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    “Frida To Sharanya”

    Sleep wherever is most convenient for you.
    Whoever and whatever is left in the morning,
    take home. Be kind. All the world is yours for
    the taking, long as you know that your little heart is
    theirs for the breaking. Leave lipstick on their
    china and on your letters. Make sure they know
    that you’re a mariposa, blue as copper sulphate,
    or blue as the sea, blue as a baby stilled too soon,
    darling wench, and you never really intend to leave.
    Set love free like a boat with neither oars nor anchors.
    Trust it. Don’t trust yourself. Accept every familiar
    that comes, even if one happens to be a goat. Forgive
    less of people. Remember that things come in triptychs.
    Be magnificent, like Coatlicue. You only owe it to me,
    but break a mirror now and then, if you can afford it.
    Kiss as much as you want to, and as few. Be difficult.
    It will make you more desirable. If it will help you to
    let him go, cut off your hands. They will grow back.
    You don’t need them. You don’t need him. The older
    you grow, the more you will amputate. Dance on stumps
    if you have to, but don’t stop. Wear one item of red
    every Wednesday and when death comes for you,
    you will go as his bride. Burn every bridge you ever
    built, and build as many as you possibly can. The one
    that takes you home will be the last one standing.
    Sing over the bones. Go slow.
    Don’t forget me.

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    The Secret Lives of Women


    THE HADEES he had read yesterday talked about how it was Shaitan who always tried to corrupt us. If we escaped his attempts, we would surely go to Heaven. In Heaven, rivers of milk and honey flow, thousands of Houri women serve the men and make them happy. As she remembered this, she wondered, if there were Houri women for the men, wouldn’t there be Houri men for the women too? (From Irandaam Jaamangalin Kadai by Salma; my translation) Continue reading

    Modi, Taslima and the Dangers of Identity Politics

    WHEN NARENDRA MODI invited Taslima to live safely in Gujarat last month, it raised many eyebrows. It does seem hilarious that a staunch Hindutva leader like Modi could talk about the safety of a Muslim Woman. After all the engineering of mass killings and rapes and daily terrorising of Muslim women in Gujarat, here was Modi inviting Taslima to live there! Suddenly her criticism of Islamic fundamentalism and the Sangh’s outright hatred for Muslims converged in a ludicrous moment. But are these not very different stances that emerge from two very disparate notions of identity? Continue reading