|Hiran Moyee Sen|
It was October, 1990
Standing on the rooftop of the hospital building,
I saw her traipsing on a rainbow path
A pair of feet pattered wearily
One by one, into the dark latticed night
Unshed tears rolled down my cheeks.
Grandmothers are icons for grandchildren
And for us, she was not only a great cook
But a warm and caring, loving and welcoming
mother figure-the matriarch of our home;
When grandfather died, she was just twenty-four
with four small children and carrying one in her womb.
The heavy hands of patriarchy those days
was a great fear for a widow.
Inevitably, this widow was shown no mercy, and
quickly bundled up in a widow’s colourless white fabric.
Without reason, without a why…she tucked herself
amongst heaps of unwanted man-made laws;
Repeating rituals weaved a deadlier web within her brain
At the age of 87 years, she developed Alzheimer’s;
Her past and present merged and lost their way..
…her disease talked more through her eyes....and in silence
We just looked on...
at the mute and incandescent face
Thank god…the final years
wiped out all her past memories.
She lives with us, in a dignity that has only humbled….
My grandmother passed away at the age of 97.
Widowhood was a curse in many parts of India. Widows were expected to shun all worldly pleasures. They were not allowed to wear colours, couldn't eat/touch non-vegetarian and certain other foods. Basically they were expected to mourn their husbands for the rest of their lives. As a woman it saddens me to think of vibrant women, some in the peak of their lives, having to live a life like this – being dictated to and no longer being able to enjoy the pleasures life has to offer.
Linked with Susan's : http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.in/2016/06/poets-united-midweek-motif-parents.html