The Sanskari Bahu – by Ravneet Bawa

by TBLM

is first of all not a person with any
edges. She has a strong middle but her
boundaries are mostly fluid. She must
accommodate. At first, she is expected only
to be pretty. A grandmother-in-law
remarks you must rouge your cheeks when
the ladies of the neighborhood arrive.

Then

and then she must begin to give. Give of her
sleep a few carefree winks, give of her bath
a few thoughtful scrubs, give of her tea a few
shaved sips till water is rich. Give of her gaze

upon self as she begins to look and look and
never find the girl she was. Give of her will to
disagree as she is asked, always with politeness
to consider. Give also of choices and opinions
since there is such a thing as too much choice
and too many opinions. –Give of her flesh a little
to a lot and a lot to a little– Give she must of her
time, ah endless time endlessly for must she not
be a fount so blessed or cursed it is hard to tell.
Give she must of her time, her time for stupor
and daydreams, her time for books and politics,
for sport and culture, for trivia and serendipity.
Give she must, vacant rooms inside of her.
Give away darkness and intrigue. Give also
her stormy womb a moral compass. Adultery
needs time she doesn’t have.
And if she
isn’t spent yet, the Sanskari Bahu
must give away slices of pulpy
mangoes to everyone on
the table as she sits with all the
pits in. her. plate. Pits have a
strong middle and edges
that yield.