Dr. Nishi Pulugurtha, INDIA


I was not asked my opinions
I was not asked what I felt like
I was asked to deck up and present myself
They were strangers in my house
They said they liked me
They said they would want it all settled soon
I tried to talk to my mother
She looked and me and smiled
She said it was in my best interests
And that was it.
I gathered courage and said no
I wanted to do something with my life.
Angry looks and angry voices followed
My opinions had never mattered
I changed it all that day.


They said girls should not be heard, they should be only seen
I did not understand why they said so
I mean if I spoke you could hear my voice, couldn’t you?
At home I was taught to speak my mind
To voice unpleasant truths, to stand up for what is right.
Be independent, they said. Stand up for the truth
Voice your beliefs, they said. Fight if you have to
Hold your head high, they said
What does gender have to do with it.
Believe in that and forge ahead
Think, speak, act. Voices are to be heard
I listened to them, I make myself heard.
I laugh, I enjoy, I read, I crack jokes, I have fun
With people I like, people who think like me.
He did not like a woman who had a mind and spoke it
Independent woman, he said, you need to listen to me
His way of life should be yours, some said.
I believed differently, he was a friend and companion
He wanted to be lord and master and hence independence disturbed.
He wanted a woman who would keep her mouth closed and just toe the line
His likes and dislikes were to be hers, his friends were to be hers
Why did she question?
Negativity hit her, he meant it that way
It was meant to hit and tear her apart
It was meant to break her spirit and mind
No, she said. She would live life her way,
There were times when she cringed and cried
She had a right to happiness, everyone did.
It was her life, after all
The gilded cage was not for her,
The bright blue sky beckoned her
She would stand up for all that is right.
An independent, thinking woman.


I wish my dreams came true
I wish I could fly high
I wish I could do things I wanted to
I wish my voice would be heard
I wished to do something
I was unsure of what it was
I only knew there was something
I needed to do in my life
My wishes remained the way they had been
I tried to speak about them
A bit unsure, a bit apprehensive
I mustered courage and spoke aloud
No one reacted to them
No one said anything about them
Things went on as they did before
My wishes died a natural death
Or, did they? They were still there
Deep within my heart, still there
I guess they will always be there
Till I give wings to them.

Dr. Nishi Pulugurtha is the Head and Associate Professor in the Department of English, Brahmananda Keshab Chandra College and has taught courses at West Bengal State University and Rabindra Bharati University. Her research areas are British Romantic literature, Postcolonial literature, Indian writing in English, literature of the diaspora and films. She is a creative writer and writes on travel, Alzheimer’s Disease, films, short stories and poetry. Her work has been published in The Statesman, Kolkata, in the anthology Tranquil Muse and online - Café Dissensus, Coldnoon, Queen Mob’s Tea House and Setu. She guest edited the June 2018 Issue of Café Dissensus on Travel.

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