And Silence Is What I Choose

He was as old as my grandfather and I, just twelve.
Marriage meant nothing to me, not even a new cheeram.
He lived in penance and I, just a little child, tended the aashram,
Never cared for, not even acknowledged of my existence.

Years of spring visited me, uncalled for, for life never bloomed
In the aashram. New yearnings of my body intrigued me.
He never cast even a glance though I longed for him to caress me
Kiss and fondle me, albeit with his wrinkled hands and quivering fingers.

Indra once visited us. His lustful smile and longing eyes haunted me.
I tried to ignore him though my heart went after his handsome roop.

I was elated when Gautama finally came to my talpa before one dawn
My happiness knew no bounds on his interest in my untouched body
Though I was worried about him missing his time for the holy ablutions
I wanted him in my bed all night, holding me in his old but strong arms.

A shout from the door woke me up from the trance. My husband!
From my talpa rose Indra; Gautama tore me apart by his words:
'You slut, how could you not discern this lecher's touch from mine? '
How Could I, for he had never touched me! I froze as a stone, in shame.

Away from Gautama's aashram, I lived in penance and stony silence.
Proved women could be tapaswins too. Came Ram looking for his wife,
His sage-like demeanor and compassionate words; my silence fell at his feet
Overwhelmed by his love for his wife. But that Ram died in my heart
The day I heard he ordered Sita to enter fire to prove her chastity.

Now he has abandoned her on the gossip that the child in her womb is of Ravan's.
Ram, thy name is Ravan. And silence is what I choose, Eternal Stony Silence!


Comments (30)

Thank you for inviting me to read this one. Quite an engrossing tale.
I was compelled to return to this poem and read it again. It is one of the marks of good writing that readers want to return to it and visit with it as if with an old friend. Second visits open the eyes to things perhaps missed the first time- -a perfectly turned phrase, a moment that encourages reflection, a thought not pondered before. I lived in penance and stony silence.- - - there is a world of pain and pride in that simple line that I raced over the first time. Now I reflect upon it and wonder if Silence is What We Should Choose..... A very great poem, my friend. I am glad I returned.
A poignant and a heartfelt write. Very well composed and expressed.
woman had been subjected to such marginalisation since the very old times...
Beautiful write from beginning to end. Ahalya's thoughts during her youthfulness depicted beautifully as well as how she silenced herself for the guilt. Unfortunately the same thing being continued even in today's life also. Whenever I read or watch I often co-relate with today's life. The world is running in same way. A poignant write. Love reading it.
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