On the day of International Day of the Girl Child I share a poem I wrote to depict my life after I walked out of a marriage where I was beaten physically and crushed in my spirit and the light at the end of the tunnel. I recited this poem in the One Billion Rising celebrations in India in 2017 and in 2018 at Sambhashane, the Bengaluru Dialogues on Citizen and Community Media organized by community radio Radio Active 90.4 Mhz.
The first bruise on my face
Covered the side of my mouth;
Till one day I had a black eye
That needed a veil.
The injuries spotted corners of my body
Till nothing I did could cover it anymore;
I stopped meeting people in the eye
It became my habit to hide.
Eight years it took me to listen to my inner voice
And I chose justice that day;
But the judge I faced in the court
Asked me proof of my pain.
What proof does a woman keep who loves her man?
Does she take down dates?
Does she take pictures?
Why has she no witnesses?
Where are the hospital bills?
Had she been just busy, forgiving him?
I found no justice from law
There was no one in the court to console me;
I lay there shattered more by their disbelief
Than the open skin of my wounds.
That night I looked hard at my sleeping child
Thought deep what I wanted her to be;
And I chose justice that night
I let go, to close a chapter of our lives.
There were ups and downs but
We had dignity;
We were surrounded by unknown faces
But we found safety.
There was a time there was no money to pay for our bus fare
But we hung on for better times;
We ate simple food
But our soul was nurtured.
We lived in rented homes
But we knew we had each other;
We fell sick, we got broke
But we slept at peace every night.
Most of all, every knock that life threw our way
We inched a little closer to each other
My daughter and I.
We walked out of this world of man-made laws
And built our lives ‘brick-by-brick’;
We lived among happy people
And finally found our sunshine.
It has been 10 years ever since,
Seems like just yesterday;
But I have changed, we have changed
No one can give us justice anymore
For we are not takers,
We have become the givers.
Our home is our temple
And the world our family;
We rise, we soar, we celebrate our spirit that now lives