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Sweta Srivastava Vikram


Sweta Srivastava Vikram



Summer stillness. Image credit - rgbstock.com




Bidaai

How can tears be celebrated,
I have often wondered.

At the time of bidaai
when the bride is told to walk
out the doors that had her back
for twenty plus years, leave for unknown walls,
confusion—the color of snot—
hangs in her braided hair filled with vermillion.

Does the pundit pour Ganga jal
to keep up with the bride’s tears
or to wash his own sins away?

Do her mother and aunties circle an aarti thaali
to ward off conspirators?
But they are the ones sending her away.

Mouth stuffed,
like the belly of a pregnant woman,
with laddoos, murmur stories, whisper prayers.

Can someone promise
the sacred thread around her wrist, mauli,
will not become her noose some day?

How can tears be celebrated,
I have often wondered.

Those Days

I remember polka dots
covering an actress’s chubby thighs.
Yes, thighs, not legs.
A child with milk teeth isn’t politically correct.

I was at the cinema,
with my parents and Bhaiya
watching Muqaddar Ka Sikandar,
holding samosas in my tiny palms.

Swinging my hips,
like the aunty on screen,
knowing no boundaries or limitations,
ogling at the leading man
with baby crush in my eyes,
I screamed: “Oh, Amitabh Bachchan, you are mine.”

Decades have passed
between my baby fat and lean today.
But when I reflect back,
I realize my body was most free
when I was a little over three.
But like a silk merchant,
those days won’t come back.

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