Poems ::
Prakriti Parth

To Desire Is To Be A Woman

They taught it in my graduation. “Hayavadana” by Girish Karnad. Two men fall in love with the same woman and the woman finds her perfect match accidentally/intentionally. A comedy that ends in a tragedy. But where was the tragedy?

Padamini. I still remember her name. We made all kinds of jokes. Hailed her our hero. Revelled in all kinds of mockery. And why not? She got the best of both worlds. What a sorceress! After all, a woman deserves all the pleasures of life too, entitled to all the emotions: love, lust, greed, power, ambition, happiness, saturation.
I was twenty then.

I don’t own that copy of the text anymore. It got lost somewhere while shifting homes.
I brought most of my books with me, except those that can jeopardize my marriage.
My partner loves to read as well. We have huge shelves stretching over the walls of our living room.

It’s our “prized possession”, we say. You see those big mountain-green chairs by the shelves? Yeah, that!
where we usually spend our Sunday afternoons.

What am I reading right now?

Germaine Greer.

Of course, I’m a feminist. I’m surprised that you had to ask.

So I was saying, my partner and I love to read. Ah, about the Hayavadana text.. yeah, so it got lost while
shifting homes, like I told you, among other books I guess. My mum’s really careless when it comes to
preservation of books. It’s one of the things I dislike about her. I wish she had the same passions as I do.

Khaled Hosseini wrote: Like a compass’s needle always facing North, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman.
But before it could find me, I found him. In the hotel lobby, moving towards me. A familiar face with an unfamiliar air. His eyes squinted and so did mine. We were both trying to find something which could testify that it’s really who we are thinking. We slowed our pace as we came closer to each other, standing face to face in the middle of the lobby.

It seemed like nothing had changed. In the quiet of the hotel room, I knew him once again. Memories
flushed in. His neck, his shoulders, his skin. I was familiar with it. I didn’t need to think. I knew every
step: held on to his arms, had his ass in my grip, locked his neck between my legs and watched him in
the eye. It was worth the fuss.

There were moments that felt like old times but he surprised me infrequently. It felt like playing on the
home ground, to return to your old kitchen where you know where the salt and sugar is.

I’m thirty-two now, and I don’t mock Padmini anymore. I believe I know her: to have the comfort of a
home along with an acquaintance to the outer world. To share your passions with your partner and
having the person your body desires at a call. To be plucked in the spring and watered in the autumn
and heated in the summer. It’s not difficult if you think.

Last night I went out to light a cigarette and asked myself whether I’d be happy if I got both in the same man? An ideal woman would say “yes”. But honestly, I don’t know. I have not experienced it and I don’t know if I can get it all in one, would it still suffice?

I can’t recall where I read it but someone compared a woman to an ocean. With endless depths and only the surface known to man. I guess they were right. The endless depths are the unexplored desires of a woman. Thousands of kilometres beneath the sea level, where lesser known lives reside, where the sunlight doesn’t reach, which is still a secret to humankind.

But these desires don’t thrive much. It’s cancerous to others and is often abandoned before they reach their prime.
Like every other woman who lets her desire to surface in the world, Padmini too, met her unfortunate
fate. And people say, it is justified.

The Road That Leads Home

The road that leads home is awry.
You stop at the turns to look:
“Where did it all go wrong?” “What did I miss?”
The insides of home smell of loathing.
There’s rain all year long
A winter without festivities
And a sun without flowers.
The roof has a hole in it.

The road that leads home is broken.
The ashes in the fireplace have lost the heat
Covered in the enigma of those who live.
The men and women have turned into cold storages
Preserving the carcasses of those who could not escape.
Luckily, you did.

The road that leads home has no street lights.
The dusty shelves holding the cold, melted candles no more light your way.
Burn the carpets. That might help .
The vice has a separate room.
In the adjacent one, rebellion committed suicide.
The flogs stand silent in a niche.
No more disciples to mend. The chair sits cold.

The road that leads home is covered in sand.
It doesn’t matter whether you move away or closer
Your feet keep sinking.
The wind rubs against your skin and now you’re wide awake
Not decided whether to leave or stay
Because the road still leads home,
Except you know it’s not home.

Prakriti Parth is a feminist, a poet and a translator.
She can be contacted at prakritiparth04@gmail.com .

Categorized in: