of the drawers of his room in the house. It was one of his old phones that he had given to her, so that at times he could call on that to speak to his mother.

He switched it on out of curiosity. No messages, no call details. No photos. Only one video, he opened it. It was dark and shaky, some girl inside a dimly lit toilet, half-naked, it was Mamta removing a blood soaked rag from her underwear and replacing it with a clean one.

The video was only a minute long, he played it again and again and couldn’t understand why or what of it, but it filled him with anger and disgust. The angle was definitely from a hole in the roof across the outer wall.
So someone had made this and had sent it to Mamta? Why? He tried calling the number from which had been received but it was switched off. There were no answers for the curious questions in his mind, he could not tell such a shameful thing to his parents. He felt humiliated and violated, just like his sister.
Could it be Dinesh? But he had died due to a drug overdose months ago. After worrying about it for a couple of weeks though he went back to his hectic routine and forgot all about it.

Years later, just a week before his marriage as he was arranging his personals in his cupboard in that ancestral house, he stumbled on a tin box full of childhood stuff. In there he also found a faded big foam and glitter flower-shaped golden Rakhi, the last Mamta had tied to him. He held it tightly remembering her and there it was a small strip of paper taped under it. Mamta’s suicide note – it had brief broken sentences about her wishes for his long life, her agony, the blackmail, the shame, the frustration of silence, there were no names but a lot of claustrophobia between the lines.

Manveer quit his job with an MNC immediately after, he had found his life’s purpose. He initiated a start-up that made low cost sanitary napkins for village girls and was dedicated to menstruation awareness. He named the two programs ASHA and MAMTA.

Image Courtesy : Google

Every time a young village girl spoke confidently about periods, without shame, he felt his sister lived again. His enterprise was committed to ensure awareness that during menstruation women and girls must not be excluded from using water and sanitation facilities safely and without shame, must be able to participate fully in social, educational, productive, and religious activities and never be ‘ashamed’ about their bodies.

His workshops included young boys too as he believed that often in their lack of awareness it was boys like he himself once was made girls feel ashamed. Even if they wanted to talk about menstruation, they were prohibited to discuss menstrual issues with their mothers or sisters or their fathers and older men. As a result they had half-baked knowledge and used crude terms for it, teased girls and often acted insensitively or completely indifferent.

Now he was married and had a little girl and a little boy of his own. He was far better informed now and knew that they will be better siblings to each other than he was to his sisters. He knew and always said in all his workshops –

“Periods are not a woman’s problem; they are man and woman pride, the symbol of birth, the sign of the human ability to reproduce.”


He was one of the strongest voices now in the field of menstruation awareness and wanted more and more men and boys to join him in facilitating women and girls to exercise their reproductive health rights with joy, without any apprehension, stigma or taboo.

ASHA and MAMTA were flourishing, without fear, without shame.




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Saturday, October 22, 2016

An Intimate Untouchability - #PeriodPride

Image Courtesy : Google Images


“Hi! I am writing an article about menstruation awareness. Please share any personal memories regarding it, particularly about seclusion/confinement/restrictions, or the other names used for it. Your privacy will be protected. Thanks!”


I sent this text to about a 100 random women in my phone book, before I wrote this piece. Most of these women are urban, educated and seemingly liberal. Only 4 of them replied, surprisingly only those whose families were not silent about periods but despite awareness and understanding the issue had applied ‘minimal’ restrictions like not entering sacred spaces on them.

The silence and shame associated with talking about it to even a fellow woman is quite evident. Such taboos are passed on from one generation of women to another conveniently because women/girls are socialized into a state of ‘learned helplessness’ as suggested by Lenore Walker though in the context of domestic violence victims/survivors, where the victims/survivors begin to think of themselves, their anatomy and their sexuality as subordinate and dirty.

In fact body shaming, sexual shaming is sometimes more covert but aggressive in urban spaces. I can say this from personal experience that ironically the talk about periods began much earlier for most rural girls in my home state Himachal Pradesh than it does for most of our little girls in cities even now.

Little girls there know that every few days women in their homes and families are secluded because they are dirty and must remain separated from the rest of the family for those few days.

