Poem: From Bindi With Love

Artwork by Alafiya Hasan

Kurla Station
The sun is high
My skin is dirty.
Right at the centre
Of my head
A piece of adhesive
Of the colour red.
The scream of a woman –
“Chakka hai ki ladki?”
Her spectacled eyes
Upon my bindi.
Her anger ends
Where my fear begins,
A frown stretches
Across her skin,
One heartbeat
I look up and see,
All of the eyes
Staring back at me.
Two heartbeats
I walk in a daze
Short of breath
Heart in a craze,
Three heartbeats
Platform number one
Four Heartbeats
The train waits for none
Five Heartbeats
Am I afraid?
Six Heartbeats
Of what she said?
Seven Heartbeats
Eight heartbeats
You can’t wear a Bindi
You’re a man,
You can’t wear Kajal
You’re a man
You can’t wear pink
You’re a man
You can’t take no
You’re a man.
All these borders
Lines on my body,
So that I can fit
With every-body.
Yet, here I am
Bindi Clad
Laughing at those
Whom I make mad.
And so what if
Kurla had me beat,
At least by Mankhurd
I got a seat.

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