A letter for the old, fragile me.

Reposting this as a follow up on my work “Shame and guilt” when the #Me too seems to making rounds. There are so many victims and so few voices.

mendingmc

You are going to get through this. In 2 years time you’ll be sat on your bed writing a blog post on how you conquered inpatient, are in a home of your own, and can finally close your eyes at night without seeing the devil in the darkness of your eyelids. Your going to be get through this, You won’t have to worry about those ‘how are you feeling? Don’t answer that. I will tell you how you are feeling because you can’t tell me.’  you won’t have to think about the constant darkness surrounding you everyday of your life, tell someone, tell them now, sooner rather than later because they will believe you M, they really believe you. They support you, they’ve held you up, they’ve got you help, they love YOU. Not him. HEs lying, everything he says is a lie. You need to ignore who he was and…

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CHETI CHAND

 

The sighting of the new moon

After the dark night of no moon

Signifying the dark moves to renew

Emergence of the beginnings new

Celebrations of their Year New

Sindhis decked up in vibrant hue

Cheti Chand not merely a festival

Speaks of tales of the Sindhi revival

The first appearance of the moon

In the Sindhi month of Chet opportune

Birth Anniversary of patron saint Jhulelal

Also known as their Ishtadeva Uderolal

The day now marked as Sindhiyat Day

By Hindu Sindhis that gather to pray

Adorning the temple room in the homes

And placing in platter the Bahirano domes

Dancing the traditional Chhej holding sticks

And Lighting flour and ghee lamps with five wicks

Sweetened rice with cardamom  flavor

And chick peas boiled with added savor

Unites this day all the Hindu Sindhi commune

As to their Water God they offer tribune

Sikiladi

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Published in The Coffee Table Book “DIWALI and Beyond” 2017 by The Asian Weekly:

Cheti Chand poem 2017 TAW

Shame and guilt

This story is inspired by the trending topic #ME TOO addressing the taboo topic of our sick society where women are being treated as objects of pleasure by some. It is a pity that they are victimized and go through the shame and guilt of something beyond their doing. Thanks to Alyssa Milano this campaign lifted off to give at least a segment of women their voice to speak up about the naked atrocities.

Appreciative are the efforts of Nobel Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi at saving and providing protective care to the children (both male and female) who are either the victims or targets of sexual abuse and assault in many parts of India. 

Mira the shy introvert and the only girl child in the family was overly protected and pampered by all around her. Her simple demands of getting new glass bangles were met with gifts of beautiful gold bangles. Such was the affection and adulation that she was addicted to.

She left for school every morning along with her elder brother and returned home under his protective care. Life was simple, chores were basic and time a plenty. The siblings had a set pattern throughout the day.Going for their showers, getting dressed for school, having a freshly prepared breakfast along with a cup of milk ( Mira didn’t quite enjoy that cup of milk but had no guts to refuse it afraid of her dad’s annoyance). Spending till afternoon at school and returning to rest a bit and get done with the Homework. Once the Homework was done, they had all the time to play around.

Whilst the parents thought Mira was very docile and well protected with the whole family around her including a grandmother and a great grandfather who was always at home she became a silent victim of abuse at a very young age. In the early 70s speaking about Love and sex was a taboo topic in most Indian households. Funnily, if you heard a girl even uttering those words she was labelled as an immoral.

She was barely nine years old( or so she would think) when a far relative more than double her age came to stay with them. He appeared ugly to her from day one but she thought nothing much as he would stay a few days and return home. Alas! this so called far cousin was there to stay longer than weeks and months. He was there to stay for some years on the pretext of better schooling. Mira and her brother Mohan were not very happy with this but their parents seemed to be in a habit of having people stay over. Earlier it was an uncle of theirs who took away more affection from their mother than he deserved while staying over for a few years.

Mohan had detested the very time when an aunt had moved over from another town along with her family and they had to put up additional seven members besides seven of their own in that two bedroom house for several months till their father managed to get them a house to move into. Each time the relief of seeing someone move out from their house was short lived as another relative would move in.

