Dear men, and women 

Dear men,

Patriarchy affects us too. 

I was born in a family

In which I couldn’t wear pink

Feminine, they said. 

I started reading at the age of seven

Words attracted me towards them

But

My elder brother’s toys were brought out for me

They stared at me with monstrous glares

I dived into my books

STOP

Feminine, they said. 

And when I started to open my wings

When I learnt to fly

And reached the horizon-

Felt the breeze on my face

The sunlight on my hair 

Stop

Feminine, they said. 

I sneaked out one night

Took a stroll along the Ganges 

Gazed at the sky and counted stars 

Little did my innocence know that I couldn’t 

And then I saw a balloon

No, it wasn’t the moon-

This poem is not that cliche. 

I ran after it

Came home, not without it

But didn’t realise in the darkness of the night

That it was pink

Pop!

Feminine, they said. 

Raised in Kolkata

I would worship Kali and Durga

Offer flowers at their feet

Chant hymns and light the diya 

Seek forgiveness

Seek a good life

Seek power. 

“Seek power,” I laughed 

Seek power from a woman-

A feminine identity?

I looked at all the heads

Bowed before the goddess

And smiled

Maybe laughed, again 

I wasn’t given the prasad

For being a bad boy 

But was I really the bad one?

Today when I wear pink kurtas 

Read books to my children in bed

Chase balloons or count stars;

Feminist, they say. 

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