Elizabeth Kurian ‘Mona’, INDIA

SONS AND DAUGHTERS

You think a son will protect you in this life
And also ensure your salvation in after-life* 
You think a daughter is a heavy burden
You try to prevent her birth if you can

You treat the son like a royal prince,
For him no expenses you will mince
You feel the daughter is temporary
Only marrying her off is your worry

Look around you, and learn the realities
More than sons, how many daughters
Their old and sick parents diligently serve
Appreciation for this they do deserve.

Times move ahead, keep up with changes
Girls are showing their mettle in all fields
Discriminate not, dear prejudiced parents
Kindly treat your daughters like your sons

*An Indian belief that if a son lights the funeral pyre, the deceased will attain salvation.


READING HER FACE 

The wrinkles on her face
Crisscross each other
Like the paths she has trodden
For more than eight decades

The smile upon her lips,
Spontaneous and indulgent
That of a patient granny
In whose presence all are kids
Where there is no judgment
Only understanding and love 

The light in her aging eyes
With a hint of unshed tears
A mirror to her soul,
Eyes that have seen life
In its ever-changing shades,
A few bright but mostly dark hues

Ornaments adorning her ears
Reflect her love for beauty
And a little vanity 
Judging from her features
She must have been a pretty lass
The apple of many eyes.

Her visage seems to speak
Without uttering a word
That she has braved all odds
As a daughter, a wife, a mother
In a world where women
Were never equal to men

Like old heritage monuments
Proclaiming their past glory
The face of the old woman
Unfolds many an untold story 
Of her chequered life
As in an epic poem.

(This poem received the first prize at a poetry competition recently in which the prompt for poetry was a picture given to the poets. The poet chose the picture of an old woman and wrote this prize-winning poem)


A *GHAZAL ABOUT WOMEN

The world may say –they are merely women
Survivors in life are gritty women

Objects are they of man’s greed and lust
Those who find real love are lucky women

Every woman has a story that’s untold
Look behind smiles for unhappy women

Commitment to work is their attribute
Those who get credit are rarely women

Multi-tasking is always their middle name
Juggling home and work are nifty women

Men may be poor, dark, short and ungainly
But they wish to wed rich pretty women

Fear not ‘Mona’ about the tests of life
Those who score high marks are mostly women


*The ghazal form comprises independent couplets with a common metre. The rhyming words, followed by the refrain appear in both the lines of the first couplet and in the second lines of the remaining. The name/ pen name of the poet is included in the last couplet.


Elizabeth Kurian ‘Mona’ is a multilingual poet who writes /translates in English, Hindi, Urdu, Telugu and Malayalam. She has thirteen books including translations to her credit and two of her Urdu poetry collections have received awards from the Urdu Academies at Hyderabad and Lucknow. She is the  recipient of the Rabindranath Tagore Award 2017-International from www.xpresscommunications.com for her English ghazal. Her poems appear in various print and web media. Mona is associated with a number of literary groups and is the Secretary of the multilingual poetry group Sahitya Sangam International, Hyderabad. She retired as Manager, Reserve Bank of India, Mumbai and lives in Hyderabad.

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