An Unwilling Bouzouki

Sitting on chairs in proper alignment

It seems a long ago, when we students were huddled about,

Celebrating India’s independence was the days’ requirement

Making our English teacher proud.

 

Constantly, we had chided and pleased

To do something else as a substitute to teach,

We did it often, played adventures

Making memories after memories to one-day treasure.

 

She decided she’d ask a question to the vibrant youth

To which we would answer with sheer truth.

With defined wisdom she asked

“How will you want to see your country at long last?”

 

The question she asked was very simple

But it created in my mind a momentary ripple.

I raced with my newest friend, over thinking

Sitting there paralyzed, unblinking.

 

Speaking up in front of people was never my thing

And so I sat there; to time clinging, worshipping,

But we were only thirty students

And I persistently fought against my prudence.

 

Smiling, nodding I heard what my friends had to say

Pondering, how meaningful answers they had their way,

From eradication of poverty to building roads

To making luxury cheaper- their thoughts flowed.

 

And in less than forty minutes I was called on stage

When all I wanted to do was hide in a cage,

What is my favorite teacher going to think about my dumb thoughts

But still I erased blank, and joined the dots.

 

With face turned hot, ears red

I held the mike, but my lips dead.

I gathered myself, blinked and blurted

What my teacher thought- was the secret of my being introverted.

 

“If I live to be an old maiden

I want myself in the world (not country) to reawaken,

I want kindness; I want honesty and no chaos

I want peace; I want beauty and no havoc.

 

I fumbled; I fidgeted and put the mike down

Ashamed, I got down feeling like a clown,

I went to my seat, hiding my face

Wanting the few minutes to retrace.

 

Up until then I hadn’t herd

The deadening applause,

And so I sulked deeper amidst the nerds

For such words, I thought definitely had no cause.

 

Years from that day, I stand by those words

But if only I could change my verse,

Or better still I could have at least tried

To say everything for which my heart cried.

 

That day is gone

But I have a little strength now,

I have a little word play drawn

Perhaps, you’d tap with the button ‘Allow’.

 

If I live to be an old maiden

I want myself in the world (not country) to reawaken,

I’d love to see so many blessed things happen

That life itself would feel like a welcoming wagon.

 

If only I could find things a little different

My little sister would have taken birth for starters,

Or I wouldn’t have to be constantly belligerent

Being an orthodox Indian daughter.

 

I wouldn’t have to go to an all-girls school

Fearing boys and all the various rules.

Comparing myself to those who didn’t even go to school

I should have felt my life a little less cruel.

 

I’d want my grandmother to give me a kiss

For I never knew that bliss,

Or for my uncle to not give me that stare

For it was mortifying, I swear.

 

I’d want for no one to give me an eye

When I say I don’t want to learn cooking,

I’ll have different means to fly

Than just making all kinds of pudding.

 

I’d want a life where my mom does not persistently say

When you get married please take care of your husband,

Darling, you are not suppose to go astray

For your in-laws will have us trusted.

 

I’d want a life when I wouldn’t have to think some things

Like what can I study, so they never cut my wings,

Or how will I mange so many responsibilities

Work-husband-in-laws-kids-kitchen- a trillion little things.

 

I’d want a life where everything will not be ‘my’ duty

And I won’t have to be an absolute bouzouki,

Yes I’ll want peace and love and no havoc

I’ll want kindness, honesty and no mental chaos.

 

I’ll want a life where I consistently don’t have to remember

That I am a woman and somehow, somewhere I have to surrender,

I’ll want a life where I don’t want to stand in front of the mirror

And see incessantly how from him I differ.

 

Today, I have a little strength, a little clarity

So, please allow me to speak my dwarfish insanity,

If I live to be an old maiden

This is how I’ll want to end my cadence.

 

*

PS: Do tell me if I have started saying the same things again and again, and if my words have started being mundane! 

 

36 thoughts on “An Unwilling Bouzouki”

  1. This is so sad and heartwarming at the same time, the tempo of the poem, i loved reading every bit of it….
    And yeah there is no such thing like mundane, honestly I am loving your craft these days, they are so curt at the same time so fantastic…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Crystal clear thoughts and the unchained hearts thoughts!! The desire to be very to soar with no rules to follow…just chase your happiness! That’s how it should be and happy for you to be like this!! And not at all mundane!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You know, I was going to add it to my previous comment and actually had added it but then deleted it thinking you will say im flattering you!! 🙄 But now i think i will have to write it – Well some writers have the ability to write about same topic but with varying depths each time and interleaved with a lot of different emotions each time such that they bring out different perspectives everytime they hold a pen! It’s like creating a different cast each time to create a new mold to give new meaning! You are like that! It never gets mundane and i absolutely love your topics and your take about various aspects of a woman’s life! It’s hard-hitting and laying threadbare all the old conventions – and i can only imagine it coming from a strong-headed woman like you…which is one thing i admire a lot!
        PS: dont say im flattering again!! 🥺 it’s the true feeling!

        Liked by 2 people

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