Meandering in the world of black and white

Upma Manral
Posted October 16, 2021 from India
In a World, where we teach our girls to be strong, independent and equal to other genders, we forget to teach our boys how to behave and respect girls, and value their friendships.

So, I talk to you comfortably about sex,

About my desires, my passion or apathy for some.

I talk to you about my crushes, person I want to be with,

Emotions I have for some, strong or mild.

I showed you my feeble side,

Sometimes I cried and found solace in your arms,

But does that mean I desire you?

You know people who made me cry, you know my weaknesses

I saw a confidante in you, someone who can understand

A friend who was always there to listen, a companion of tearful hours.


It does not matter if we kissed once, you don’t have a pass to kiss me again.

My ease at talking about sex is not consent to have sex.

A no is a no, you need to understand.

Pushing me over and over makes you a harasser.

Saying no again and again becomes tiring sometimes,

And I might say yes even when I don’t want to.

That’s what had happened in the past.

Few moments of passion make me guilt ridden for long,

Which you chose turn a blind eye to.


I woke up in the morning, guilt ridden,

Needed to talk to someone, so I told her what we did the previous night

A friend, being a girl she understood better,

She had been at my place, had probably walked in the same shoes.

So she tells me its harassment,

Not respecting my consent, pushing me till I bow down,

Asking for a hug and then kissing me even when I am pushing you away,

A drunk me, probably in the moment of heat agreed.

In seconds I realized what was happening,

Pushing you away, fighting with you to stop,

But, you beg me for another minute, to just bite my lips.


I was afraid and shaken till the core,

And I sent you away to the person you belong with.

I tried to act normal, texting you I love someone,

The person you respect so much.

But you kept talking about what had happened,

you seemed to still enjoying that,

Probably re-living those moments in your mind,

Perhaps, lying next to one who loves you.


I felt sick inside, disgusted at myself.

But was I wrong, she tells me no, I was not.

She tells me I said no, first no was enough and also the last one before I broke down.

She tells me I should not be ashamed of what I did but what I am doing now.

Again ready to give you a chance, ready to forgive you

and trust your false promise of not repeating the act.

I should be ashamed of still having a friend, who did not value me.


So, Next day I gave you a ring,

You did not want to talk about it, asking me to avoid the conversation,

You blamed it on booze and lied to me again in all your senses.

You said, you also felt guilty when you saw her,

When you entered the house and saw her love.

Oh, can I trust you with your last night’s texts mocking me,

Can I believe, you had not planned it and it was not in your mind for long?

With all your guilt towards the ones we love,

I wonder did you feel guilty for making me cry.

Did you feel miserable for shredding my trust?

I still wonder what you got from those moments,

Because at the end you lost a friend for life.

This story was submitted in response to Healing through Art.

Comments 10

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Oct 17
Oct 17

Beautiful words once again! A poetic version of how to maintain friendships. My ease to talk about sex is not my consent to perform the deed...this is key, that right there...often deliberately misunderstood.

Upma Manral
Oct 24
Oct 24

Yes dear. there are so many aspects of our body language, gestures which are termed as cue for a yes, but are not. Majority of Indian men/ boys still struggle with understanding this.

himani deswal
Oct 22
Oct 22

very lovely written

Upma Manral
Oct 24
Oct 24

Thank you. :)

Tamarack Verrall
Oct 24
Oct 24

Dear Upma,
By writing so openly and honestly, you open wide the path for others to let go of any self blame for attacks made against our will. "...first no was enough". Your ongoing strength and respect for yourself and for others with similar experiences sends a beautiful message.

Upma Manral
Oct 24
Oct 24

Thank you so much ma'am. That was the idea to share this poem, if my words could touch someone' heart and tell her she is not to be blamed for any such attacks/ assault, to give her strength and be successful in her journey of healing and being happy.

Anna Dylewska
Oct 25
Oct 25

I love the "first NO was enough"! Even in the 21st century in the middle of Europe, I hear it so often, that bright and educated people think, that we provoke them with the way we dress up or behave. And I have a feeling I'd like to shout out loud in disagreement.

To your story - at the end of the day, it does not matter if this person feels guilty or not. It is so much more about what you do with it. From my perspective, it is about forgiving but not forgetting, about learning to let things go (even if difficult) but taking the lesson for the future. No need to feel miserable or regret - it happened and you can't change it. But you can choose what you do with it and how you react in the same situation in the future :-)

So put this beautiful smile on your face and move on!

Upma Manral
Oct 28
Oct 28

Thank you for beautiful words Anna. I had written this in 2017, poetry is a way of healing and moving on for me, putting words to my feelings at that moment.

Anna Dylewska
Oct 28
Oct 28

Wonderful! I think is very important we all find our own way for healing and letting go, this usually comes with experience or someone's advice. What I believe would help us all to grow faster is to have a trusted experienced mentor - this can drive so much change and growth.
All the best Upma!

Upma Manral
Oct 28
Oct 28

Thank you! Best wishes and regards :)