Tag Archives: patriarchal society

Re-visiting; Re-reading.

I read this following poem time and again, very often, so often that by now I have most of the lines by heart and yet I do not get enough of it.

How can I? Because every time I read this, it gives me, well I won’t say new insight but the very same old feelings that I live with. The feelings are always there, they are ever present, only they come out or I let them come out not too often. These are the feelings I live with, most women live with.

Though there are some days when they flow so rapidly that I fail to control them, or give them a direction and on those days, I read, I read anything, and everything, I read poems, novels, stories, plays. I read this poem all over again.

Today is one such day, and I will share this once again. Because, I am flowing, I am hurting, I am smiling, because it’s all mine, because I am I.

An Introduction. 

I don’t know politics but I know the names
Of those in power, and can repeat them like
Days of week, or names of months, beginning with Nehru.
I am Indian, very brown, born inMalabar,
I speak three languages, write in
Two, dream in one.
Don’t write in English, they said, English is
Not your mother-tongue. Why not leave
Me alone, critics, friends, visiting cousins,
Every one of you? Why not let me speak in
Any language I like? The language I speak,
Becomes mine, its distortions, its queernesses
All mine, mine alone.
It is half English, halfIndian, funny perhaps, but it is honest,
It is as human as I am human, don’t
You see? It voices my joys, my longings, my
Hopes, and it is useful to me as cawing
Is to crows or roaring to the lions, it
Is human speech, the speech of the mind that is
Here and not there, a mind that sees and hears and
Is aware. Not the deaf, blind speech
Of trees in storm or of monsoon clouds or of rain or the
Incoherent mutterings of the blazing
Funeral pyre. I was child, and later they
Told me I grew, for I became tall, my limbs
Swelled and one or two places sprouted hair.
WhenI asked for love, not knowing what else to ask
For, he drew a youth of sixteen into the
Bedroom and closed the door, He did not beat me
But my sad woman-body felt so beaten.
The weight of my breasts and womb crushed me.
I shrank Pitifully.
Then … I wore a shirt and my
Brother’s trousers, cut my hair short and ignored
My womanliness. Dress in sarees, be girl
Be wife, they said. Be embroiderer, be cook,
Be a quarreller with servants. Fit in. Oh,
Belong, cried the categorizers. Don’t sit
On walls or peep in through our lace-draped windows.
Be Amy, or be Kamala. Or, better
Still, be Madhavikutty. It is time to
Choose a name, a role. Don’t play pretending games.
Don’t play at schizophrenia or be a
Nympho. Don’t cry embarrassingly loud when
Jilted in love … I met a man, loved him. Call
Him not by any name, he is every man
Who wants. a woman, just as I am every
Woman who seeks love. In him . . . the hungry haste
Of rivers, in me . . . the oceans’ tireless
Waiting. Who are you, I ask each and everyone,
The answer is, it is I. Anywhere and,
Everywhere, I see the one who calls himself I
In this world, he is tightly packed like the
Sword in its sheath. It is I who drink lonely
Drinks at twelve, midnight, in hotels of strange towns,
It is I who laugh, it is I who make love
And then, feel shame, it is I who lie dying
With a rattle in my throat. I am sinner,
I am saint. I am the beloved and the
Betrayed. I have no joys that are not yours, no
Aches which are not yours. I too call myself I.

Kamala Das. 

Three Day Quote Challenge; Day1.

I have been recently nominated for “Three Day Quote challenge” by the_aestheticspirit from- https://ecstacy49.wordpress.com and Natasha Tungare from- https://natashatungare.wordpress.com

The quote I am going to share is something that I read recently and have no idea as to who has written it, but I must say that I stand by it, 100000%. Some might agree with me, and some might just not stand to even give a little thought to it. But I will share it no matter what.

123

I don’t need to say anything else.

And so they don’t like me now!

I was sitting with my cousin and my aunt in their house, munching snacks and having a relaxed time over a cup of tea. We were having a blast, my cousins who have come all the way from Gujarat are really chirpy and can make you feel instantly at home anywhere, even if they are themselves not at home, and my aunt surely enjoys their company. Whenever they come over it is like the house is full of people, despite them being only two teen girls.

One of them just went upstairs to bring something to show me and that was enough for my aunt to start on me. She definitely likes to know everything going on in my life, and I on the contrary hate telling her or any one for that matter everything going on in my life. I can tell you just the thing you know but not every petty thing. So somehow we landed on the topic of girls being educated which made her say that she wants a “Beautiful, educated wife for her son who would stay at home and look after everyone.”

I could have made 1000 jokes on this and let it go but I could not, just as I am never able to let it go. I tried to make her understand what she was asking for and yet I could pass nothing into her chained minds. For her education is important but when it comes to utilising it, girls aren’t meant to do it. I mean do these people even understand themselves what they are asking for? They want an engineer homemaker for an engineer man, a doctor for a doctor, a management student for a manager? They want a girl to spend years and years educating her, working so hard to bring her to certain level and when the time comes to marry, they want her to leave it all behind and shove her degrees in the store room.

I respect completely stay at home moms or wives who choose to not work for their families, but the respect only extends to those who CHOOSE it, it turns to pity for them and disgust for their family members just the moment I get to know that the decision was forceful.

I know this brings us to another statement put up- ‘FIGHT FOR IT’.

What do you think? Women don’t? Of course they do, but somewhere down the line, there are many boundaries, emotional or otherwise which she just can’t cross or is forced again not to cross. If a man says he understands all this, I am sorry I am not going to believe it. I think you do not understand a person’s feelings unless you have been through them.

So there I was trying to justify myself but it was very clear that I was speaking Latin to a person who understood only plain Sanskrit.

Before the discussion changed into a heated argument my cousins took over and there was no further chance to discuss anything else, but my aunt’s curt replies and behaviour made it clear that she didn’t like my presence anymore, so making some excuse to my cousins, I left bidding them good bye.

I could not stand being in the wrong. I could not help being there, feel disgusted. The fact that I was trying to explain my point, talk up to my aunt made her feel that I was in the wrong then how are we supposed to make them understand things that are beyond their understanding?

We think that we can change these people, these circumstances but I don’t think so. We will fail until we have such people (MEN AND WOMEN) in our lives.

I don’t care if she doesn’t like me, now that I have raised my voice, put forward my opinion in front of her; what I care about is I like myself. I know I didn’t change her mind, but had I just taken it all without even trying, putting a little bit of effort, I would have hated myself. I failed but at least I tried. Well, that is what I am trying to say to myself and keep calm.