Blame the Rekha

She sat under the thatched roof,
Saffron-clad, serenity.
A big red circle between her brows,
Beautiful and infinite.
There she thought of Rama,
Her husband who had gone out,
Like all men do.
Then Lakshmana, wise enough,
to draw her a boundary as he left.

Boundaries.
For safety, a precaution, a limit,
Set by him. As men are limitless.
But a woman must think.
She must think what she would wear,
Not her favourite dress, but a dress,
An inch longer, maybe two.
She must think of what she speaks,
Regulate her giggles, suppress them
But men must laugh.
Loud enough to mute every bit,
Of estrogen in the same room.

But what was she wearing?
A saree, yes. Maybe the blouse,
Was too tight?
Was she too polite and welcoming?
Aren’t all of us brought up to be that way?
But through the pages of history,
The woman was proved wrong,
To have crossed a line.
A pure soul, that of Sita’s
Was questioned, accused.

After hundreds of years,
Nothing has changed.
A rekha is drawn every time,
I avoid wearing red lipstick for a meeting,
Or sit comfortably with my legs apart,
brilliantly termed as ‘Manspreading’,
Or wear a crop top with high waist jeans,
Or hot pants,
Or jeans with a waist too low,
When I go out undone,
When I can’t be out in the dark,
When the windows of passing cars are rolled down,
As I walk down the street after a party.

Blame the glittery short dress.
Blame my favourite high heels.
Blame my long, messy hair.
Blame my loud, carefree laugh.
Blame my skin-tight jeans.
Blame my new Kurta.
Blame my sequined saree.
Blame my short skirt.
Blame my long skirt.
Blame my neon bra under white.
Blame my lingerie under the black Burkha.
Blame the rekha.
You draw.

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Posted in BeingBeautiful, feminism

The Story of He

He tells me how pretty I look tonight,
The short dress,
making my legs look longer.
He knows not of the pain of
Every hair pulled out,
the burn of the hot wax,
The anxiety as the strip is rubbed against my skin.
For him they’re just a pretty pair.

He told me how he wanted to kiss
my luscious lips.
Red lips which were nothing compared to
The redness caused above them,
When the hair was threaded out.
It buried into my skin,
As I press my tongue against it.
So as to retaliate?

The glint in my big black eyes,
would make him stare into them all day.
Well, not with my dense black brows,
the plucking of which,
made my eyes quiver in pain.

Shaving my hair,
Shaving it off my head.
The latter considered bizarre,
The former, well, surreptitious.

We’re told
Pretty hurts.
Handsome never does.
Child birth hurts,
Intercourse on him doesn’t.
Menstruation hurts, Boners don’t.
Then why should I choose pretty,
When I endure pain almost at every turn in life?
Be it a war between my legs or a new life inside me?

So the next time he tells me I’m pretty,
I’ll tell him to wait,
Till my dark black hair
Is back.