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by Bharti Bansal
( Shimla, India)

I sit in the balcony overviewing the lake and I realise how costly love is
A daughter's mindful, chained love
Bound in the tower
Like repunzel
Always looking out for an escape
A white dove of killed desires
Often used as a peace symbol between daughters and families
Love is a jewel displayed through the windows of closed hearts
And i am a poverty stricken woman
Constantly knocking the windows of cars of posh to buy love
Sometimes from my own family
Perhaps being a daughter is a curse
When body becomes the home to ijjat and maryada,
That must never be overstepped
And vagina, a temple
Pure and sacred
A boundary encircling this entire body
As if vagina is a landmine
And ijjat, a child constantly eluding it within inches
My body is an Urdu language
And love is a shayari
Badnaam is a word i am scared of
And love dies at the hands of badnaami
"Ijjatdar galiyon mein me twayaf si nachti hui
Badnaami mere ankhon se ashko si chalakti hui"
I now step on the railings of my terrace
And look down to measure the height of my love
How low can i fall into it
How many broken bones will rekindle the same love
I think like it is the last prayer i will ever chant
Love comes at a cost of covered body
And i am a sinner
Nudity covering me
Little pores oozing out shame for accepting it
I heard a woman saying once
That daughters and sexuality are antonyms
That maryaada kills the desires
And when blood oozes
menstruation becomes the symbol of "purity"
Love is a teenager
And loving despite is a tantrum
That good parents never learn
Good parents raising good daughters
Good/crying daughters
Good/lying daughters
Good/fearing daughters
Good/suicidal daughters
Good/emotionally dependent daughters
Daughters which seek validation
By hiding in words instead
Because good daughters are asexual
And loving good daughters is worhsipping the goddess in the temples
What i mean is
Somedays i wonder if i become sita instead
And overstep the lakshman rekha surrounding by body
Will i still be loved?
Or will i become a burden that lives under the same roof
Because being bonded by blood is a powerful thing
And good parents dont honour kill their distrustful women
Women because they stop being daughters
Women because thats how they are reminded of their limitations
Women because marayaada and ijjat are powerful knives
That enters through the vaginal canal and stays there
Until one is married/when it becomes an obligation
I am a goddess
I am a worshipped on navratri as a kanjaka
My body is just another temple
A myth that must not be broken
I am god fearing
And even if god resides in every pore of my skin
I try not to make him(?)angry
I astral project my burning self
And see the ashes of love lying by my feet
Conditonal love
Condtioned by years of grooming by society for loving when pure
I am pure
Yet a question mark always lingering in the eyes of my parents
And my smile, an affirming answer
Love is expensive
When sexuality stands in between
Asking for justice
But who is the judge?
"Ishq ijjat ke bajar me bikta hua
Mumkin hai kya
Badnaami ise khareed paye?"
I know now
This love comes at a cost of reasoning and logics
Logics too painful to bear
Love which stares deep into my eyes
And smirks at me for not being worthy of it
Love which ignores in a celebration
Love which sits by my side only when it is alone
Love treating me as an option
Love calling me from beneath
Standing on the ground
With arms open wide
Coaxing me into believing that it will catch me
Father says i have a soft heart
I trust easily
I trust love
I jump from terrace
I die
Poetry oozes out as a last note
To all those who ignored the subtle signs
I undersign
My sexuality was always a fierce truth i couldnt deny, you couldn't accept
And i chose me instead this time


Comments for Maryaada

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Feb 06, 2020
by: Kusum Choppra Name:

Ms. Bansal, your poem Maryada really cuts to the core of the growing mismatch between parental expectations of their betis and the betis of Life and their longings.
Only wish you had brought in some mention of contrasts with betas.

Kusum Choppra

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