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Womanhood

Latika Ojha | July 24, 2020
Womanhood

I remember the day my mother escaped

Secretly from the backyard gate.

Hidden and tucked tampons, with deft

She crept back in with a stealthy step.

 

My curious eyes were quick to spot

It, demanding to know what she’d bought.

With a furtive look she glanced around

Before shutting me up with a, “No more sound!”

 

“Shhhh!” She said, mysteriously 

And sealed my mouth imperiously.

And one day in a pool of blood,

Surrounded by its shameful flood,

I found my school skirt deeply stained;

My head and tummy ached and pained!

 

I felt an animal in the zoo,

With stares that hit me black and blue.

Soon, the issue was taken to court;

Head ordered me home with an escort.

Wrapped in a pinafore, crisp and new,

To camouflage the social taboo.

 

At home, I said I was suffering from piles,

But was puzzled to see my mother in smiles.

A mother, how so calm could be

With her child unwell so seriously?

 

And then the mystery was revealed –

I’d encountered the battle field

Of womanhood which behoved me shy;

To carry my tampons on the sly.

 

I grew up bearing the shame and guilt

Of the foundation on which womanhood was built

Until I had my baby – the first,

And told them in a fitful burst,

“I am proud I bleed and stain”,

For that’s the blood that runs the vein

Of my baby, that gabbles, babbles and fills

My heart and home with his thunderous thrills.

 

Red speaks passion;

Red speaks love;

So is the hue

Of the faithful blood

That keeps the promise of its visit;

Nothing hidden. All explicit!

 

I watch my daughter boldly buy

Napkins with her head held high!

She bleeds, yet plays with her brother and me.

The cramps call for her father to free

Her of the lessons which are adjourned 

Until she feels she’s ready to learn.

 

A relief, a calm, I then experience 

When I notice a distinct difference

Between what went on with mother and me.

A taboo? No longer can I see!

Each mother, father and brother be bold

To rid the norms of the nonsensical old.

Just as blood helps man survive,

Menstruation keeps mankind alive!

 


Latika Ojha

Born and brought up in the “Queen of the Hills”, Darjeeling, Latika has always been close to nature and thereby, poetry. She is an alumnus of Loreto College, Darjeeling and Vishvabharati, Santiniketan.

 

Latika is very passionate about writing and writes about anything that captures her interest, be it love, sorrow, patriotism or social issues and two of her poems have been published in the anthology, ‘MIDNIGHT HUES’ and one in an anthology related to mental health, ‘MIND’.

 

Latika is also a ‘Sangeet Prabhakar’ in Hindustani Classical vocal and holds a senior Diploma in Kathak from Allahabad Prayag Sangeet Samiti. An empath at heart she is associated with social organizations such as AIWC (All India Women’s Conference) and LGD (Let’s Green Darjeeling).

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Priyakee
Priyakee
3 years ago

Latika my dear! This is awesome! The poem- the illustration and Your picture ♥️♥️ Would love to see your entire collection here

Latika Ojha
Latika Ojha
Reply to  Priyakee
3 years ago

Thanks tons ♥️

Pratibha Varms
Pratibha Varms
3 years ago

Absolutely delightful poetry! Would love to see more of Latika’s work 💕

Lalita Agarwal
Lalita Agarwal
3 years ago

Wow! Latika, really proud of a multi talented pretty friend like you. Keep going dear, you have it in you. You are an inspiration.

Seema Pakhrin
Seema Pakhrin
3 years ago

Well expressed …..great write up Latika Di

Jitendra
Jitendra
3 years ago

Latika, a woman of substance. As usual, absolutely well written.

Kritarth
Kritarth
3 years ago

Absolutely wonderful! Very well penned down

Monita Rai
Monita Rai
3 years ago

So well expressed.Loved it.Keep
going my multi talented friend.

