Quotidian

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Humming a half-chewed
Part eschewed
Hastily rewritten
Version of ‘Zehnaseeb’,
I am waiting at the bus stop –
Now 20 minutes and counting;
My patience is floundering,
It’s like time has stopped for me.
Why, it’s with recurring, insipid and
Unguarded jealousy,
That I watch the little people hop
Into their little taxis
That come, that go,
That go, that come,
While, all the while,
My unsteady fingers
Steadily drum,
And a deft foot taps
Left, then right,
While idle thumbs twiddle
Verbosity alight,
And oh!
There I see
The bus  my bus
Merrily making its way,
With the torturous velocity
Of an ignoramus, unambitious snail…
Ah finally! It has stopped 
To let the passengers go;
Tedious and slow,
As they clench within them,
An unhidden, unbidden desire
To push against
The damn viscous flow,
And, oh no 
Aboard, there still are,
Two lost foreign souls
Talking with an equally lost driver
(Who’s desperate to return
To looking bored)
And I?
With an inward sigh, I shake my head
And brave my left foot before right,
To become the First Person on the Bus 
First  since some 30 minutes ago,
The First Woman, actually
(Because, somehow, it matters more)
And so,
The rest of the people,
Now undaunted and properly sheepled,
Step in too;
Unceremoniously hinting a good-bye
To the poor lost foreign souls

– Akanksha Gupta

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STRUGGLE

 

I hate the way you make me walk
I halt in my steps with you

I hate the way you make me talk
I halt in my words with you

I hate the way you stalk my way
How much ever I ask you to stop

I hate the way you hog my words
And overtake the dialogue

So stop alright and let me be
Free of the restrictions we placed on me

And stop tonight and let my dreams
Taste the sweetness of reality

That I may carve myself a path
That cleaves and wrenches my fears apart

That I may clench within my soul
The infinite sunshine of the world

– Akanksha Gupta (poem only)

Stripping Feminism Bare

Look at me

I am your muse

I am your visceral expression

My eyes are frozen like shards of glass

My hair is billowing bold in the breeze

I lean in, sighing, as you lightly

Claw and caress my sun kissed cheeks

Just let yourself reign over me

Between us there is no privacy

Yet for the show and society

You seek that which is yours to give

And in frustration I bite my lips

Now blood is splattered, embalming them

Your desperate fingers wield cloying red

Hah, the blood is on your hands!

But worry not, my lips are sealed

Subtly curved and gleaming still

Oh, are you smiling back at me?

Yes, oh yes, think happy thoughts

Come closer and fear not

My back is rolled, my head is lolled

My eyes are purring

At you

I am the predator in the wild

And in your heart I am a muse

But tis the pure and simple truth

That you are me and I am you

Caged, dormant and demanding

And no, I cannot be mocking me

I’m just waiting to be free

Let me out and in the night

We shall bathe in soft moonlight

Then come morning we shall dance

Fear not and take the chance

Come near and set me free

We shall, as the morning glories,

Bloom, a man from within a woman

Or a woman from within every man

Devastating duality, shades of gray

Precariously balancing the yin and the yang

– Akanksha Gupta

BLAME ME NOT; THE DOG ATE THE WORK

Life is full of ironies

And paradoxes

And contradictions

But you can never be wrong

You always have

Justifications and excuses

Especially if

You’re an Indian citizen

And believe me

I’m not alone

In being severe upon my nation

And cynical when I say

That perhaps we are

Born this way

Didn’t you know?

The Great Indian Government

Is a pro

At this blame game

Why, the other day

Mamata Didi did say

“When men and women

More freely interact

Increase in rape

Is an inescapable fact”

And for those unaware

She is the democratically-elected CM

Of an Indian state

That claims zero-tolerance for rape

No wonder regarding crimes against women

It features as the hottest destination

But wait!

There has to be an opposition

That must say something to dilute

The incumbent party’s explanation

Enter the conservative right wingers

And enlightened Acharyajees

“Oh no, Mamata didi,

It is not that the two genders

Never mingled earlier

It is the influence

Of the Haram Western culture!”

And that apparently says it all

After all,

Wherever else shall the blame fall?

Heaven and Earth,

The shades of  the Desi culture

Have never thus been polluted before!

Oh do ask these enlightened ascetic souls –

From where did the sculpted erotica,

Of Khajuraho and Elephanta

Emerge in the bygone era’s

Temple Architecture?!

Hah, without a doubt

The infallibly virtuous Indian culture

Which has always upheld the façade

Of such ‘family values and honor’

That crimes hid behind the veils

Of silently suffering females

Need I say more?

Oh yes, the NCR,

Whose police says with nonchalance,

“‘Immodest’ wardrobe and inebriation

Bar-tending and late-night shifts

Are all equivalent to prostitution”

You see, this is the insignia

Of an efficient administration

That has redefined feminism

To such an extent and context

That despite being under-reported

And despite victims oft being indicted

The NCR stands in unabashed glory

Of being the highest scorer

In the Indian Rape Story

– Akanksha Gupta