Oh Papa, when I was born Did you beam with pride and joy Or did you feel more weary For your duties had doubled and how?

Oh Papa, do you see me now?
All grown up
For oh, I am a woman now
Oh Papa, do I check them all?
The little boxes that make a woman good
I have the frame so tall
And the hair so long
I have the lashes black
And the lips full and round
With dainty fingers and
Soft coral nails
For that’s how I was supposed to be
Delicate and frail

Oh Papa, when I was born
Did you beam with pride and joy
Or did you feel more weary
For your duties had doubled and how?
Heavy were your days, and
They grew heavier still
As everyone handed you a box of rules
To keep me safe within

Oh, Papa, they could fill a galaxy
The boxes of rules were so plenty
The one of virtue and another of morals
And oh! so many other names
But the biggest of them all
Was the box of shame

The very next day you put me inside
And there it lived, shame, which seemed more like your child
Growing and feeding and nurtured by you
Till it became sentient.
Oh Papa, did you really think you were through?

You called all the shots and kept me in
Following every “ought to be”
You taught the right love was only for a man
For a woman is a woman if she breeds a family;
So I walked the line, and kept my head went down,
I performed the norm as my skin stretched out for miles
With your ideas of femininity.
Oh Papa, I really tried,
To be your little lady!

But the other called out to me
And that voice was soft and bright
Time stood still and on its galloping heels
The voice rode with a shining light
My eyes were down lest they should be burned
But my bones sang the voice of that other
And then you finally fell
As towards me, aghast, you ran
For oh Papa, the voice was not of a man.

She set fire to the boxes
As she took my hand
And as we danced in that burning galaxy;
Poor shame had nowhere to land.
So it sat on your head
But try as you might
Oh Papa, I did not lower my eyes.

Oh Papa, you should see me now
All grown up
My frame still tall and my hair still long
And the fingers remain dainty as ever
My blood is still red and my heart remains the same
But my head is now high,
As I dance with her in the rain.
If only you could look at the brightness
And cast the chains of shame aside
Oh Papa, you could see it
I have finally arrived.

This story was about: Gender Identities Parenting Sexuality

5 thoughts on “Arrival

  1. “Arrival” is a poem that speaks of a lot of things that are way beyond the capacity of words. It paints the picture of pain and plays the tune of love. It tells the tale of the imprisonment of the innocents and gives a voice to the ‘unheard’s. Societal cruelty, the vulnerability of a father who is loving yet afraid, the helplessness of a heart that loves but can’t find a way….all are woven intricately and beautifully like a tapestry of words. Most of all, this poem speaks about courage which lights a fire to fight the darkness. A bravado that makes your fallen soul get up and walk again you’re your bleeding feet and bruised soul. It speaks about the hope within the hopelessness, the light within the dark night, the pure and complete happiness of accepting you, as you are….accepting love as it is.
    I commend Anondita for this beautiful write-up and wish we’ll get to read more from her.

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I am not a writer, just someone who is an enthusiast of the powerful almost magical beauty of words. I did a Masters in Literature from Jadavpur University. My veins are almost 70℅ caffeine and I'm forever interested in finding the best coffee in town. By profession I am a banker. When not working I'm trying to learn better social skills or just bake cupcakes endlessly.

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