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At weddings, old women sing songs 

of men fighting in the sea 

and of wives who keep themselves safe under the roof, fearful. 

Those songs, to the boys, are just background noise. 

young girls listen and learn from them. 

“Ek chup sau sukh” (the silent one conquers a hundred)  

my grandma whispers in my ear 

to soothe me to sleep. 

“Your envy will steal you of your peace” 

she cries out when I fail. 

My first boyfriend once told me 

that the sounds will start to fade away 

with age 

“Your brother is yet to become a man”


I envy their high-pitched voices, 

I envy men.

Madhvi Thakur is a bi-lingual writer, scholar, and sometimes ghostwriter. Sexuality, gender, and culture are three themes that inspire most of her work.

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