Mythili

She urges to write.
She lays out the paper,
Freshly sharpened pencils
Blue bottled ink
Fancy pens of a writer
She expects me to write…

I stare at the blank sheet
Starts with the pencil
The nib breaks.
I smudge the powdery lead across

Dark, curved
Like the kanmashi along her eyes.

Mythili, named after Sita
the Princess of Mithila.
She is far from the same standing
So they tar her name
Yet, they crave for a touch
A look, a smile.
She gives, generously.
They set everything a price.

She can’t be known by her name
She’s known by her profession
They can’t sully the name of Sita.
Her name, a mere folly of her parents
Aspirations never to be fulfilled
Like the land where her little house stands,
It will never be hers
Owned by the janmi,
Her life too.

She pays for it all, whenever he pleases
As the sun goes down
When the sky darkens, akin to her skin
Her door stays open
No one asks, they just take
Her fate was drawn the day she was born
Daughter to the earth, sullied to create new.
Man uses and never returns.

There is no agnipareeksha for her
Nothing to be proved
They’ve made up their mind
Life remains the same for her
Youth provides
The same for her daughter
And for hers.

There is a certain hierarchy
Set in stone, it takes years to erode
It may be faint, but ever present.
Man may learn not to judge,
Not to judge by her name, colour
Or even kudumba mahima
Until that dawn Mythili,
Your fate is unchanged.

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Mythili