1 min read

i really can't get them 

even after growing up in a house full of women 

or maybe this is exactly why.

trial :

noun/ a test of endurance, strength and resilience. 

but why and for whom ? 

through fables and fear, they tried to teach me 

and just like that i lost my faith.

what sort of a trial is womanhood ? 

that even your shadow is tied like a kite to its string 

but strung not to your body 

nor your soul 

but the shadow of another 

whose whims dictate tunes for you to play


in my family, they 

weave webs of sacrifices 

upon the pyres of dignity, 

douse it in chastity 

and garland it on their daughters 


heirlooms of honour 

no girl asked for. 

mangala sutras 

adornment/ auspicious threads to visually solemnize marriage 

covered in gold 

the noose never looked prettier 

as she was exchanged from man to man

nikkafied they say.

i have seen 

my mother 

strip chickens and beat them up 

into fillets and fries, 

biryanis and kheemas. 

her bulging veins ready to burst. 

but just like her, they sustain.

my grandmother’s once red fingers 

are no longer nails 

but keratin shells 

and crusty talons 

deprived of henna stains 

from when she took over the role 

of being everybody’s masseuse 

manoeuvring to the patriarch’s whimsies

i used to not believe in samsara 

never really understood the how 

but now as i stand in front of my house 

and see these women float 

as soulless shadows in their own homes

whose only goal is to entrap me in the same

i wonder 

if all of this self imposed glory and selfless altruism 

will land them any hoor-il ayins 

or will they just end up 

crippled, forgotten and curled up in the corner 

like my grandma with dementia 

forgetting herself 

and getting forgotten 

by everyone.

will i ever comprehend women ?

Haifa Maryam is a final year literature student and is a vintage aficionado who loves exploring new cities. Plath and Gilmore Girls are her only consolation sometimes in this Kafkaesque world.

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