When I was four, I scoffed at a girl
Because I didn’t know any better then,
I thought it was fun to question people and their sexualities,
To make fun of the way they validated themselves.
I felt bad about it later, but the man named society,
Great, white, rich and straight,
Patted my back and applauded my fore.
When I was eight, I was told that girls, unwelcome to the world,
Brought it all upon themselves.
It seemed all wrong then too,
I looked hitherto;
And there was society, the big, great, white man looking down on me,
I hadn’t made him proud this once.
He patted my back but it felt different this time,
No longer kind.
When I was twelve, I decided to experiment.
I changed my clothes, I changed my foes,
I wandered out into the streets.
Didn’t compete with girls anymore,
Neither raised any fingers,
In my wonderous wonderments,
A tinge came to splotch,
I was on the verge of fitting out,
There at the edge, I stood.
Society came and pulled at my hand, ‘I’m not done with you.’
I was falling down, he said.
But I could still make him proud,
If I came back for dinner, he renounced.
Step back, I didn’t take;
As boys passed me by,
Insecure they made me feel, like a thing, on display, susceptible to interpretations, like an artist losing control over one’s own.
I looked at Society, with eyes drawn wide;
‘what’s for dinner? ‘, came my thin voice.
He didn’t look at me anymore,’ you’, he announced.
‘and what about them’, I say, pointing, never on the verge of falling.
‘boys will be boys’, society said.
Then I was fourteen, miraculously bright,
Questioning everything as was my right.
I was angry like one should be;
Didn’t look around to see, who stood with me.
Society wasn’t there, his presence had reduced.
I felt freer, wider, ideas brew.
I was choked down then because my voice,
Too high, had finally reached society, as he ran back to strangle the last breath out.
Then I was sixteen, flipping through a TV set,
Looking at faces, not people,
Looking at ideas, not owned.
It came down to society,
Grabbing women by the pussy,
And leading the free world of sorts.
He had always been strong.
Ojaswi Sharma is an 18-year old from Chandigarh.