Day 5: Lips of Desire

Day 5 Inktober 2022: Flame

Aaina was the smartest 14-year old girl in school and she was pretty too. Everyone wanted to be her friend especially boys. They would wait outside the girls hostel to get a glimpse of her. They would often follow her on the streets, some of them would walk in groups behind her and call her names, some on bicycles would stop and ask her if she wanted a ride, some would compliment her, “Aaj toh mast lag rahi ho!” If she looked at a guy mistakenly, then he would assume that she likes him and go to the extent of writing love letters and then would wrap them around stones and throw at her hostel room’s window.

The girls in school did not want to be with her or around her because they felt she was attracting unnecessary attention and some envied her for her looks. She did not know whom to complain, or what to do. Aaina did not ask for any of this she was embarrassed, frightened, ashamed, and started hating the way she looked. But she did not give up, there was a fire burning inside her. She had a burning desire to fix these problems, a desire to make women feel safe when they leave their homes without having the fear of being harmed by men. She wanted to protect women and fight for the rights that they equally deserve.

Happy International Podcast Day! Womaning in India – Mahima Vashisht

Today on International Podcast day, I would like to bring to your attention this amazingly amazing podcast that I am currently listening to called, “Womaning in India with Mahima Vashisht” on the Seen and the Unseen with Amit Verma.

What this podcast is about is kind of clear in the title, it’s about what a woman experiences to be a woman in India. It is a true delight to listen to Mahima Vashisht, who is an exceptionally intelligent person, speak about her life and about the issues that women face throughout their lives and let them slide. It’s about how this world that we live in is designed by men for men. Don’t worry this podcast is not just a serious long episode, it is funny, interesting, inspiring and eye-opening that both men and women SHOULD listen to! I’ve become a super-duper fan of Mahima and I’m sure you’ll become one too if you listen to @mahimavashisht.

Don’t miss out on this one: Womaning in India

PS: Thanks Pal and Ash for sharing this with me and thanks Labhe for telling me that today is international podcast day 🙂

Where you at?

I cannot sleep,
Is it my troubled mind, that is keeping me awake all night?
Or is it the moonlight from my window?
I try long and hard –
To go back to a peaceful world of dreams,
Where the night is dark and the sleep is deep.
But lately I’ve been up all night!
Tossing and turning,
Taking deep breaths,
Reading books,
Listening to meditative music to put me back to sleep…
Why isn’t anything helping?
What is it that I’ve been thinking?
Am I anxious or just excited?
What am I waiting for,
Or rather who am I waiting for?
No, stop it!
Stop thinking.
I need my sleep.
Let’s try going back to sleep.
Night night!

Women Will Be Women

I am a woman, I am not really sure what to say. I have had ups and downs in my life, I have been asked to sacrifice. Sometimes I do it willing, sometimes forcefully.

I have not been allowed to wear clothes of my choice, I have been asked to dress appropriately for my safety, I obliged. Well, yes I am not physically strong, I cannot fight a gang of morons. So, I covered up and walked with my head down because who wants to be an object of illicit desire.

Growing up, I have been asked to dress well, wear make-up, act like a girl and look pretty to meet the standards of beauty, set by whom? I still wonder. I don’t want my skin to glitter and shine, I want to be in my PJs and read books of my choice.

I care for myself I know how things work in the male-dominated work places. I have a voice which is sometimes heard and often times ignored. But, I am not lame to scream and shout, I am wise I will find better ways to get things done the way I want.

I have been asked to come home early no later than 7 PM because the night is dark and full of terrors. Hungry men lurking around dark alleys ready to pounce on a girl who’s alone, who may or may not be dressed provocatively. I have heard stories, watched the news, I am scared too and so I do as I am asked to do.

Some women ask me, “Do you know how to cook? How will you feed your man?” When I replied no, they laughed at me, so I laughed too. I did learn cooking though, to feed myself and the ones in need. Nobody told me how rewarding and therapeutic cooking could be.

When men made their moves on me and I did not jive to their vibe, they called me names. But, it did not affect me as I knew already that they could never respect my standards and boundaries.

I am in my 30s, I am asked when I am having babies? I understand you are curious and these are questions for my well-being, but reproduction is not a role that every woman needs to play. In a world that’s populated and polluted by human beings, do we really need more babies?

There are some things that sometimes women need to do. Not because somebody has asked us to, but because we are smart enough to understand how the world works.
Sometimes the messages passed on to women are wrong. We have not been treated equally, but we know the right from wrong.
We are patient, we are relentless, we are fighters, we are strong. Living through life like everyone else, we do not ask for more or less, because we know that we are the best.

Purple Dyed

She wore white and flinched.
All these years, lavender was her color.

Lavender were the sheer curtains rising and falling with the wind.
The velvety pillow covers on which she rested her head to read.

Her closet had different shades of lavender,
Plum-colored scarves, mauve satin shirt,
Floral lilac dresses, amethyst gems in the rings.
Wine-colored sweaters, regal purple heels.

The sheets on the bed had stains of lavender.
The light shaded rug on the floor was faded in purple.
In a frenzy, she had painted the wall in the corner of her room purple.

The hanging basket in her balcony bloomed with fake mulberries.
On cold days of winter, she sipped hot chocolate from her periwinkle mug,
While a lavender throw lay at her feet.

The streaks on her auburn hair were purple.
Her nails painted purple.

Today, she had to forego the purple crown.
For a white bridal gown.

Women in Armour

There’s something super attractive about women in armour.

“She wore her armour of calmness, courage, and strength everyday to fight the negativity, hostility, and hatred around her like a true warrior.”

Arms in the Air

Day 9 Inktober – “Throw”

For dance was her expression of freedom. Moving smoothly like a breeze, sometimes flowing vigorously like the waves. Sliding and gliding, swinging and turning. Always energetic, always having fun. Her final dance move ended with her head held high. And every time she threw the ruffles of her skirt in the air in the passion of her dance.