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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