Periods in some local Pahari dialects are referred to as “Zudke”  ,literally meaning ‘clothes’, so it is not even referred to as anything related to the female anatomy, but to the clothes or rags the women traditionally used to soak the flow and how they had to wash everything clean once the dirty period was over. Even the popular Hindi words – Maasik, Maheena, and Mahavaari refer to its monthly occurrence, indicating no connection directly to the female body.
Image Courtesy: Google Images


Little girls by default in hilly villages become the carriers of food and messages to and fro between the ‘Obra’/’Khudh’ (cow/cattle shed) and the house as their mothers, aunts, female cousins and older sisters are confined/secluded during their ‘unclean’ period. They mustn’t touch the ‘dirty woman’ they are told, if they do they would have to bathe again, so they are instructed to leave the eatables at a distance and speak from a distance if they have to. It is believed and enforced by deep cultural conditioning that contamination from menstruating women can bring the worst curses from local deities and even lead to drying up of crops or secret diseases.

The irony is that they are confined to a corner of the cattle sheds traditionally and yet is believed that if a menstruating girl/woman touches a cow, the cow will become infertile – leading these girls furthermore to regard their own bodily functions as curse and impurity and be restricted to a corner even in that confined space.

The culture not only associates a routine female body function as unclean and impure but imposes seclusion on women in connivance with ‘god men’ and local deities, as women and families are often scared with curses and diseases so that they adhere silently to the seclusion and do not speak up against this humiliation month after month.
It is also important to understand the generic architecture of homes in the hills to realize how traumatic and humiliating this seclusion can be for most women especially young girls.

Traditionally the homes were wooden structures with two floors, while the upper floor was family quarters, the ground floor roomed the cattle and the sheep, so women were confined there during their periods. With changing times cattle sheds are now constructed as a single hut slightly away from the main house and the seclusion thus becomes even more evident and in some cases unsafe too. The door is locked from outside and in case of an emergency even her loudest cries may not reach the house.

To add to this turmoil is the fact that toilets if there are any are also constructed closer to the main house and the woman is often denied access to it during this time. If she uses cloth, she must wash and dry it to reuse in complete secrecy and if she uses napkins then these must be disposed secretly.

Social and economic upward mobility and some work by social initiatives and NGOs have probably increased awareness about menstrual hygiene and girls are increasingly using modern sanitary products but the discrimination at ground level hasn’t changed much. Women in some families might not be sent to cowsheds but even in their semi-urban or urban homes are confined to one room, have to sleep on the floor, can’t go to the kitchen or prayer room, can’t touch some eatables like pickles and can’t touch other family members etc.

While women slog equally in fields and kitchens all year through, only men participate in most religious rituals in villages and cook the sacred feasts and only they are allowed to offer the yields to a deity. Lots of rural girls drop out from school still around puberty due to lack of support and awareness. Hundreds succumb to infections due to unhygienic methods of managing menstruation. The fear and shame associated with a menstrual stain is so overwhelming that they give up their opportunity of an education for it.

The religious notions of purity and pollution are rules that deny women basic human rights of caring about their health and bodies. All women, regardless of their caste are considered unclean during menstruation. Sometimes they are not allowed to even take a bath especially for first few days of their menstrual period as it is believed that they can contaminate the water source permanently.




The argument often propounded in the favor of seclusion is that the confinement frees the woman of all her household duties during those days and she can rest. Even if a logical benefit of doubt is granted to that logic, what kind of rest does a woman experience if she is psychologically stressed by separating her from her children and family and the physical comforts of her kitchen and bedroom are denied to her?

Untouchability based on caste and religion was long back ended legally by our constitution, but this untoucahability of a more personal and intimate kind is still practiced in many homes and families, and the worse is it is taken for granted too, both by the perpetrators and the victims.

There is no open discourse about it within families, TV channels still get changed whenever there is a sanitary napkin advertisement playing and women though are not tied with physical ropes to restrain their movements and daily routine, the stronger but invisible ties bind them securely to the margins, make them silently experience the “shame” and discrimination associated with menstruation.

