December 15, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

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Ankita Anand




The doer and the done upon



Since the day I sprawled on the floor

And was asked to sit “properly”,

I started carrying in me shame

That was not of my doing

But was contained in my being.


When a boy I didn’t know

Whispered foulness in my ears on the school playground,

I started making sure my loose shirts

Kept my chest as flat as it had felt that day,

In those seconds when the air inside me had frozen.


When the middle-aged bicycleman airkissed me

I pedalled hard, “Nonono but this is all a mistake

Doesn’t he see doesn’t he see how couldn’t he see

I am thirteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen?”

I learnt the roads do not carry my weight like I had thought; they weigh me down.


These, and a few more of such recollections,

And I could find a way to end the poem

But that is not the way to end a story

And that story has not ended

Because stories have character development.


How many things must be rotten in our Denmark

Where character develops in some

Because of the lack thereof in others

But what you’ve gotta do you’ve gotta do

And this is how the story has progressed.


When I went to Taekwondo class

And sat down to stretch my legs on both sides

As far as they could go, till they hurt, till much much after the hurt

And two girls stood with their feet against mine, silently promising me I won’t relent,

On that winter morning, the flame of pride in my thighs kept me warm.


When I named parts of my body

(That had started asking why I never spoke to them)

To tell wide-eyed men of the exact violations they had committed,

Which they insisted on being blissfully unaware of,

I discovered that my tongue and language could be allies if they spent enough time together.


When, out of sheer courtesy, I returned the gaze foisted upon me

And took my time to take in this bundle of nerves

That was fast turning to jelly,

I knew my eyes were street dogs who could fight on half-empty stomachs

Because every day they got pulled into games others played that were battles of survival for these “strays” who refused to be tamed.




The story goes on

In the hope that more characters develop, and even more evolve.

But before that I want to pause and listen to my body, which says

It wishes to unlearn the fear of what could be done to it,

It wants to show me everything it can do.







Ankita Anand

Ankita Anand’s writing has travelled through India, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Ireland, the US and the UK. She also facilitates writing workshops. An archive of her publications can be found here: anandankita.blogspot.in

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