Of Life, Living, and Rethinking

Poet – Anushna Jha 

When she came into this world

She was cursed, her family blamed their stars

The atmosphere was that of gloom, not joy

The day was one of mourning, not celebration

Her mother silently prayed that she remained healthy

And then prayed along with her family that it should be a boy next time.

When she started speaking


She was taught that her voice shouldn’t go out of the four walls

She was told girls don’t laugh aloud

Her brother was told boys don’t cry aloud

She was told to learn to obey

He was told to learn to command.

When she wanted to go out and play

She was told that with her lay the respect of her house, that must stay within the threshold


She was taken to the kitchen, not to the classroom

She was taught how to clean, not to write

She was taught the values of sacrifice, politeness, and respect

Her brother was taught to imbibe valour, strength, and authority.

When she was made to succumb to the lewd fancies of that man

She was asked to shut up and forget

She was warned not to mention about it to anyone

She was told she’d lost her face, her honor, her respect


She silently asked, “When did I have honor and respect?”

She was physically viled by that man, but emotionally stripped off by her own family.

When she was forcibly made to take those seven rounds around the fire

She was basically gotten rid off, with a heavy price 

She was sent to what they told her was her new home

If only they could realize that she had never ever felt ‘at home’ since she was born

She was told to take responsibility of the family that was now hers

Which essentially meant to cook, wash, care, and satiate the desires of her husband.

When she was tortured for more dowry

She was made to go back to her parents’ and ask them for money

She was sent to the jewelers and sell her gold for cash

After all this too, she was inflicted with multiple injuries on her body, soul, and mind

She was called by names she despised

She was cursed for reasons anonymous, yet well-known.

When she sold into prostitution by her husband


She was devoid of any feelings or emotions

She was saturated in every was she could be

She was pained enough and exhausted

She was done with her life

And this saw the end of that tormented, humiliated, oppressed woman.


What did this look like?

A story of an aggrieved woman? A narrative of a ‘bechari aurat’?


A story of a gradual death of humanity? A narrative of poor socialization?

Before this woman ceased to breathe, she wrote a new chapter of her life

She fought the forces of domination and tyranny

She raised her voice, loud enough to be heard

She demanded equality, and commanded respect

She met suppression with determination

She responded to chauvinism with rationality

 And she succeeded, she won, she triumphed

Because in the hundred deaths they gave her, she sought her own life.


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