Saturday, March 28

Women's Day Part 2- Parbhavatiya

To Parbhavitya, who never got a chance or a way out.


Parbhavatiya lived
In the neighborhood
No one knew and
Where she came from
Or for that matter
Where was she headed?

There were these
Small stories
Doing the rounds
About her whereabouts
That we whispered
To each other
During load shedding,
Pitch dark
Ghost story time.

Some said
Parbhavatiya
Came from Far East
Half woman, half beast
Her husband
Sent her away
she stared, too hard
And to his dismay
Sat, howling
dog like
During the
coupling

Others said
There were mouths
To be fed
And her mother
Sold her, for boiled rice
And Parbhavatiya
Cheat, crook
Ran, did not
Pay the price

So she went about
In the neighborhood
Never to blend
Drank and smoke
and ran small errands
she jutted out like
“peepal tree”
On a white wall
Hideous, Insouciant
But free.

Left to her senses
She was honest
Trimmed the grass
Cut the logs
Threw the rubbish
And took what was due
It was only on
Provocation
That you saw
Her animal
Variation

When the sweeper
In alcoholic stupor
Proposed
To marry her
She spat
At this suitor
And he called
Her a witch
a whore

And so we
Trailed
Parbhavatiya
Calling her
Randi, randi
Deafening
Till she
Got drunk
Wore
Her sari
Like a lungi
Around the waist
Not bothered
to cover her
Midriff, torso
And her breast that
Hung loose
Inside her
Blouse
What’s left to cover?
When so much
Exposed
Up for grabs.

She sat
In a deserted house
Drinking
Abusing
She wasn’t a randi
And they will
All burn in hell
The men who letched
And the men who
Pretended not to
And women who turned
Their heads in shame
At her sight
Could not get by
Without her
And
And she drank
Some more
And threw stones
At homes
From the deserted house

For the next few days
She fell out of favor
Till people forgot
Her venom
And spit
And then she came
Around
Sheepishly
Looking for odd jobs
The women
Wordlessly obliged
The grass needed trimming
After all.

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