The men
who considered me inferior to all men,
whistled at me in dark alleys,
harassed me in the comfort of crowds,
questioned my capabilities and credibility,
called me names behind my back;
I did not know those men.
Those men were not my own.

But those women I know…very well–
those women who never lost a chance
to remind me that I was a woman –
and that women are always the weaker gender.
Those women were my mother, sisters, aunts –
They questioned my values,my beliefs, my convictions,
my clothes – too short, or immodest;
Don’t you have a dupatta on you?
Why don’t you wear bangles or use vermillion?
You did not change your surname –
Are you ashamed to take your husband´s name?

These women are my own –
the women who put a veil on my voice
and told me that
women must always compromise.
You see, no woman can stay alone –
they must always have a man around –
to support, or….to guard them?
They explained to me passionately
why women may work outside the house,
but must not make that world their all.
Because good women –
they find their happiness
within the confines of their four walls.
A good woman
must never be heard, or seen.
Keeping their family fed and satisfied
their ultimate duty,
and to sacrifice their dreams and ambitions and talents
at the altar of this society´s whims –
their ultimate destiny – their salvation.

Why do women do this?
Why do they, like crabs,
pull down their own tribe,
so viciously, unfeelingly…unfailingly?
These rules were made by men
to keep the women confined to their bidding,
and they appointed women as guardians
to continue this tradition of inequality
of total subjugation.
Consciously and conscientiously,
women have complied –
I did it, so must you!

Why don’t the women change these rules?
Why not have the same questions
and same expectations
of the men too –
Where are going? Why?
What time will you be back?
And why don’t they say to their girls –
You are capable. You can achieve what you want,
accomplish what you will.
I will not let the chains that have bound me
shackle you anymore.
Go! Get your wings and fly –
I will fan the wind
that takes you to the pinnacles of success.
I will stand by you in your trials
and fight your wars with you.
And I will learn to breathe free,
while you dream your dreams,
and make this world you own.