• The Feminist Times

Chai

This poem describes to us the towers of mental and physical abuse in the Indian society, built on the foundation of silence. Here I illustrate the sketch of how abuse makes its way through the structures of familial bonds. A mother who faces abuse by her in-laws and husband, doesn't report it or seek divorce for the sake of her child. Years and years of suffering and silence has metamorphosed her norms into a sinister nightmare, which has been internalised completely for the sake of survival. Now, when her daughter comes complaining of the same issues that she faces, the mother cannot offer any sort of comfort or resolution to her daughter as for her, this is normal and expected. And so,the abuse continues...


My mom calls me abnormal behind closed doors;

Doors that lead us to the depths of our psyche, and she can't reveal hers because she'll die.

She'll die of all the things she hid from herself Her dreams of playing for the Indian football team, the abuse from her in-laws, the back breaking labor she does at her home aside from her job.

Her only comfort? The morning chai she has, alone, after filling up all the bottles and vessels with the fresh running water that comes at about quarter to six.

She shoves and shoves and shoves down the garbage lane all the things that couldn't be said, or

that couldn't be heard.

So, she stopped speaking.

She had finally learnt, the meaning of those words. Those words, are like siege to her castle, like

Adam ate the apple, like watering down the

glue that sticks to the photos of the frame her

daughter made, decorated with glitter and

glimmering sequins...

And one day that girl comes complaining,

"I didn't like it when he touched me like that,

mumma. And he told me to keep it from you, too.

I'm scared."

"Shhh, shhh. Don't be scared bubba, shhh."

"But it hurts mumma, it hurts so much-"

"Aw, sweetheart, now don't be crying like that!

We don't want to look crazy, do we? Next time

it hurts, come to mumma.

I'll give you a hot cup of tea, it'll make the pain

go away."


- Bheenee


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