I’m a woman,
born again and again
with love or not, success or not –
or disappointed, scorned.
Still I’m a woman –
with self-belief, steadfastness, sureness –
this my soul, tied in my birth-cord.
I’ll not forget,
no, don’t forget, this true birth is my dream,
to be all human . . .

Don’t tell me to come
with the rajani-gandha’s white bloom in my hand,
or carrying
a fiancée’s beauty in a dreamy glitter –
sometime all this
is thrown away . . .
the forehead-teep, lips’ colouring now
is all wiped off . . .
today don’t tell me
to adorn the flower-vase in your home
with flowers . . .

What need was there to ask that kind of question,
and shatter the house of your heart!
What need was there to take a stand in protest,
and collapse the sheltering skull, call to the sky!
You were doing fine,
teep on forehead, sindoor on the crown . . .
an acquiescent life . . .
a bed was there, every day, for sure!
What need was there
to unlock the door
and stand up outside?

From this house to that
this shelter to that
one sky then another sky
but piling a space with earth is no foundation . . .
Father’s chucked you out
to a husband’s house
He’s chucked you out
to the dust of the road . . .
a place of your own
you’ll build with bricks, alone . . .
even then, the uproar of a thousand voices –
“Get out – we don’t have room
for a single woman!”

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