Archita Savarnya

Reducing my voice to 29 decibels, 31 less than the normal to be naturally soft spoken.

Combing every day to straighten the unusual dreams trapped in the curls of my hair,

Wearing a shapewear to fit my curves in the narrow eyes of the idea of beauty,

Keeping the legs shut to cue the visitors that they are not welcome and nobody’s home,

And when they knock still,

I lock the doors and run to hide in the wardrobe among the cosmetics and the clothes.


Clothes never worn, clothes worn and torn,

Sometimes by the nail on the bus seat and sometimes by the fingernail of the man on the bus.

Foundations to lighten the darker shades of my face,

And concealers to darken the lighter comments made by them,

Calm down, shut up, mind your own business, where’s the morning tea, let the men work, 

Marry its your age, have a child the clock’s ticking, be the pride of your family’s ego, 

Be the shame if you go against, makeup to look pretty, less makeup to look natural, 

Stay home, what are you saying? Empowered Women? What are they? 

Ghosts are more real!


And yes they were and they searched me, chased me, ordered me and pleaded me out, while I hid in the wardrobe,

Perhaps, they knew that fear is a two edged knife, if it cuts me in it will bleed them out.


It’s said that when you are surrounded by the same thing always, you become it, 

and over time, I got drowned in my own tears and became the water,

which takes the shape of the object it is in, 

and I, now have become the wardrobe.

Ask me what you need, and I will be the genie granting your rights to you.


I will hand you over the shortest of gowns to flaunt the scars on your thighs,

and the longest of shorts to match the length of time society takes to form perceptions.

I will hand you over the mascara darker than the smears on your character to rewrite the choices you have made,

and lipstick, redder than the period stains to scratch out the excuses disguised as your mood swings.

I will hand you over scissors, to cut one strand of hair, use them as strings to tie the hands that  pulled them someday,

and your gender free from the shackles of your birth certificate or your body hair.


I will stack on my shelves all the handovers you have gone through,

When the nurse handed you over as a bad news,

When the parents handed you over as a liability,

When the in laws handed you over as their earnings,

When the husband handed you over as his inheritance,

When the children handed you over as their birthright.

When the society handed you over as its insignificant part,


I will stack on my highest shelf, behind the mirror, all the handovers you have gone through,

And I will hand you over back to yourself. 

1 comment

  • This is true poetry— powerful in delivering its message for society and written so meticulously!


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