Not Chaste At All - Poem by Prathibha Nandakumar
If it were really a spiritual deal
I would have made a pot out of dry sand
and filled it with water like the mahasati Renuke
and scrapped dirt off my thighs like Parvathi and made
a Ganesha to stand on guard while I go bathing
like a chaste woman.
Oh they scare you hell with stories of woman who
were sent to hell or died a tragic death eaten by the ants or
punished by the god of virtue for breaking the rule
the chaste does not desire a man other than her husband
They have any number of instances to guide you
Like Savitri who won over death just by her talks
or like Shakku who carried her sick husband in a basket
to his paramour and waited for him to finish.
Have you ever wondered why its always only the
Chaste who are chased by the lusty ruffians?
Listening to all that day in and out one gets very
dirty and I came here to bath in this clear waters
to wash away the sweat and lathering myself in scented
soaps like in the ads and cleaning all my senses
called out `oh come on, you, one and all
come find your nirvana in my valleys and curves'.
The gods went crazy. Couldn’t turn me into stone or
curse me to become a flesh eating worm.
They couldnt even stop my pen writing
divine songs in perfect meter and rhyme
And the death penalty?
Well, let’s face it when we come to it. Ha.
Translated from Kannada by the poet
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