Silence about it strengthens the shame and the shame shrouding it strengthens the silence. Generations of women suffer in shame and in silence.
Its time our girls are freed of this burden and can love their body and menstruation as a privilege and not a curse.

 
“This blogathon is supported by the Maya App, used by 6.5 million women worldwide to take charge of their periods and health.”

Other posts for the same blogathon




Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Not just Blood, Not just Red #PeriodPride





Image Source : Google Images




The red blood that flows
From every womb
Month after month
Is the same
That runs in the veins
Of every new born

Yet it is the colour of
a dark lonely night
Secluded in a cow shed
For a young helpless girl
who alone endures the pain
and is labelled unclean

It’s the pale colour
of constant uneasiness
for a young school girl
the fear of a red stain
that killed her smile
and her young spirit


It’s polythene black
for a young college girl
who is ashamed
as she buys napkins
or discards them
hidden as dirty secrets

It’s the colour of sin
for a newly wed
who had no words
to tell her husband
that on certain dates
her body is different as
she is menstruating

It’s the reddish purple of
a daughter-in-law’s bruises
who was beaten
as she committed the
unpardonable sin of
letting her shadow fall on
a gallipot of pickles


It’s dark maroon of
thick painful clots
for a wife/mother who could
never tell her family
how much the fibroids hurt
month after month

It’s the muddy brown
of confused emotions
for a daughter/sister
who is told she cannot
speak about “it”
to her father/brothers

the blood is just red
but hopefully some day
“it” will shed all
Shades of shame and be
the colour of rainbow
of fearless femininity.





“This blogathon is supported by the Maya App, used by 6.5 million women worldwide to take charge of their periods and health.” #PeriodPride

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

THE REVOLUTIONARY

This story was first published as a winner of Muse of the Month, September 2016, at Women's Web here.


This was a small town in Chhattisgarh, about a hundred kilometres away from the remote village that was home for her. Kamayani Bose was here on her monthly visit to buy school stationery and medicines. This was also where she sometimes used the internet at a Cyber Café to look up current affairs and government policies or the fate of her various Right to information applications lying pending with this system in slumber.
Today was momentous, as she was reading an article on upcoming public food supplies policy on a news website a familiar face stared at her from a pop-up window- Subroto Ray, an advertisement for his next book launch in Kolkata.
She looked at his receding hairline, the grey curls, and the sly smile and finally into the eyes of that face, they were still the same, charming and deceptive. Kamayani smiled to herself as an old chapter from her story was reshuffled by that face. She had forgiven him and moved on, yet memories shall remain.
It was the early 80s in the most prestigious university in Delhi that Kamayani had first seen those eyes following her and observing her intently as she went about the political meetings and protests by his side. She was the only child of two famous communist ideologues and living up to that reputation had joined socialist student groups in college and university. He - the Che Guevara of Delhi as he was famously known then was one of the most famous faces of the students’ movement - the much-respected, idealised Subroto Da.
Like all other ‘petit bourgeois’ kids of the 70s and 80s they were all high on the idea of rebellion. Other than her marriage-seeking relationship with Subroto, Kamayani had broken all traditional rules- short hair, smoking in public, pre-marital sex, abusive language, her mother worried that no good Bengali family would accept her as their son’s spouse, she feared that the well-reputed, politically and financially powerful Rays would only accept her if she changed her ways to become a proper ‘Bhadralok’ daughter-in-law.
But Kamayani was blinded by love and ideals and she rarely cared, she lived her ideology, at least she thought so, everything about her was so anti-establishment. She was inspired by the Paris’ Sorbonne university upheavals and anti-Vietnam protests across US campuses.
Soon they started travelling in groups to villages with their lofty ideals of a revolution by the commoners. She dreamed of setting up an idyllic country home somewhere as Mrs. Subroto Ray and then show-off her tribal and organic lifestyle when they travelled back to their elite families in Kolkata and Delhi respectively.
She imagined them travelling together to International Conferences and in her tribal-patterned kurtas and jeans walking to the prestigious podiums becoming the face of the rebellion against the oppressive government in India. Teaching English, Marxism and Feminism to villagers and bringing back international prizes for the work.
Unfortunately her dreams had a lifespan of only a few months. Subroto, the Ray scion could not bear with the heat, mosquitoes and unhygienic living conditions in the rural areas. The recurrent news of police atrocities on members of the group if caught with Marxist literature or any other association with the movement heightened his blood pressure so much that her rushed back to Kolkata for a short stint to regain health, but never came back.
Next Kamayani knew he had flown to Boston for a Doctorate and she was left alone to stay on if she wished. She survived the abortion by an untrained midwife in the village and realised for the first time what a real revolution here demanded- a lifetime. Being a true revolutionary she had to overcome all her traditional ideas of marriage, family, and society and start her life afresh as someone who had undergone a radical soul-transformation.
A decade later, the radical movement had fizzled out, Kamayani Di as she was now known ran a school for girls and a few friends ran a small clinic in the village. She had realised the system could only be changed from within.
Her father had passed away and her mother had moved to live with her uncle’s family in Kolkata. Kamayani had sold their house and every piece of precious heirloom to buy infrastructure for her school.
Her long lustrous hair had greyed in corners and edges, her crude cotton saris were woven right here in this village by a women’s cooperative, she had forgotten all her elite swagger and now spoke their language, ate their food. She never went to any conferences even if invited, just sent articles by post to a few publications and periodicals about their projects.
Her screen had turned on a screensaver of bouncing balls by the time her reverie broke; she clicked back into her email-account and was happy to receive another contribution from a friend in Delhi for the hospital they were planning to build in place of the clinic.
Kamayani no longer wanted a handsome, intelligent, go-getter husband or a perfect idyllic home; she did not crave for recognition or acclaim all she wanted was a better life for the tribals she lived with and this was now her only lifelong commitment.
As Nilanjana Roy says in The Girl Who Ate Books,” It was a choice that turned in another direction from the freedoms she had so often longed for and fought for….” , but Kamayani now knew for sure it was a worthy choice and now her life was her revolution.





