Draupadi

Birth in fire

I came out of the

ashes that were offerings.

I was born with a pledge

to atone my father’s pride,

to assuage his grief,

his sense of shame and defeat.

Yagyaseni! Yagya seni!

The rishis chanted in delight

as I stood in full bloom.

 

Black and beautiful,

my father named me Krishnaa,

and promised me as an offering

to Krishna who would later

become my only saviour.

Fate willed it otherwise.

I was married to Arjuna,

but dharma proclaimed me

as a property of the five pandavas

and I accepted my lot as my

single dharma. Panchali was born

of the five elements.

A woman with five husbands.

 

Life became a trial

at every turn and I

found myself alone

even in the midst of five

brave and strong men.

One day I met with a fate

of shame, of derision,

and I a cross board in

whose tribute no demands

or defense would stand.

Neither generations nor I

would ever be able to

understand how it all began.

Was it my laughter

that ripped me apart?

Mother they never told me

what it was? Desire or design?

 

A Hysteric. A Sorceress.

A Rebel. A Body.

History alone could answer.

Where do I write my story

on leaves, stones or the sari?

How do I soak my elegy

in wax, milk or in blood?

 

Mother

I stand today

as one defeated

and responsible for

the battle in which I

held neither arms nor alms.

Unaccustomed to laughter

indifferent to desire

is he?

 

I am a woman

annihilated,

circulated,

confiscated.

Nothing remains of me,

but my unkempt hair,

hungry and parched,

glistening with poison.

 

If he asks you where have all the snakes gone?

The forests are empty.

The palace is burnt.

The cities are dead.

The kurukshetra is barren.

 

Be brave and lead him to my scalp.

 

 

Ref - Museindia

Birth in fire

I came out of the

ashes that were offerings.

I was born with a pledge

to atone my father’s pride,

to assuage his grief,

his sense of shame and defeat.

Yagyaseni! Yagya seni!

The rishis chanted in delight

as I stood in full bloom.

 

Black and beautiful,

my father named me Krishnaa,

and promised me as an offering

to Krishna who would later

become my only saviour.

Fate willed it otherwise.

I was married to Arjuna,

but dharma proclaimed me

as a property of the five pandavas

and I accepted my lot as my

single dharma. Panchali was born

of the five elements.

A woman with five husbands.

 

Life became a trial

at every turn and I

found myself alone

even in the midst of five

brave and strong men.

One day I met with a fate

of shame, of derision,

and I a cross board in

whose tribute no demands

or defense would stand.

Neither generations nor I

would ever be able to

understand how it all began.

Was it my laughter

that ripped me apart?

Mother they never told me

what it was? Desire or design?

 

A Hysteric. A Sorceress.

A Rebel. A Body.

History alone could answer.

Where do I write my story

on leaves, stones or the sari?

How do I soak my elegy

in wax, milk or in blood?

 

Mother

I stand today

as one defeated

and responsible for

the battle in which I

held neither arms nor alms.

Unaccustomed to laughter

indifferent to desire

is he?

 

I am a woman

annihilated,

circulated,

confiscated.

Nothing remains of me,

but my unkempt hair,

hungry and parched,

glistening with poison.

 

If he asks you where have all the snakes gone?

The forests are empty.

The palace is burnt.

The cities are dead.

The kurukshetra is barren.

 

Be brave and lead him to my scalp.

 

 

Ref - Museindia


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