“কালি, কালঠি তোর সাথে কে শোয়!”
(“You, the darkest woman who wants to sleep with you!”)
This was the slur she had to face almost after every late-night sex before their marriage fell off — readers, please note it's not ‘before’, it's after. The shame, the mockery, the derogation, the incompetence, the negation, and the everyday denial pushed her down the ladder of existential crisis. She became a walking-talking skeleton without an iota of self-confidence.
Sleeping with her husband is a must-do ritual that she learnt from society and family. A ritual that denies her soulful presence and wilful involvement and celebrates the brutal force of patriarchal hegemony of mind and body.
The year 2008 marked the beginning of a journey. The journey that she undertook to proclaim her freedom of choice but ended up losing more. Practising choice was a sin in her family. She sinned. The sin of falling in love with a boy of her choice. Everyday abuse and verbal confrontation became a public spectacle in the family.
On one such heated night, she poured ten litres of kerosene over her, but somehow a cousin stopped her from lighting herself. The lower part of her body got several blisters out of contamination of the kerosene oil. Her crotch and the V-area were severely affected. No one treated her. By then, she had brought her family double shame — the shame of choosing her life partner and choosing to end her life.
In her society, choice for women is always an existentially non-existent elusive entity. One hears the phrase but never feels the presence of it.
The blisters went away with time but left the skin dark as if a testament to the audacity of a woman who cares to practice the word freedom. She married the man of her choice going against the family.
During her 11 years of marriage, except for the first few months, she used to be cursed for the remnants of the blisters — for the black vagina. This marriage fell off too with another suicide attempt. When she was nine months pregnant, her husband told her: “I don't want you anymore. I am in love with another woman.”
She was only 20 days away from the expected date of delivery.
Though this “not wanting” was always there in the granules of the time of the 11 years of conjugal life, she, like the Bollywood heroines in the movies, always believed in the fairy tale endings where the devil husband says sorry at the end and the status quo-ist audiences find a sigh of relief. However, she could not bear the shock and thought of choosing to end her life. But this time the kick of the life growing inside her saved her.
Words, the weapons
It’s said sarcastically in Bengal that “মেয়েদের জান… কই মাছের প্রাণ।” (women live long like Koi fish). Koi fish is considered to live long and its comparison with women denotes societal appropriations of women’s endurance of pain and suffering. Still, society wants women to suffer without voice or noise.
She is a survivor like millions of women in this country. She chose life after that living, breathing, and loving kick. She chose freedom again.
Now words as weapons in her hands, she became a flying horse. She never healed. Healing needs a collective mechanism. In our society, it is never there. Every day, she wakes up and locks all the wounds in the memory closet and moves on. So she became an angry goddess who decides to own herself. She owns the life of a divorcee and the swarthy vagina.
She writes and her words are bombs.
Yes, readers, you are thinking right. This ‘she’ is me and I declare unequivocally — yes, I am a woman with a black vagina.
I Am Your Black Lady
I am your black lady
With black desires
To love you
In black rains in deep forest
My unshaven black armpits
Rain on you
The smell of our origin
In some caves or in
The coal mines where our parents
might have met after a day’s labour
in exhausted hour
My father’s scalpel
Might have scooped out my mother’s
wet hair and
Then hot love stream drenched them
In cold rainwater
I am your black woman
With black wounds
Black saliva, black lips
In black vagina
Oh my black lover
Make love to this black woman
The world has gone blind
With too much white
In too much light of the explosion
Let's give the world a black child
To cure its blind vision.
19th May — The Day A Woman Became A Flying Horse
A midnight call
broke the trance of a
would-be full moon night.
The blessed night of Shab-e-Barat
was wrapped in the fragrance of
and a war began between two uneven
Between darkness once disguised in love
and a nine-month-pregnant womb.
The darkness had all weapons in treasure —
Words. Slurs. Patriarchy
and a Society of his own.
The womb had two —
death or life.
That night the woman played
a language-boomerang game
the womb turned all weapons —
whore, bitch, cunt, slut, suicide
into a straight punch —
fuck off, fuck off and fuck off
The moon became full prematurely
the amaltas were smiling fire
the tiny life inside
gave three kicks. one for each —
male, man and society.
The womb became a flying horse
with wings that day.
The song of life was rippling in the sky —
Fuck off Fuck off Fuck off.