The Way you Raised Me


Yamini Parashar is pursuing her BA from Delhi university. She likes to write poems and observe things and is concerned with social issues. She identifies herself as a feminist and sees herself as a clinical psychologist in a few years. She’s been a part of a few poetry programmes held in her city.

The Way you Raised Me

Selflessness is her birthmark
Suppressing herself is her strength
And suffering is an obligation
And they say
“We gave you every right and equality”
But did you ever think of my freedom
When you cut my wings when I want to fly?
You shut my doors with your false perceptions
When I wanted to see the world with my eyes.
When you should have worried about my education
You worried about saving money for my marriage.
You labelled me as a slut
And characterless
Because I did not abide with the norms of your home.
I didn’t want to marry at 20
But that was everyone’s wish
But I will oppose it
I wish to live for myself first.
I did not want to buy those expressive sarees
Nor do I want to make love to bring children.
I’m living the life you created for me
But don’t stop me from living my life.
Marriage is not what I aspire for
But I intend to lessen your pain in your old age
Bringing back life into those who left it far behind
I do not wish to see myself turned into a commodity
And being sold in the hands of a business ally
Turning that sweat and blood of yours to be given away to a stranger
Calling it dowry
I do not want you to be over-burdened with the fear of marrying me into a family.
They say
“A girl should not come back to her maternal home after getting married.”
But tell me, how do I make a home out of strangers?
Be an example of sacrifice and fulfil demands?
Accept the way they want to treat me?
How do I justify myself burning into ashes there
Hiding under the veil
Because you said that a girl should not talk too much in front of her new family?
You said, “They are your new parents and this is your new home.”
But how do I make a home where everyone is unknown
Where I’m a servant by day
And am forced to make love at night
With a stranger with whom I share my bed?
If you believed that one should not let anyone overpower and take away someone’s dignity
I could have stood up for myself.
If my mother hadn’t been so immune
To the scars and scratches of my childhood
That turned into questions and doubts and insecurities and hostility
I would have stood up for myself,
Not wanting to, again,
Be loved by someone whom I barely know
Or have children raised in perpetuated patriarchy
To embodying those norms once again.
What I wished to do
Nobody bothered to listen
Silent were my cries
And dry were my tears.
All I wanted was to be a son to my father
To take every responsibility for my parent’s wrinkled skin and be a shoulder for their tired souls.


Opinions expressed are of the writer.


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