The far cousin Dinesh came to the city from a small town and appeared a simpleton initially but soon had a corrupt mind and attitude. He was overly protected by grandma for all his flaws as she covered them up quite smartly. Little did grandma realise that Dinesh had his lecherous eyes upon her own daughter Ganga. Dinesh and Ganga went to the same school and she often had to put up with his suggestive behaviour. Knowing grandma’s fond attitude towards Dinesh, Ganga dared not mention about his behaviour to anyone at home.

Dinesh meanwhile became bolder having understood her dilemma and his naughty gestures and teasing touch became frequently repetitive. One day when grandma was away for prayers and the two siblings were busy playing Dinesh forcefully slid his hands into her clothes and pressed her breasts hard. This was disgusting for Ganga and though she pushed him away, she cried a lot. Mira tried consoling her but the nine year old couldn’t have understood the sentiments of her young aunt. She was disgusted. She felt like she had been raped. No man had ever touched her body like that. She thought she was to be blamed for this violation of her piousness.

When grandma came home Ganga wanted to cry out loud and tell her about it all. Grandma was in her own world, singing away, not even noticing that her youngest born was going through trauma. Ganga couldn’t dare to talk about it eventually as she was ashamed of what had happened. She took the shame upon herself as if she was a sinner. Dinesh was all smiles appearing victorious and his moves became worse by the day.

He started grabbing her in his arms at any given opportunity. He would pinch her on the breasts, kiss her and pass obscene remarks. In a conservative Indian family all this was considered extremely shameful and Ganga was suffering this shame so much that she lost her concentration on her studies. It made her into a very reserved person who found no solace with anyone as she couldn’t talk to anyone about the mental agony she was undergoing. The disrespect to her body not only caused shame in her but affected her health too. She started sleep walking and wanted to kill herself one day. Thankfully her brother Inder caught her in time and saved her but no one ever understood the cause behind all this. All she deserved was a comedy of scolding coming from all elders.

Ganga tried to gather some courage and speak to her mother once at least but without hearing her out she was shut down by praises of Dinesh coming out from her mum. Grandma had surely been charmed up by this guy.  His sexual urge was outgrowing his pants and one day as great grandpa was having his afternoon nap Dinesh grabbed little Mira in his arms and started fondling her. Mira was scared of him, she didn’t know what to do. Then as he continued to cuddle her like a baby he unbuttoned his pants and placed Mira’s hand on his private part.

Mira was astonished. She tried to run away but he held her tight and threatened her that he would call her parents. She wasn’t committing a sin but was made to feel guilty and ashamed by him. Lifting up her frock, he placed his member inside her panties. She was utterly confused in her innocence as to why would he do that. In a matter of minutes the ultimate happened right in front of great grandpa who was enjoying his blissful nap unaware of the disgusting act.

Mira was scared about what she underwent. She still hadn’t understood what the ugly act meant and why. She wanted to cry because her panty was wet and she was in pain. He explained to her that this was normal and she was supposed to wear wet pants as a sign of growing up. He further explained to her that her mother must be wearing wet panties too. She hated to think like that about her mum and worst even that her dad Inder could ever behave so badly ever.

Her dislike towards Dinesh turned into hatred after that episode as he started frequenting his act. How she wished she could tell mummy about it but was full of shame to even speak about it. She had understood what sex meant pretty early, in fact earlier than puberty. Now she could understand what her aunt Ganga must be undergoing as he claimed proudly once that she was not her only victim. How she wished she could run away somewhere as she was full of disgust by his acts. Surprisingly her parents and Mohan never realized all the nonsense going on right under their noses.

What a lovely protective care she had where she and her aunt were abused during the day, in the evenings and at night. Ganga was happily married off in a couple of years and Dinesh’s  gazing eyes were watchful of Mira’s pubic growth. How could she ever tell her mother that long before she got the first bra for her little girl, her tiny breasts had been pinched and bitten onto. How could she ever explain her pain and to whom when right there in front of her sleeping grandma she was made naked, fondled and acted upon.

Such behaviour is found in nearly eighty percent of overprotective conservative Indian families where men of all ages are thought to be guarding the females in the house. Unfortunately it is those very guardians like fathers, grandfathers, uncles and cousins who break their decency barriers and victimize young women and girls again and again, yet continue to enjoy the privilege of being their protectors giving no voice to the female members. This kind of shame and guilt cannot be justified by any means.