Prakash Chandra Pradhan
Prakash Chandra Pradhan
3 years ago

An avid reader, an active socialist, a compassionate human, caring for humanity, being a leader in SOKA GAKKAI INTERNATIONAL, a philanthropic organisation concerned only with the well-being of humanity and world peace, are only a few of many other epitomes that describe her towering personality!

Last edited 3 years ago by Prakash Chandra Pradhan
Prakash Chandra Pradhan
Prakash Chandra Pradhan
3 years ago

Yes, the mind – set of the world has to change!
Menstruation Taboo? What? To be secluded?
To be secluded even in cow- sheds?
Untouchable during the ‘period’?
Can’t even pronounce the word
‘ MENSTRUATION”?
The FOUNDATION of creation,
The Source of sustenance of life itself
The reason for fertility of man
Thereby of the Earth itself
Taboo?
Yes, the male domination and his misinterpretation, misconception
Has to be erased
Forever
And a new admiration and appreciation of menstruation has to be driven deep into his male chauvinistic mind and heart
Once and for all!
Womanhood
Of my mother created me
Womanhood
Of my wife gave me
Wonderful children
How can I hold it in such a low esteem
While what I should be doing
Is
Worship it!

Prakash Chandra Pradhan
Prakash Chandra Pradhan
3 years ago

Congratulations to our dear Latika on her astounding, amazing and rebellious feelings expressed so beautifully in poetic form!

The first to seventh stanzas describe how cruel the system was then and, how the poor innocent womenfolk accepted it ungrudgingly with shame and fear ingrained in their innocent minds. And the fearful thing is, it is still so!

From the eighth stanza she shows the rebellion in her daughter, how she is free from all these fears and stigma attached to menstruation, obviously encouraged by her own incisively scientific, modern mind.

An admiringly beautiful, life-changing poetry worth studying again and again by the numerous chauvinists of our society and the world!

Mrs Latika Onga Sinha was born before our eyes and we marvel at how she has already blossomed into an established writer. She is reminded to please keep it up and never slacken up! May He provide her with better health to trimprove day by day to touch the heavenly heights!

We bless her

My reaction to it is given in my second comment in the form of a poem.

Prakash Chandra Pradhan
Prakash Chandra Pradhan
3 years ago

Astounding!!

Lhamu
Lhamu
3 years ago

Wow! Superb 👍I was always proud of u n always will b💖😍.expecting more of ur inspiring writings

Sumitra
Sumitra
3 years ago

A magnificent poetry written in a very graceful way…I admire you for who you are…proud of you Latika keep going❤️

Last edited 3 years ago by Sumitra
Apsara lepcha
Apsara lepcha
3 years ago

Wow such an amazing poem maam .U are such an inspiration to young poets of hills …..

Sweta Lakandri
Sweta Lakandri
3 years ago

Dear ma’am your poem is really enchanting like you…. we would ♥️ to see more of your poems….feel proud to be your student…♥️

Manjushree
Manjushree
3 years ago

Superbly written! Way to go girl!👍👍👍👍

Pallavee Gurung
Pallavee Gurung
3 years ago

Wow… The poem is really good. Thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Sunil Sathyendra
Sunil Sathyendra
3 years ago

A beautiful poem by Latikaji ! The awareness on menstrual cycles – that it is a beautiful and a natural process that needs to be given its due respect and not be shunned away as taboo !

Anubha
Anubha
3 years ago

Really really proud of you dear Latika….. it is beautifully expressed…. infact all your pieces of poetry are soo well written, I love them all…. good going… keep it up..👌👏👏

Aditi Rai
Aditi Rai
3 years ago

A poem that really makes us feel pride over our womanhood. Really beautiful

Sangeeta
Sangeeta
3 years ago

Latika is blessed with an art of expression her writings are always a delight to read

Rasik
Rasik
3 years ago

LATIKA MAM has always been an awesome poet.This too is beautiful one.

Pankaj Uprety
Pankaj Uprety
3 years ago

Really Ma’am your poetry is awesome. Each and every lines you have written have highlighted on the real essence of Womanhood.
Loved it🙏🙏🙏👍👍👍👍

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