And Silence Is What I Choose Poem by Unnikrishnan Sivasankara Menon

And Silence Is What I Choose

Rating: 4.9

He was as old as my grandfather and I, just twelve.
Marriage meant nothing to me, not even a new cheeram.
He lived in penance and I, just a little child, tended the aashram,
Never cared for, not even acknowledged of my existence.

Years of spring visited me, uncalled for, for life never bloomed
In the aashram. New yearnings of my body intrigued me.
He never cast even a glance though I longed for him to caress me
Kiss and fondle me, albeit with his wrinkled hands and quivering fingers.

Indra once visited us. His lustful smile and longing eyes haunted me.
I tried to ignore him though my heart went after his handsome roop.

I was elated when Gautama finally came to my talpa before one dawn
My happiness knew no bounds on his interest in my untouched body
Though I was worried about him missing his time for the holy ablutions
I wanted him in my bed all night, holding me in his old but strong arms.

A shout from the door woke me up from the trance. My husband!
From my talpa rose Indra; Gautama tore me apart by his words:
'You slut, how could you not discern this lecher's touch from mine? '
How Could I, for he had never touched me! I froze as a stone, in shame.

Away from Gautama's aashram, I lived in penance and stony silence.
Proved women could be tapaswins too. Came Ram looking for his wife,
His sage-like demeanor and compassionate words; my silence fell at his feet
Overwhelmed by his love for his wife. But that Ram died in my heart
The day I heard he ordered Sita to enter fire to prove her chastity.

Now he has abandoned her on the gossip that the child in her womb is of Ravan's.
Ram, thy name is Ravan. And silence is what I choose, Eternal Stony Silence!

Acknowledgement: The name of the poem and part of last line, 'And silence is what I choose' is borrowed from the poem 'Entitled' by Aarzoo Mehek.

The Story: This is the story of Ahalya, narrated in the Indian epic Ramayanam. Ahalya was given in marriage to Gautama Maharshi when she was a little child and he, very old. She grew up into a lady of impeccable beauty (the word ‘Ahalya' means just this) . Indra, the king of Gods happens to see her and uses all his charms to seduce her. She refuses. Finally, Indra comes to her disguised as her husband. Sage Gautama finds them in bed and curses both. On his curse, Ahalya turns into a statue of stone and she gets back to life after many years on the touch of Ram.

Ram, Sita, Ravan are the key characters of the great epic Ramayanam. The story goes that Ravan kidnapped Ram's wife Sita. Ram waged a fierce war, killed Ravan and his entire clan and rescued her. But, he asked her to take the test by fire (Agni Pareeksha) to prove her chastity, before he could accept her back as his wife. Sita comes out successful. They are anointed as the king and queen of Ayodhya.

I have given a different interpretation to the story of Ahalya in my poem.

Cheeram (sanskrit) = bark of trees used as dress by the penitents. Aashram(s) =penitentiary; where sages lived in olden days. Roop (s) =shape, body. Talpa (s) = bed. Tapaswin (s) = penitent.
Akhil Raveendran 27 October 2016

Your poem always try to keep some essence of Indian culture and try to spread good things in Sanskrit, teach us how to behave in this world with out losing inner goodness. good, thank you

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Unnikrishnan E S 28 October 2016

I am thankful to you, Akhil.

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Poet Magadha Rani has added this poem to her favourites. Thank you Dear Poet for this

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Saumya xoxo 09 March 2023

I honestly don't have words to say. I like how you viewed this from a different perspective. It is truly unique!

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What Indra committed on her was a rape, undoubtedly. For which, she cannot be punished. These intrigues finally took shape as this poem.

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Thank you. This story of Ahalya was narrated to me by my mother, when I was a little child. From that point, I was intrigued why she was punished, when she had committed no mistake.

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" Amber Piercy has added this poem to her favourites". Thank You, Amber. This one is a storyline borrowed from Indian epic Ramayanam

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Jim McGill 06 January 2023

For give me. I have very little exposure to Indian folklore. But, ordering Sita to enter fire to prove her chastity and then listening to gossip…I don't believe your silence will affect this guy. Maybe a good wallop will stop him from doing this. If you need help call me! Great poem.

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Thank you for this hilarious rejoinder. Obliged

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Thank You, Dear Poet Maria Mitea for adding this poem to "MyFavourites"

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Unnikrishnan Sivasankara Menon

Unnikrishnan Sivasankara Menon

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