You can rein my movements

By confining me within the gated luxury

Of your House, where I need permission

To visit the very same Mother

Who cried with joy when I was born

And shed copious tears of mixed emotions

When she had to ‘give me away’


You can rein my body

In loose, ill-fitting clothes that reek

Of your adopted morality

Cover my head, my face and eyes

In that georgette and brocade veil

That you staunchly believe

Are the ornaments of the chaste


You can rein my voice

By invoking that same upbringing

That you have so often questioned

By appealing to my responsibilities

As daughter-in-law, wife and mother

By calling upon my duties to your family

Which, I had thought, was also mine


You can rein my identity

With the red streak on my forehead

My anklets and bangles, my ring…mangalsutra

With your name stamped inseparably

Erasing my erstwhile name

Announcing to the world that I am yours

To be owned, used and abused


But can you rein my Spirit?

Free as it is, of all boundaries

Of walls, garments, established patterns

Those symbols of bodily conquests

It is coursing its own sweet path

Breaking barriers, unhinging the shackles

Seeking new horizons – forever. Forever!