So another Women’s Day rolls by. This year, this month, I think it fitting to celebrate the feminists in my life who are special to me, and who inspire me in different ways, at different moments of the year. The past month has been particularly significant for me in terms of the writing of two women in my family, and this post celebrates the sis-in-law, who is also friend, feminista and fun. Some time down the line I’ll write about the mother, who is a little difficult to describe in words, which is why I need more time to mull over her. chuckle.
Anindita won the Toto Funds The Arts (TFA) award for creative writing last month in Bangalore. Both awards in this section went to Bongs in Bengaluru, which is interesting enough in itself, but even more so, as Ani - and the rest of us - saw it, was that the award was presented by Amitav Ghosh. Now if that isn’t a matter for joint celebration and collective swooning, I don’t know what is. :-)
Anindita’s poetry is archived at her poetry blog, but here’s a taste of her crisp craftsmanship. I chose this one because it speaks of a woman with a history and a future different from ours, of a woman who “bears the hollows in deep places”. Women’s Day is about celebration, but it is also about consciousness, that sharp poet’s eye for life - for a woman’s living - that can otherwise pass us by in a mundane flurry. Thank you for that watchfulness, and your own, bright, particular voice, Ani.
the migrant’s wife
when the wind comes down from the hills
and palm trees fling their leaves about
like Sufi saints stepped off the edge,
she lies on a mat on the floor,
and listens to coconuts falling on the roof
like tough-shelled meteors.
in her, quiet,
is the cry of marauding elephants
grey. heavy. it flattens her.
Parvati, woman of the foothills,
woman of hard hands and bright teeth,
woman who endlessly waits.
woman whose waiting is a wound
that will not let skin
close over it
a wound full of tree, grass, rain
and the smell of mud
woman who bears the hollows in deep places
but feels herself break
with the slow burn, the stench in the night
of things growing old.