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A Realistic Indian Dream

by Akkera NR
(Bangalore, India)

Mother, we need to fire the maid,
It is fairly obvious that she is doing a lousy job -
For dusted under the carpet,
I found a bundle of stereotypes,
Unaddressed letters containing violent histories
Making circles through the mail for centuries now.

Mother, these letters in shades of saffron and green feel like
Goosebumps under my skin,
As though my flesh cowers in response
To the red ink uniting these half torn pages,
Reminders of clotted wounds from
Bullet holes shared in our past,
As though the tree they cut down for this paper,
Did not leak sap but blood.
As though the leaves that fell on two sides of a border,
Forgot about each other -
As countries dissected, blood dried quicker than water.

Mother, they sealed the envelopes
With a fair amount of ignorance in their saliva,
Or was ego the glue-stick?
I cannot tell, and neither can all the voices stitched into silence.
My ears pressed to the dusty pages,
Mother -
I fear that these whispers I hear are actually
Screams muffled in currency notes that are held back
By a dam spelt D - E - M - O - Netization,
Erected with bricks baked in
A furnace called bureaucracy,
Broken only by a thousand lit candles on the street; their collective
Heat and purpose melting shackles,
Let alone the needles sewing these lips shut.

Mother, do I have the liberty to voice the concerns expressed in these letters?
My tongue will be labelled too bold;
Too long,
Unlike the hem of my skirt even when it reaches my ankles;
Too dark,
Like the melanin unwilling to deter from her throne,
Her martyrs resting under the flag of beauty standards;
Too defiant,
A queen against whom wars have been waged from
Surrounding kingdoms of misogyny and sexism.

Mother, on second thought, I think the maid should stay,
Address these letters to her demons :
Send out a couple extra to poverty,
And a few less to oppression.
The replies will be answers in the form of bedtime stories,
Telling her son it is okay to cry;
Her daughter would read them without the fear of it being snatched away.
Sleep would not be forced to hoodwink hunger, and
Dreams would not be a luxury.


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