Malabika Ray Choudhury
The Woman In My Dream - Poem by Malabika Ray Choudhury
I wanted to be a Jane Austen -
Or Elizabeth, her favourite strong girl,
Or Kadambari - A poet's dream,
From Bengali Literature.
A few fearless women -
Debjani, and Gandhari, and Draupadi, from Indian classics,
But before anyone else,
I want to be the woman who appears in my dream!
Never went to school, she was not allowed,
Picked up any paper when sweeping the floor,
And read - she was warned women became widows if they read,
She was unstoppable!
She had ten kids - two still-births,
She cooked for thirty people every day, ate after she fed everyone,
Used old rags to make blankets, to keep children warm,
Prayed every day for everyone she knew
and for the universe.
My grandmother, and so many women like her,
Started a revolution, carried the torch,
Without realizing what they left for us,
What a burden they lifted for us!
Did they see us - the women of today
in the horizon?
The modern, liberated, emancipated women,
We are today,
We go to school, any school we wish to,
We choose to marry or not, choose who to marry,
We raise our children sometimes single-handedly,
We don't ask for money, we earn money,
We lead, we invent, we do miracles.
Sorry Jane Austen, I would rather be my Grandma's granddaughter,
Before Anyone else!
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