Prayer of the Unsung Hero – Raji Narasimhan

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My yoke is heavy- Lord help me bear
My fountain is but a trickle; help me endure
I was promised a world of equality
But that was before my gender was decided.
The world I was born into, was not which I bargained for:
Just or not, I carry on;
My link with you; my only solace.

I was given education, my stream chosen by a man named Father.
My mother taught me all I need to know in this world,
Only enough to tend to a family-
I can’t blame her, for that was what she knew.
My career I left, to raise a family.
To play second fiddle to a man named Husband.
I was quite ‘blessed’ with children – two girls.
One, because I was married
The other to keep her company.
“But not a boy?” they said
I was spared the man named Son.

I learned to play my Role
I learned to ‘stand and wait’.

Dear Lord, my daughters have grown,
And fight the battle I dared not try.
My conscience was stained with tainted voices.
But I kept theirs clean.

My very own questions are raised to me:
“But Ma, Why must I”
They choose their books and their work.
Their life they plan and its meaning they search.
One doesn’t want a husband
The other doesn’t want a child.
What can be done? I asked myself
And the answer came
“Whats the use of choices, if it can’t be made?”
So they choose,
May fall,
And in this all,
They learn to break the fall.
They are the heroes of today that join the race
And fight for their place.
Dear Lord, did I fall behind?

Tradition they used, to bind my feet.
A five yard saree, plaited hair, bindi, bangles and chains adorned,
I was forced to conform.
And the ladle replaced the pen,
But all they could break was the Shell
The Spirit remains intact.
For it was I who raised these Heroes, these free thinking minds
Who learned to break the shackles
And may find a way to fly.
For far too land I’ve been told what I ought to do,
Now I rejoice in my daughters’ freedom
To choose both bad and good.

I thankyou for the strength to endure a passive existence
I thankyou for the courage to face a bleak future
I thankyou for the calm that spoke my silence.
I thankyou for the judgement to choose your law above man’s
And I thankyou my Maker for
My Spirit that could withstand my Life.

7 COMMENTS

  1. A very moving piece. May all girls have the courage to fight the oppressive norms which shackle their existence.

  2. This poem trumpets the voice of the voiceless, kindling the emotions of womanhood. the spirit to win the never-ending race that is inherent in women is beautifully wrought by the poetess. Congrats Raji!!!

  3. women’s freedom and liberation is all bull shit…if married women are free to have extra marital affairs, is it freedom? have to think what is liberation!  if women can cheat their husband and still justify it, is it freedom? if married women can have rave sex with boys, is that freedom! SELF DISCIPLINE is very important….focussing on the liberation, (few)women these days have started going on a rampage seeking love and sex outside marriage—such women will pay their price one day! THE JUDGEMENT DAY WILL COME SOONER OR LATER!

  4. To Miss Madhumitha,

    The topic on women’s freedom and liberation cannot be treated with such typical cynicism. Women across the world suffer not one but many inequalities due to gender. So called vices that men pursue – sexual pleasure outside marriage (prostitutes, massage centers, other female companionships), drinking, smoking, drugs are treated with much ignorance in the pathetic “society” that we yearn to be a part off, in good measure, while the women suffer in silence. Nevertheless the women today too have their share of fun.

    I’d like to conclude by saying “Its each to his own”… Everyone has their own story. And we should respect it. 

    I wish you a broad open mind and an awareness of various cultural and societal advances in today’s world. There’s more to this than you have very certainly assumed.

    Sincerely,
    Sharan

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