Are you afraid of the dark?

By Divya Mondal

My mother's greatest fear
Was her child's body.
Her paranoia about the length of my skirt
Made me stop wearing them
Ever since the age of 10.
My long legs
Were the subject of dread,
My cleavage
A source of constant terror,
My uncovered skin
Could get me raped
By poor men who can't control themselves
Like beasts
At the sight of raw meat.

My mother sought to fight her fear
With long sleeves
And shapeless kurtas,
Putting a dupatta
Over my attention-seeking breasts,
Locking the doors
After 5 pm
Because she said
Predators hunt at night
And if I want to be safe
I should learn how to dress right.

I left my mother's home
A long time ago
But like her old wedding saree
And a few odd habits
My mother had also passed down
Her fears to me.
Even though I tried
My best
To escape
The cage of her paranoia
But each time I walk out of the door
After dark,
I can hear my heart beating
A little too hard
Against it's walls
But the only difference is
I know how to defeat it now―
I walk out of the door
In my ripped jeans
And skin tight top/
Baggy sweat shirt
And pajamas/
Saree
And a backless blouse,
My courage
Is the only armour I need―
In fact,
The only armour I ever needed.


7 comments

  • I could imagine myself while i read each line and felt the emotions you were trying to convey.
    Great going.

    Saachi
  • Wonderful! :)

    Ankita Apurva
  • The beauty of this poem is, you didn’t stop with explaining your fear. You went ahead and told us about how you fight against it every day by being a courageous and free person. Inspiring write!

    Joyce
  • The message it conveyed was beautifully expressed. Loved it.

    Pranisha Sarkar
  • The idea is nicely expressed. keep writing.

    Pooja Arora
  • Amazing
    :)

    Palak Manglik
  • Beautiful message!!
    I just loved it:)

    Vaishali

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