New year resolutions – a leaf from the past, #metoo

A very happy 2019 to all of you!

We wish you more power to you, your dreams and resolutions. Talking of resolutions, we always take a cue from what went by, traces of history, the past into our future. They lay the foundation of our aspirations and action.

This season’s greetings are always more colourful than autumn and high-spirited too. But then there are lessons to be learnt, perceptions to be understood, accepted and worked, decisions to be made.

Continuing our journey of exploring perspectives on the #metoo in the written medium, we share three haibun by three contemporary poets of India. Haibun is a genre of prose poetry, originated in Japan that carries a three-line poem called a haiku.

This post would be the last in the #metoo series. Not that we are going to stop talking about it but there is definitely enough on our plate to think about and act.

Presenting three haibun on the theme that would entice you with their story and the thought lingering in the haiku.

In our earlier posts of poems shared on this topic, we have always tried to find pieces that spoke about the importance of a voice. Silence is not always golden and before everything turns into an inedible ‘Midas’ touch, we need more and more narratives.

Rag-dolls and Dear Diary present the unsaid of such stories, reaffirming the need for voices against such incidents that are often brushed under the carpet as a routine. The incidents have spared none – many of you might recall similar instances and experiences.

 

Rag-dolls by Paresh Tiwari

All day long, we sit on the crumbling wall of the cemetery. Our feet, clad in mud-crusted Mary Janes, dangle inches above the wild grass.

There is silence . . . a blanket of windless heat punctuated by the caw of crows and the chatter of squirrels, until the first fat bullets of rain lodge themselves on our necks.

We shoulder the bags, put on our rain capes and begin the long walk back. We must have looked hunchbacked, the rain capes bulging over our oversized school bags. Once this would have been reason enough for ceaseless bouts of laughter, we may even have splashed about in the muddy puddles or tried to catch the raindrops on our tongue.

But not today.

roar of rain . . .

knowing what she means

by ‘he touches me’

 

Dear Diary by Yesha Shah

8:45am
Mangalore.

We were running late. The exam began at nine.

Skies were ominously overcast and the moment we stepped out it began pouring heavily. Our palms ached from trying to hold the umbrella steady. The two of us tried to walk as fast as we could without slipping in the brown-red puddles, our dupattas fluttering wildly behind us.

Bus 9F arrived, overcrowded as usual. It would take us to our destination stop, Nanthoor, in twelve minutes…a roller-coaster ride through the undulating roads of the city that would leave us smelling like a mixture of deodorants, beedi-fumes, sweat and rust.

And there he was, standing at the stairs of the bus, smugly. Balding, pot-bellied lecher − baring his tobacco stained teeth at us.

grade five picnic

I teach her

about good and bad touch

 

Our endeavour in exploring this theme has also opened up stories about a behavioural perspective that has penetrated our everyday life in the garb of love and social security. That also turns out to be one of the root causes. Quite a number of them are woven in our societal norms. Love, dreams and desires aren’t for only a section of people or gender. Nor are rights. Nor is freedom to desire, dream, love, hate and yet, we hear of secrets dying to live.

Selena by Rochelle Potkar

In the night, the road is long. The sea emulates the sky’s colour, twinkling boat lights, and ships that glide on the inky rustle—palanquin of night.

In Selena’s first marriage with him, they made love all through the days. He taught her to love roughly. But he didn’t want her to go anywhere without him. He dissuaded her from wearing t-shirts and jeans. ‘Dress like a married woman. My woman,’ he said. He yelled at her if she did not cover her breasts with a stole over her kurta. He berated her if the side slits of her salwaar kameez were too wide, or if her leggings were snug, showing off her thighs.

In the day, the road is shorter. The sea emulates the sky’s colour, allowing boats to create cloud-like surf and wave. She divorced him and went back to her mother’s house to fit into jeans and t-shirts from her childhood cupboard.

He came after her. He apologized and begged. One day, with water held in his mouth under a very hot sun as a means of penance, he walked from his home to hers—a good 20 kilometers. He nearly fainted when he arrived.

They remarried—since they had filed for divorce and the papers were in court. She now has two children with him, and no house help. She cannot go to the gym. She cannot wear clothes that reveal her femininity. She doesn’t talk too much to friends.

As far as he is concerned, she cooks all day, drops and picks Evan and Angel, feeds them, and waits for him. For herself, she has a secret gym membership for the late mornings when the children are at playgroup. She packs figure-hugging jeans and cleavage-clinging singlets into a bag when she sets out—that’s why her bag is always full. She has a part-time job in the early evenings, where she glances at men hungrily and greedily as she walks on the road, and is glanced at back equally hungrily and greedily.

She also has a dream . . . that someday she will take the kids to a foreign land and meet a suitable partner, and maybe—who knows—even find true love.

That dream takes her a long way off. This, before the doorbell rings.

 

shells of snails remain

the same 

our holiday homes too . . .

 

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