Since the age of sixteen, I have had one aim,
That was to win the title of the “perfect woman”.
I had been told to look beautiful,
Because men like fair girls with a slender waist.
I have heard my mumma mutter to an auntie that Kajol, Deepika & Bipasha could have been prettier,
So, I decided that day to look pretty to achieve my title aim.
I applied paste over paste,
Some that were sticky yellow,
Some that smelt like a rotten egg placed in a trash dump.
But I have had to apply them so as to look beautiful.
I applied hundreds of fairness creams,
I rubbed & rubbed the thick foam of the cream over my brown cheeks,
Till they started burning red hot like a meltdown lava.
Although I took all the precautions while doing that.
Finally, the day arrived,
The wedding trumpets
Were ready to make me a perfect puppet,
Then began the grand feast,
And they looked no less than a beast.
And relatives consoled my tender heart,
Whispered their cautious advice in my ears that was loaded with heavy flashy ornaments.
I had been told not to sit with my legs apart,
I have been skilled to walk in the dark,
I had been told not to giggle in front of ‘them’,
I had been told not to speak louder than ‘him’,
I had been told and never asked…
I was transported to another house,
My very dream house of my spouse.
I tried & tried to adjust my little self,
In the huge mansion, with big rooms.
But there was no place for my little heart,
After all, that needs art.
I worked & worked through sleepless nights,
Days passed without proper food,
But I kept my cool.
Because after all, it’s the job of a perfect woman to prove.
I kept stitching my broad red blossomed lips,
Behind this soft eclipse.
I kept galloping the leftover food,
I kept cleaning the footprints,
I kept bearing the filthy shit,
That was being thrown at my face each day, each night.
I kept hiding the scars of that every haunting night, under the long veil of a cheap saree.
I kept burning the pages of my diary,
Not because ‘I’ hate to write
But because ‘he’ hates me when I write.
Everything shook my will,
Despite that, I kept standing still.
I maintained the angelic smile on my face,
Until I realized that this isn’t a fairy phase.
One day I decided,
One day I thought,
I have had enough,
I have had enough,
I have had enough of sacrifices,
I have had enough of letting it go.
I have had enough of being pious,
I wanted to be the fire again,
I have had enough of being Parvati,
I wanted to be Bellona again.
I wanted to be that zeal again.
I wanted to be the power again.
So I took a rope,
As there was no hope.
I made a perfect noose,
As it was the time to choose…
My body turned frost,
my body turned bluish.
For the first time I felt the darkness,
Tasted the death,
As ‘he’ took his last deep breath!
~Tanisha Saxena ©