THE VILLAGE GIRL

Not are the stars for me,
Not the world for me to see,
Not meant for me are the small joys of life,
My life is just full of strife,
My brother has the right to go to school,
While I sit at home,learn to handle utensils and wool,
Educating myself is beyond my bounds,
No games,no sports, no playgrounds,
The kitchen remains my only ground,
Where I learn to cook,grind and pound,
The various spices and corns
And take care of the animals and farms.

I have my food when my brother returns,
Even though the acids cause my stomach burn,
I can eat only after he has satiated his hunger,
Then thus come my turn , my number,
The milk at home is all for him,
The butter, the curds and the cream,
He has the right to pursue his dreams,
While I am not even allowed to daydream,
He can anytime pull my plaits,
When I stoop down to clear his plates,
Though younger to me he always slaps
Me and I cannot even go and cry in Maa’s lap.

He is the apple of everyone’s eyes,
He is the family’s pride and exhibited as a prize,
While I too a child crave for their love,
To a corner I get a shove,
I am treated as not their own, 
As if I came from somewhere else,unknown,
Grandparents talk of me as a curse,
To all my goodness,they are averse, 
I am a temporary being in this home,
To be sent away forever,someone burdensome,
They do not know I am a part of them,have their genome,
Or that one day I will be gone,never again to come.

At fourteen or fifteen,
Barely into my teens,
I am married off to some stranger, 
He will be my master,my destiny changer,
My God, my life’s manager,
As I take care of his hearth,farms and mangers,
I will be beaten black and blue, 
If ever some dreams in my eyes brew,
Even though a child, I will be required to fulfil his urges,
Pained,weak,bloodless I grow,yet be branded worthless,
One day the child in me conceives another child,
I pass my days in a daze, beguiled.

I am made to work and labour still,
To cook,wash,clean and till,
As months progress,I pale and wane,
When I fail to work,I bear the canes,
With loads of work and frugal meals,
Noone lends an ear to my mercy appeals,
One sunny day I fall and faint,
The comforts of a hospital ain’t
For me,the village midwife arrives late,
Bleeding,with a dry mouth and fast breaths I wait,
Only to give birth to a stillborn;
And before long I too was gone.

With noone to cry for me,
Noone to mourn me,
I was the village girl,
Who wanted to dance and swirl,
Who wanted to decorate her dreams with pearls,
Wanted to roam the world in a whirl,
Who wanted to learn to read and write,
But was refused all her rights,
She was never a child for her own,
They could never hear her cries and moans,
My dreams,my joys,my tears,my aims all burn with me,
All turned to ashes; None to feel sad,shed tears for me!!

– Madhumita 

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