Saturday, November 10, 2001

Marriageable age

Mausiji who lives in Narnaul
with Mausaji and their three daughters
– whom I have never met –
one approaching the age of marriage
asked us about skin lotions
and beauty creams.

We made a list for her
telling her which
would clear blemishes,
which lighten the skin,
and which 
remove dark circles,
and mausiji smiled,
relieved at the thought
that her daughter’s marriage
would be easier to accomplish
when her skin

Now I worry a lot
for my unseen cousin
(and where the hell is Narnaul, anyway)

They will find a match for her
Placing her,
at random,
in the first open situation
that seems to them suitable.
But will she be happy? will she be rich?
will he be kind to her,
will his mother torment her,
and when she goes into labour,
will the doctors be patient,
will they have clean sheets?

These are the questions
that dance in my mind
and I feel sad
that skin creams
hold no answer.

first appeared in Little Magazine Nov 2001

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