To Be a Woman

To be a woman

a shadow without form,

extinguished by sunlight,

Wombing meaningless men

in the endless chain of need;

To be worn on rainy days,

like colourless old shoes

groping between pots and pans

eyes in steam,

Streaming more than onion-tears;

to be a woman,

characterless like bamboo stalks,

to be scissored to shape,

a hedge against odd weather

and when asleep to fly

untrammelled like a bird,

to exult in the open air,

tossing between oceans and clouds

dreaming of trees kissed by the sun,

while their gnarled roots sink into the earth;

then to return with the weighted womb,

like a boomerang – 

to believe that shadows have existence.

Shakuntala Hawoldar

Hawoldar, Shakuntala. “To Be a Woman”. You. Beau Bois-St Pierre: Lemwee Graphics, 1981.

Bio : Shakuntala Hawoldar was born in Bombay, India. She emigrated to Mauritius in 1968. She is well-known poet and short story writer in Mauritius and abroad.

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Actress Kareena Kapoor addresses the media at Global Citizen India 2016. In India, there is a mentality that a boy will take care of the family while a girl will be a burden. Often reporters ask intrusive questions to female celebrities like: What is the gender of your baby? Will you go back to work? These questions are being asked because some Indians still expect women to stay home and take care of the children. Also, some Indians still believe that a male is superior over a female. The desire to have a boy often leads to female infanticide.