I came across this beautiful thought by the renowned poet and author Amrita Pritam: “There are many stories which are not on paper, they are written in the minds and bodies of women”.
I have been thinking about this. It is necessary to push through the fog and pain of trauma; to create a narrative through the making of images on these ‘unwanted memories’, and, then, perhaps it would help me achieve emotional catharsis.
Growing up in a patriarchal society throws up many challenges. The barriers and discrimination against women have been woven deep into the fabric of society for ages. Irrespective of gender, class or ethnicity people face hostility from sinister forces. For a woman this becomes more challenging. The fear of daily sexual harassment, lewd comments, inappropriate touching in public places lingers. The daily commute to my workplace becomes an ordeal.
Every time anything of this happens, it takes away a part of my self confidence and self esteem. It is like there is a pot inside me which gets filled up with venom with every verbal or physical assault. The restlessness is intolerable.
The traumatic experiences take the form of mental scars. They become unwanted memories. These memories are emotional numbing. They are suppressed into the traumatized subconscious which are difficult to put into chronology. And the body becomes the landscape for the “colonial control”.
The newspaper brings in the unfortunate stories of assault on girls and women of all ages.
The married life is also full of traumatic experiences of domestic violence. Some of these need not be physical, even the verbal abuses can be enough to pull any person’s psychological breakdown.
The very common objects attain a different perspective. The knife that I use for cutting vegetables becomes the tool or metaphor for unending violence.
Man (human being) is violent and impatient towards nature. The masculinity imposes its colonial power to subjugate. One feels lonely and abandoned.
The female body is mostly seen as an object, a commodity. This body, too, has a soul. Who cares?
The darkness is heavy.
Nature is raw, uninhibited and open. I feel a great psychological affliction. I feel like these floating rocks.
There is a longing — a longing to be heard.
Is it not that we worship the idols of goddesses!
Then why does the voice get smothered? The question is pertinent.
The parched soil reflects my psychological condition. My parched soul looks for the light of divinity.
Plunging further into darkness, I search for my roots, my identity.
The pain and suffering are etched as monsters.
Death seems to beckon me.
No, I have to survive. I have to find ways to overcome these violent forces.
Remembering the words of the poet Octavio Paz:
“But I look up
the stars write.
Unknowing I understand:
I too am written.”
I want to snatch the light from the thousands of suns far away in the galaxy, and celebrate my imperfection.
To become a bird — and regain my flight and song.
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