Tuesday, 7 August 2018
The Tale of Ahilya’s Betrayal
Once upon a time there lay a rock on the bosom of its mother
Once a dotted wife like a cow tied to its tether.
Ravished was she as if it was her fate
The owner of the heaven came as her husband was late.
He loved her like her husband and she could not guess
As he had the same face and same was the dress.
Though her husband’s feet were her heavenly abode
She always walked where he decided the road.
She was punished and turned into a rock
This was not an end, she had another shock.
Behold! Who came to save her life?
Famous as Purushottam, betrayer of his wife.
Ravished, punished and saved without any cause
Still benign to her husband, as it was one of the social laws.
Draupadi: A Woman with Five Vulnerable Husbands
The scream of an illegitimate voice
It has ceased to hear itself, therefore
it asks itself
How do I exist? – Adrienne Rich
Five were they who owned me but I had none
None could I hold, none could I shun.
Standing alone in the extreme corner, waiting for their response
I screamed aloud and gave my voice amplified resonance.
Why did I scream? Do they ever bother?
What if I got trampled, they will bring another.
The day I stretched my lips, the earth shook
Lives fell as dry, autumn leaves; blood flew as if a brook.
When I uttered some indignant words, I anguished a lot
I lost all what I had and what not.
Were my words so fatal that they still scourge me?
All wrong to me was accepted; all could do nothing but just see.
Was that stretch so profane that I still compensate;
Still they behold me with eyes full of hate.
Still my sari is torn and I made to sit on thighs
No one rises, no one roars, they just have silent sighs.
The gale was blowing and my nest is fragile
No could see my pain as I wrapped it in a smile.
But my shadow often asks me
When will it suffice?
When will it suffice?
Whenever I cried as I do it often
You always came with a hankie in your hand
Whenever I was surrounded with the goons
You swept them as if you hold a magic wand.
Whenever I drowned
You came as an expert swimmer
You taught me the lesson of life
I, just a useless dreamer,
I made mistakes
You were always right
I, just a dark shadow
Thou, always luminous bright.
You precarious came back
Piqued by having same kind of fun;
I accepted you and adorned with a title
I was addressed Biwi No. 1
This double standard society
Enjoyed your winking eyes;
The more they were amused
The bigger were my sighs.
Whenever I giggled
I faced a social wrath;
They mocked at me
Called me Wife of Bath.
You the privileged ones
Your path is secured from Lakshman Rekhas
For me there are many.
I long for the time when Things Fall Apart
And I will place them in order.
Lo! I can hear approaching footsteps.
The Journey of Innocence
We rode in a bus
Both of us.
In the shade of affection
In the path of glee
Two small saplings
On the journey of being a tree.
Hearts full of innocence
Jumping in lighted lanes
In our childhood
Fairies lived in the plains
We teased each other
At a height we roared
We fought to decide
Whose was the highest score?
Shallow was our well
Dwarf was the hill
We shared the bun
Kept in the oven still.
Our favourite game was
To kill ants and tapers
We crossed deep seas
In the boats of papers.
We showed tantrums
Yet we loved each other
Learnt the lesson of love
From me and my brother.
Dr. Manju teaches English in the Department of UILA, Chandigarh University, Punjab.