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by Sangeeta Roy (M. A. WS. – 1st Batch)

Chaste – through the first scuttle and scurry of joining mother’s arms at recess as the nuns stop me to ‘pull up my socks up to my knees’

I almost rush past to Mumma, not past the experience though

As chastity gets implanted and built and nurtured through thread, hems, fabric, length, flesh, and words until I do not know which precedes what

The discourse in the car pull I travelled got built around flesh and length again, amidst coy eyes nudging one another and nibbling nails

Couldn’t we have been a little bolder? A little, little more bold like my friend who wore a dark pink sleeveless dress on her birthday only to be mutilated by words, by us and the nuns alike

So I added colour and loud as an antithesis to chaste

I wondered why as the elasticity of the socks loosened, they always receded down as also did necklines, imbibed beliefs, and morals and so on

And on a dull grey day, I wonder if it is not simply the force of gravitation…

I decide to delve amidst pores of flesh and on to blood, bones, tissue and other things to recover the impermeable chasteness until I run vacant and stifled each time being put on medication with anti allergens

I pinch and prick and press hard every bit of my flesh as my cousin runs snuggling her love on the alleys and shores of this city

My twelve institutional years keep running in and out and around and into me as I sit muffled and dumb even on sun coloured days to render them glum

My head dances bedazzled as my friends sway their bodies to the music of the disc – as I effort at an overt placidity while my body runs wild

My friends think I must be some sort of a nerd to be wearing socks all the time while I re- discover hemlines and peripheries constantly snuggling my pillow

I detest my steady retreat into sleep to conceal my powerlessness to run into the sun

Meanwhile my cousin runs, loves, pains and one day merges into my blue in a white saree (so I think)

Chaste – through the yawn of the white cleavage she stands as the nails of her index, middle, ring and little fingers dig into her palm till I see the deep dense fiery liquid ooze and smack my face

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