Dr Usha Sridhar, INDIA

I GIVE THEE EVERYTHING

I bare my soul for thou to see.
Praise or judge; but can you ignore me?

Life’s countless shades passed by; I freely gave.
Draped in myriad hues,
I strived arduously, unmindful of any dues.
Challenges galore; hurdles aplenty;
I ploughed along with sobriety.
I braved life’s labyrinthine journey
without fear or worry for self.
Giving generously, unconditionally
with no bias or favour; responded instinctively.

Helping, reaching out, dictated my every thought, act,
with love, care, returned worthy gifts, securely wrapped.
At their apathy, I remained detached,
Deftly, avoided ever getting trapped.
Stood on one leg, to get chores done,
looking at the brighter side, to remain sane.
Listened endlessly to the chatter,
kept mute, though I had a lot to offer.
Keeping aside my desires,
busied myself, fulfilling others, entirely.
Sacrificed my dreams at the altar
just followed; though they were far inferior.
Forgave an umpteentimes -
though the other didn’t rue.
I have surrendered willingly,
to make another, a better person, wholly.

Never acted under coercion
nor wilted easily in a discussion.
Was neither weak nor lacking in confidence,
when I acquiesced to the many unreasonable requests.
I was no doormat; banish all wrong impressions,
I nurtured; gave to others, new hope, directions.
I built mine too, with the same zealous mission.
To steer the keel, I get immense solace;
to anchor to a shore, maybe;
so as to make the world a better place.

Cries for peace, harmony, fill the air
my daring deeds blend, with dizzying flair.


IN PRAISE OF A WOMAN

O woman, you are a gift to humanity.
Ever grateful to your gracious presence,
hovering lightly over us; you are selfless.
O woman, you are priceless
I bow in reverence to thee.
O woman, you are fragile
yet, to carry the large family’s mantle.
O woman, you are a pillar of strength
we rely on you in times of distress.
O woman, you write the contents,
that we voice in the milieu.
O woman, you are the hope, inspiration
to our lives, you give shape.
O woman, you have emboldened us
to take on this world, with your dare.
O woman, you are wise
we have gained by your deep insights.

O woman, you radiate a subtle beauty
lifting dreary darkness away,
to brightly lighten up the ambience.
O woman, you epitomize grace, dignity
of your ways, I am in awe.
O woman, how do you muster your inner strength?
To resolve a crisis, you go to any length.
O woman, you are a perfectionist
you never err, you are a towering artist.
O woman, you reach out passionately;
indifference, as you abhor, greatly.

O woman, as a homemaker
you stitch together everlasting relationships.
O woman, your sensitive nature is endearing
you have a magical touch; your tender care is so healing.
O woman, you always side with the underdogs
taking up cases, that have long been forgotten.
O woman, as a professional, you have created waves
you have shown us the way and how!
O woman, you are strong, proud, independent
you have chosen to move ahead only on merit.
O woman, you are not deterred by obstacles
for you, life is not measured by numerals.

O woman, you are so alive, so captivating
befriending you, has been so refreshing.
We revere you deeply,
for us, life has taken a new meaning.


GIRL CALLED TIA

I cried, laughed incessantly, all the time.
I was thought insane, to both ways chime.
My little daughter Tia lost her battle with life;
no longer could she ever, take the strife.
Elaborate ceremonies were performed to bid her farewell.
Why was she denied basic civility, when alive and well?
Masks adorned faces to hide the exact intent
they could fool others; I knew their true sentiment.
I bristled with anger at this vile show
I stood apart, refusing with them to take the last bow.

Tia, had been a bright, sprightly girl of eight years,
bouncing back after every debacle, without a fear.
She embraced life with joy and fortitude
refusing to be curtailed by regressive attitudes.
She chose to emulate the free will of the birds
engaging with life; not willing to be left behind.
She was a good student; I was her only teacher;
to grow up in a hurry, she was eager.
She also learnt from the birds, wind, nature;
we all selflessly helped to nurture her.

Tia saw a lot in her short life span.
How could she be of use, she was no man?
To many, she was an unnecessary burden
they resented her stay in their abode.
She was confined to do arduous tasks
what worth would it be- she would ask,
Is it fair? Shouldn’t she have a chance too?
Nature didn’t differentiate, then why should humans?
She sought answers from different quarters,
silence greeted her. Why? She wondered.

I was a silent witness to her travails;
we were caught up in the same maze.
Her body gave up in the end;
from the atrocities she couldn’t defend.
How long will these injustices prevail?
Women no longer can afford to remain frail.
Clarion call: we have to bail ourselves out;
redouble our inner strength, energies.
Future is bright; we need to tread purposefully;
the winds have changed, the past we need to bury!



Dr Usha Sridhar graduated with a PhD from the Indian Institute of Science, India, and has spent several decades as a researcher in India and overseas and many years as an entrepreneur exploring applications intersecting economics, data analytics and network science. She is now an independent researcher and lives in Bangalore. She is passionate about writing and her poems, short stories have appeared in blog sites and several anthologies. She has also authored three collections of poems, titled ‘Life Matters’, ‘Drenched in Reverie’ and ‘Heightened Sense’. She is the author of a collection of short stories titled ‘Women’s Corner’. She also loves travel, photography and is an avid bird watcher. She is a Bharat award winner for her short story in the 2018 Poiesis Competition.

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