“Arrey! Badi sundar ho gaye hai, //Wow, you’ve become so beautiful
Itni lambi, itni gori – //So tall, so fair –
London se aaye hai na! //Because you’re back from London!
Khana banana seekh ke aaye hai? //Have you learnt how to cook?
You’ll get a very good husband –
A rich, handsome doctor!
And he’ll be lucky to call you his wife”
Dear Indian Aunties,
I didn’t go to “Lun-dun”
For the lack of sun
I have better things to do
Than cook you Gobi-Aloo
If the rich, handsome doctor doesn’t respect me,
I will respectfully say *screw you* – ji
The person with whom I choose to spend the rest of my life
Will be good – kind, humble, smart – and will know better than to introduce me as “wife”.
I have a name, will have my own degree
And this “doctor” might end up working for me – if he’s lucky.
“Hai! Log kya kahenge – who will make you their bahu?!” //OMG, what will people say?
Dear Indian Aunties,
Its not society – its you.
You say it’s a man’s world but do you know why?
Because you teach your daughters to cover up while your sons learn to fly!
How can we make hay while the sun shines
When our skin colour is the only thing that defines
What we are worth
Fate decided at birth –
Can you not see
While you promote fair and lovely,
And thousands like her
Trying to impress future grooms
Are locked in their bathrooms
Trying to scrub away the brown
Till their tears are drowned
In a soapy sink
Vain to the dark ink
That writes their naseeb //That writes their destiny
Ameer ho ya gareeb, //Rich or poor
She will buy fairness cream
On a monthly installment scheme
Lipstick and eye liner,
Sarees – designer,
To show off her figure,
That’s obviously the trigger
For men to do whatever they see fit,
She’s asking for it,
The supreme court’s ruled.
But Aunty, don’t be fooled
Her smile is a costume
Trapping her back in that bathroom
Trying to scrub away her culture
Replicate some media-made sculpture
Tightening all of her shirts
Shortening all of her skirts
Ripping holes in all of her sweaters,
Writing suicide letters.
Take a look around –
She has thoughts profound,
The ability to make her own sound,
Dreams lifting from the ground,
Dreams that will one day resound
With all those who surround,
And your only concern is that her rotis are not round.
So please listen and understand, dear aunt,
The only thing my brothers can do that my sisters can’t
Is stand up to take a piss,
But this is my only wish –
That we stand up.
Dear Indian Women,
Stand Up! Get mad, make a fuss,
This is not something that will be handed to us,
This is something that we have to do.
Dear Precious Little Indian Girls,
This one’s for you.
By Dimple Gulrajani