It all started with that red saree;

The red hands, the smiling faces,

That sindoor worn on her head with pride.

Celebrated by her family,

A goddess had come into their lives,


It all started with that radiant face;

Golden bangles, diamond earrings,

Her days filled with her child’s giggles,

Her husband’s laughter.


It all started as the hidden monster;

Shrouded as her dear mother-in-law

Bestowed her with love and her fake smiles.


Then came the reality;

Creeping in like a stormy night,

From a goddess to a slave,

She converted overnight.


The Naari we adorned with garlands,

The Durga we cherished,

Became the servant who was kicked,

For birthing yet another girl.

Beaten for being defected,

Not having a son, a crime for which she paid.


Then came the reality;

The mother-in-law’s slave,

A child bearer, no more,

The husband’s property, no more.


Along came the hidden truth;

The dowry, the snide remarks,

The ugly truth.


It all ended with that red saree;

The red hands, the broken smiles,

That sindoor worn on her head with fear,

Cursed by her family,

Her smiles stolen for life.


It all ended with that red saree;

Adorned just for show,

Insignificant was her happiness,

Empty was her soul.

-Pooja Aggarwal, V-III