Warrior, Not a Bride
I turned and twisted lying on my bed late in the night.
Mother sleep was far away from my sight.
The mattress seemed to be full of thorns and spikes;
Thousands of them piercing my body, and giving a pain it dislikes.
Daddy says night is the time of demons because angels sleep,
But I couldn’t; all I could do was remember something and weep.
I remember how someone followed me today.
I also remember how my dupatta was pulled away.
He laughed as I spoke of a police complaint.
He threatened me then, reminding me his fathers name.
A poor man with absolutely nothing, but power and money.
With no true relations, just bitter talks coated with honey.
He spoke of you Daddy, with his filthy tongue.
Then and There I wanted to tie a rope around his neck and see him hung.
And I swear I never felt it before this moment.
Not even when he laid his greedy eyes on me, and threw at me his comment.
I looked into his eyes and saw the beast.
I knew how to tame it, or how to break it atleast.
But I walked away, I walked till my feet ached and the wind became chillier than ice.
I also felt the warm droplets on my face that were leaving my eyes.
I remember Daddy, once you spoke of that uniform and that army life-
How desperate you were about it, and the rejection you felt was more painful than a knife.
I sit quietly on my bed and try to calm the storm inside me.
“It’s only till the results are out, till then just let it be.”
But you see Daddy,
I wasn’t scared for myself; I was scared for you.
Because you are my love, and this feeling is just so true.
I cannot think of anything terrible happening,
Because I exist along with you, else am nothing.
Daddy, these tears aren’t because a random guy looked at me with lust.
They are betraying me because he was the same guy who also broke my trust.
Daddy, he felt so genuine and nice when we first met.
If someone had told me then about the real him,
I would’ve laughed at their faces, I bet.
We met again, and he asked me out on an official date.
We exchanged numbers and used to chat all night late.
I could sense him nearby whenever I was in trouble.
He became my anchor and I kept on drowning in a world made of bubble.
Everything was a dream come true as he promised me a future together soon.
We stepped in his house, he lifted me in his arms and carried me to his room.
He planted a kiss on my lips and I reminded him to stay away.
He called me a bore and angrily turned his back to me as we lay.
He said I didn’t love him, and now I realise it was just a bait.
How could I prove it, and he suggested possibly we could mate.
I denied ,knowing the result could be deadly.
He insisted, forced actually; and I gave in, sadly.
It wasn’t as beautiful as the movies show it.
I felt for the first time, that movies reveal realities bit by bit.
It was over in an hour; that we didn’t make love was my first realisation.
It was sex, he feasted on my body with no love and passion.
We dressed and I told him I wasn’t going to prove myself ever again.
He smirked and said lets talk about a healthy bargain.
I reminded him of my exam and told him he had been too unkind.
He patted my head saying ‘You are a girl and you always need a man behind.’
I saw his eyes; he didn’t look at me with love; the feeling had changed to lust.
I pushed him away as he got close again, and that moment he hit me and broke my trust.
He saw in me nothing more than an object that could give him pleasure.
I am your respect Daddy, bearing the sight of him playing with it was out of measure.
But you see Daddy ,
I never told you but I always wanted to be your pride.
Yes, I am a girl but i am a warrior, not a bride.
I know there is a friend of yours whose son is a Major.
But trust your daughter Daddy, she’s not mere beam of light, she’s laser.
I rose my hand for the first time in my life, and then another.
I kicked and threw at him whatever I could find, altogether.
He was taken aback by the aggression and told me it wasn’t over.
I was wrong Daddy, he did fall far deeper than what I thought he would.
He started hurting me more than he could.
He thought I’d return to him as I stood nowhere in a world of power.
I knew my path was tough, but I had something with me my Daddy, like a tower.
Tomorrow I shall know whether it was worth all the fight in the end.
I was desperate as this was the only way my soul could mend.
I turned again and it was difficult to take every single breath.
Tomorrow is the day that could make me Daddy’s pride or wreath.
I feel cold and its dark, so I desperately need your hug, Daddy.
“Haven’t been an army woman and yet so stubborn? How long are you going to take? Now come here, my baby.”
I walk up to his bed and he opens his arms and prepares the base.
I lie in our little world and as he closes his arms and I know I have reached the safest place.
I shout at Daddy asking why didn’t he wake me up early, and now it’s noon.
He asks softly how could he miss watching a sleeping moon.
I blush and kiss his wrinkled cheek.
He hands me today’s newspaper and my heart once again becomes meek.
‘Daughter of Kumaon, Shilpi has been selected in the army and we are proud of her.’-
The headline reads so; I smile and looked at my Daddy with a vision that is blur;
With tears dripping like water from a tap with leaking connection,
I see his eyes betraying his control, and together we weep in unison.
Two weeks later, before joining, I find a letter at my door.
Someone asks forgiveness and says he had lost his mind before.
Someone who now knows it wasn’t lust but love that just desired for more.
Someone who expects me to drop my idea of army, and he would come with a ring as he swore.
Daddy rests his hand on my shoulder and says it is my decision.
He says he is proud of me and now I have to make a choice with precision.
I know the answer; there is absolutely no choice to make.
It is my dream one side and the other, the man who loved or loathed me for his heart’s sake.
But you see Daddy,
I know that in real I do have a choice.
Now I always listen to my inner voice.
I could be his princess or your warrior.
The choice between a beast and the all-time saviour.
The decision is made and I walk out of this house as a free soul.
I wave a goodbye at the person who sank my spirit deep in a hole.
I tell I forgive him, and he says sorry again.
He speaks about love and cries in vain.
I pity him, but I cannot love him and it isn’t just his fault.
I have been robbed by the same man, and now I am left with an empty vault.
I have nothing to give him but blessing.
He says he wants me or nothing.
I tell myself it’s time to walk, now or never.
And Daddy, I raise my head up, and walk towards a world that was our dream forever.
By Apoorva Bora
(Edited by Soumya Chakraborty)
Image Source: flickr.com