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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Childhood 8 : Lessons

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Lessons

I was told:
I am young,
I am small,
I am weak;
I was told:
I can't sing
And can't do math.
I laugh now
But then it stung
Really bad.
Now I know
I am strong.
Being a child,
Being a girl,
Being short and fat,
Is not wrong.
I am stronger
Than you think --
My Spoken English
Made you mad
But it's not bad
Not if I speak
Bangla too
And Hindi, yes
And French, soon;
Someday I
Will beat you down.

And you who love me
But still said
That it's okay,
If there are
Boys around
To do my share,
To leave me be
Without work --
Even where
I could learn,
Even if
I need to learn.
You will see
What I can be.
There is no
Alternative.
My quality
Is mine alone:
No boy, no girl,
But just me.
Think sometimes
Of things you learnt
Before you knew
They existed.
They could be wrong,
I could be right.
I don't deserve
To be left behind.

I'm not a mean
Of the world.
I am a single
Random sample --
Statistics
Don't work on me.
I am one,
Not the world;
Not every woman
With long hair;
Not every student
Of my age;
Not every person
From my state.
I am me,
An assemblage
Of everyone
I've ever met
And everyone
I ever was
And all I am
And will be,
All combined
So precisely
That there's no one
Just like me:
Look at me.
Figure me out.
I'm non-trivial
So take your time.
Let me teach you
What I am.

I might be
Young and small
But about me
I know best.
You'd know better
Of all the rest
But me one-o-one
Is my thing.
There's no textbook.
There are no notes.
You have to think,
You have to work.
The assignment
Is simple, really
Let me be.
Let me learn.
Let me work.
Let me grow.
Let me shine,
And wait and watch.
Judge me only
By my work
And perhaps
By my love

But not by what's
Inside my pants,
Or the length
Of my hair,
Or my age,
Or how I speak;
You must learn
Not to care
Of things outside
This curriculum
That I've built
All these years
With my blood
And tears and sweat.
If you must judge
Then it becomes
Compulsory
To do it right.
Learn me from me
And nothing else
And no one else.
Don't analyse,
Don't generalize.
It's necessary
And sufficient
To believe every
Word I say
When I'm talking
About me.

And then give me
Space and time
To walk the talk,
And you will find
Your all important
QED.
I am prepared
To defend
All my claims
Of ability,
But not my life:
Not my clothing;
Nor my fat;
Nor my hair;
Nor my love
For Pujo, Tagore
Or hilsa fish --
It's out of syllabus,
Forget it.
And if you need
More assistance
Ask the fingers
That scrape my head
From inside
Until I wish
That I was dead..
...told you, sir!
I'll surprise you
If you'll only
Hear me out
When I speak
About me
And dare to listen
Carefully.
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