Thursday, October 13, 2016

I am fine ?




Depression is a dark hole
a quagmire
which sinks further
with every attempt
to come out

one friendly hand extended
one kind gesture
one persistent query- 
tell me? tell me?

could change the rhetoric
from false
"I am fine"

no judgement
no quick solutions
just empathy and listening

could be the straw
the drowning one hold tight
your one word
could save a life.

There is something called the DUCK SYNDROME, people who apparently appear calm and at peace on the surface just like gliding ducks may in fact be dealing with constant conflict and turmoil, just like the fervent flipping of their feet by ducks beneath the surface, just to keep afloat.

India leads the world in both #depression and #suicide statistics, proving that our so called closely knot family and societal structures are of no or little help to #mentalhealth victims.

The fact that a scandal or MMS would get more views than this depression awareness video even after having the support of a major mainstream celebrity shows our disinterest and apathy towards mental health patients.

Look around, ask again and again and again. Your asking may melt the ice, may save a life.




#DobaraPoocho


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Too Little, Too Late





The little happy girl in school
You called dark/fat/ugly /slow
The intelligent girl in middle school
You would make fun of for her body hair
Or carrying sanitary pads in her school bag
The high school girl whose dirty graffiti
You made in the toilet
Because she refused to kiss you
The college classmate you defamed
Because she refused to sleep with you
The girlfriend you hit and abused
Because you had intimate videos and photos
The colleague you harassed online
Because she was better at the job
The wife you exploited and ruled over
Because she could never leave the kids
The child you killed unborn
Because she was a daughter
The sister you never allowed any choice
Because she meant "honor"
The daughter-in-law you never supported
Because your son was a bully like you

They were all DEVI
or none of them is
A few plates of halwa and poori

Is too little,too late.

Orange Flower Awards

@IAmSufiZen

COMPANIONS CALLED BOOKS

To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm
The Alchemist
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
Frankenstein
The Odyssey
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Count of Monte Cristo
Eat, Pray, Love
Lolita
The Da Vinci Code
The Kite Runner
The Silence of the Lambs
The Diary of a Young Girl
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Notebook
Gone With the Wind
}

I WILL RING THE BELL.WILL YOU?

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario
my work on display there !!!!!