Happy Women’s Day?….. I beg your pardon
Its 8th March, International Women’s Day
But she doesn’t know it.
She wakes up at 6.00 a.m,
like she has for the last 12 years,
her mental clock and love for her family helps her up.
she fills the rice into the cooker, chops up the vegetables
in the yellow light of the bulb.
The chickens in their coop stir, at the first break of light.
the brass pot rolls down on the squeaky pulley
up will come the sweet fresh water
that will quench her family’s thirst
help cook her food
wash the utensils.
it is this well water that keeps her garden green.
Her girls wake up, and help her cook.
soon they will be around the square table, at breakfast
then rushing to school.
they as students,
she as teacher.
She will sing and prance her students through their rhymes,
she will yell,
to hold the attention of four year olds, a few minutes longer.
she will kiss and hug a child that just tripped over,
reprimand the bully.
she will smile and greet parents,
encourage and guide them.
then head home, in the baking heat of the noon sun.
She will come home to heat the food,
her family will be home soon,
they will sit down to lunch, around the square table.
she will listen to the grumbles of her children,
about their favourite food not being at the table.
they will ask for more food,
she will interrupt her lunch to get it.
she will listen to the rants of her husband,
all the time, silently chewing on her own.
As she opens the back door,
Brownie their pet dog wags her tail,
delighted, to see her and knowing lunch is at hand.
the chickens rush towards her
she throws them a fist full of rice the children wasted.
the chickens will reward her with eggs,
when the eggs are plenty, she sells them to supplement her family income.
Her extended family fed, she lays down for a brief afternoon nap,
but not without a quick read of the papers.
the opposition protests in Delhi,
they will not let an Italian women become the Prime Minister of this country,
a 19 year old maid has been raped by a masked man,
an unidentified corpse of a women is found floating on the river, the police think it could be suicide.
a day old baby girl has been abandoned in the forest, near the States largest medical college.
she dozes off.
At 4.00 p.m its time to wash the clothes she had soaked earlier.
she has a machine, but prefers the physical labour of scrubbing them by hand
she likes the physical exercise,
it ensures the clothes are clean, the way she likes them.
At 5.00 p.m her daughters will come for tea and biscuits.
after a warm cup of tea, she will sweep the garden,
it is full of dry leaves,
the place will be a mess if it rains before she has cleaned the place.
the soggy leaves will breed mosquitoes.
she lights the little piles of brown
the orange flames lick the leaves, the smoke rises, white
God will soon send her parched land rain.
Its getting to be dusk,
she calls home the chickens,
catches and cages them,
secures the bolt.
Sets up the fire and places a large vessel of water on it,
it will soon be time for bath.
she calls out to her daughters,
its already dark and time for bath.
she never has time to sit with their lessons
but they manage somehow.
She begins preparing dinner,
the girls are hungry.
soon it will be 8 and her husband will be back,
soon after, his nightly rant will begin,
they will eat,
often in silence,
edge away, as the rants continue.
The radio jockey on FM will wish all a ‘Happy Women’s Day’
and play songs by women singers.
she will say her prayers and lay back in her bed.
She needs to rest,
soon it will be 6 a.m
and the dawn of another day.
7th March 09