At times they tell me- I am a goddess,
And they drape me-
In sandalwood and red, And carry me along- Around the temple.
Sometimes they cry- When I am born- Who’ll pay the dowry- When she is finally off- To her in-laws’ place!
At times they gawk, At me on the streets,
Their mouths whistling,
The songs brute and vulgar, And I keep my head down.
Other times they parade, My body on the streets, For men to thrash around, Spewing their hatred-
On my dead old soul!
From goddess to the streets, It’s the curse I have to bear- For I am born a woman-
In a land that boasts about- As the land of Bharat Mata!
Meera is a Delhi-based activist working in the field of education. She is also a solo traveler and a fitness enthusiast.
Image of ‘Bharat Mata’ by Abanindranath Tagore courtesy: the internet.