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS : Celebrating the birth of Christ

 

December’s unique celebration

Hearts full of worship and jubilation

A family time for the entire clan

Their celebratory customs need a plan

Involving heightened economic activity

Christmas celebrated as per one’s Nativity

The songs pre-Christmas get played plenty

Origins of customs and themed music gaiety

The bringing in of the Christmas Tree

Adornment with mistletoe, garland and Holly

Commemoration of the birth of the Child Divine

Born in Bethlehem to Joseph and the Virgin Mary

The twelve days of Christmas and Caroling popular

Lighting the Christingle and humming the jingles

A gifting galore alongside lights and ornaments

Concentric assortment of leaves evergreen

Traditional colors of red, gold and green

Characteristic songs unique from the middle Ages

The Yule Logs famous and Turkey with sages

The giving of greeting cards to Biblical messages

The Romans and Pagans passed on through generations

A worldwide Holiday marking the auspiciousness

Communal Mass in each Cathedral and Church

Midnight prayers on the Eve and preparedness

The ringing of the bell comforting

To Jesus the Lord is  all worshipping

Sikiladi

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In The Media:

Published in the Coffee Table Book- “Diwali and Beyond” 2017 by  “The Asian Weekly”:

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ONAM – Welcoming Mahabali

 

Kerala bursts alive with a bright sight

Whence comes the auspicious light

Commemorating the home coming

Of legendary emperor the great Mahabali

This harvest festival of the Malayalis

In or outside of their native Kerala bliss

Observed with various festivities unique

Racing of boats and floral appliqués

Dancing to the tiger steps and martial arts

Thumbi Thullal and Kummati Kali mask arts

Costumes enthralling and native Onavillu

All forming part for the Malayali Hindu

Onam looked up as the New Year’s Day

In Kerala it being a state Holiday

Honouring the Divine incarnation Vamana Avatar

A significant manifestation of Vishnu Bhagwan

In the Chingham month of Malayalam

Comes a festival with traditional Onapottan

The ten-day long vibrant festival

Culminating on the day of Thirovanum

Gathering blossoms of various hues

To adorn a floral carpet of Pookkalam

Earthen mounds forming pyramids

Of endemic flowers of Dashapushpum

 

Sikiladi

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In The Media:

Published in the Coffee Table Book: “Diwali and Beyond” 2017 by The Asian Weekly :

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KARVA CHAUTH: Fasting for the Loved One

 

The frequent bursts of red and gold

The rapid jingles within wrists fold

The vibrant North Indian women

With marital promises in hearts fold

Giggling away with naughtiness bold

With Henna patterns as good omen

A display of stories on palms are told

Bangles a plenty of glass, or metal gold

Fasting for their love, their wedded men

The Sargi from a mother’s threshold

Is savored in the pre dawn hours cold

Songs they sing in unison akin to a wren

In evening hours in groups the maidens behold

Sitting encircled chanting songs bellowed

Married women sing praises of their men

Emergence of the crescent from the cloud fold

A time to pray in the moonlight’s mould

Prayers sacred every now and then

In each woman’s heartbeat can be trolled

Her husband by her beauty totally bowled

Feeds her a morsel and a sip in hasten

Thus celebrated the Karva Chauth doled

 

Sikiladi

 

In The Media:

Published in the Diwali edition Coffee Table Book 2017 of The Asian Weekly:

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PARYUSHAN PARVA : The Festival of Forgiveness

The sanctity of the period divine

With fasting and forgiveness prime

Comes the Jain festival significant

Commandments of faith so diligent

Paryushan Parv in Ashvin month

With incantation voicing forgiveness

Micchami Dukkhadam or Kshamavani

For all the hurt caused and absolvence

A near ten day long strict observance

Survival on water and air on Mother Earth

The ritualistic simplistic selflessness

With a higher purity and auspiciousness

Worshippers of the great Lord Mahavir

The Digambars and the Shvetambars

Fervent in their faith with steadfastness

Pardon each other in condonance

The young and the old with equal acceptance

In respect and love a purging balance

Making amends for regrets of the past and present

Offenses occurred in action, thought or word accent

Known and unknown misbehaviors forgotten

One Love for all alike begotten

Sikiladi


In The Media:

Published in the Diwali Coffee Table Book Edition 2017 of The Asian Weekly 

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