Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Ladies Special Train

Saw stardom sprinkled this morning on a drab derelict platform

Rainbow colours, delicate features, sleep-swollen eyes, vivid dresses:

Salvar suits, chunris, ear rings, bangles, toe rings, bindis and stringed jasmine

And -- since it is raining -- variously coloured parasols and raincoats.

A bored voice on public address says there’s a Ladies Special Train passing by

Men, If you dare enter you risk being beaten, abused, it’s a Ladies’ Special Train

A whirl of colour, thunder of wheels, bursts of happy, determined faces, smiles

Knitting, mending, food smells and talks of disobedient children and declining education.

Children are pressurized, burdened, you know, we don’t know what they teach

They are making them into idiots, unoriginal thinkers, teaching them to conform

Our children will have the best; nonetheless, we will slog to work so they prosper

This corrupt political-business nexus, you know, has corrupted the education system.

It’s the happiest hour of the day, freedom from housework, while work waits

The times are bad, vegetable prices are high, groceries, oil and spices, too

Discounts are available in local malls and bulk purchases are advised

Careful, there are predatory men on platform, staring, whistling and cat calling.

There’s work in the office, corporate politics, a little time to exchange recipes

The bosses are increasingly intolerant and lewd, they make indecent remarks

They expect us to manage emails, make worksheets, presentations in no time

When we don’t have time to have lunch, even apply nail polish and makeup.

The morning Ladies Special Train is our special refuge, our peace haven, our space

From the cares of this world, from the stupid ogling men and their indecent gestures

This train may pass on bridges, through rain, violent storms, torrid heat

But inside the Ladies Special Train we know we are secure from the mad world outside.

(This is the poem I read at the event "100 Thousand Poets for Change" on 24th September 2011.)


prita said...

I wish there was a train only for ladies.Its a wonderful idea and your poem would make a dream come true for ladies.

John said...

Prita, in Bombay, where I live, there are trains meant only for women. This poem is about that.