Archive for July, 2009

The body has its own desires which is independent of any external object“- quote unquote.

There are two births a woman takes – one out of the womb of her mother; the other out of her own womb. It is in the second birth that a wo


man makes a statement about herself. This birth is preceded by pangs of wanting to come unto ones own, breaking out of the shackles of social norms, family expectations and the demands of her role in either. This birth is self willed, independent of all circumstances around her, absolutely a force within her that pushes her out of her own comfort zone, her womb of security to venture out into the world of newness, explorations and interests that define who she really is. There is a hunger and an anger, a desperation and a deprivation that all combine together to give her the final push out of the womb……and into the world of her own. It is what she wanted. She was born for and she longs to realize this.

In poet Manjul Bajaj’s poem, Sita the poet thanks the epic character for setting an example of the same.

This is a thank you note
from me to you:
Thanks so much for stepping over
. that lakshman rekha
I know it took you further than you expected
and there was hell to pay-
a ravenous Ravana, a fretting Ram,
monkey business, burning and pillage
and that whole darned deal
of walking through fire and having to ask
the earth to split and take you in.
But thank you, nevertheless,
for over-stepping the boundaries
of home and hearth
and letting the drama unfold.
Else there would be no grand epic,
no Ramayana to feed our souls
but the same sad story
of a wife in a hut, waiting dutifully,
for her husband
to come home.

One might argue that the poem only thanks Sita for her proverbal crossing the lakshman rekha for only being able to leave her home and hearth to explore what lies beyond. But really can anything be so simple? Can a woman resting quietly in the priviledged role of being protected from the big bad wolves, being the custodian of the family’s health and the being on the receiving end of husband’s erotic advances, ever want to leave the premises for the unknown?

Why should she?

But tarry! Sitas around the world are not born of lesser material than her hunting counterpart. There is a drive within her that propels her to move beyond these forced cages. Therefore, whether there is an external object, in any form, man, woman, images in the mind, or even objects that are inanimate, lying around her, her body and her mind will have its own desire to explore what lies outside the haveli. Hence, it is not necessary that she must have a lover or any other object of social construct to feel the desire to move out of her confines. Indeed, she is merely a tool in her own hands which initiate and propel her to break out.

Ditto about her body. Irrispective of what lies before her, the feeling around sex arise within her, without any stimulus from outside. Just like a breath that just is there, so are these desires, longings and needs of the body just there.

And of course there will be consequences. There is hue and cry; blame and shame games; war and bloodshed. But, once the swan has flown out of the nest, its wings spread to catch the power of the wind as it glides along to the destiny of its own making, hell and heaven may break; waters of the earth may rise in angry waves causing a social tsunami, lets face it, the bird has flown out, as it was meant to do.

In poet Manjul Bajaj’s voice, the lines are hard hitting.

Else there would be no grand epic,
no Ramayana to feed our souls
but the same sad story
of a wife in a hut, waiting dutifully,
for her husband
to come home.

The point I am trying to make here, is captured in the last four lines – but the same sad story, of a wife in a hut, waiting dutifully for her husband to come home.

Precisely, what Sita did not want to do, wait there dutifully for anyone to come. She had an agenda of her own. And that is why, for whatever be the excuse, she ventured out of the boundary line – the proverbial lakshman rekha, the line of control. Yes, and like the first time, breaking rules leads to many unforeseen ends, so did Sita’s.

Finally, then, what is the poet trying to say? Or is it that even she finds it hard to say, despite making this journey to voice lines that clearly state in no uncertain terms these facts: Was it not the desire in Sita which drove her finally to break the rules? Deep inside her, was it not the dictates of her subconscious mind that she had listened to – Go! Go out and explore; break the chains around you; Go! Explore what is beyond the boundaries.

Sita, represents every woman. She is that devoted daughter, that dutiful wife, or for that matter that caring mother, yet, deep within her she nurtures her own desire for freedom for herself.

The epics are wrong. They hide any portion that would make Sita a self-willed woman wanting to express her own needs. In the hands of Valmiki, she adorns the image of the perpetual victim, forever obedient and dutiful. In the hands of poet, Manjul Bajaj, however, Sita, a symbol of all women at large, has finally been set free –

Sita, This is a thank you note from me to you:Thanks so much for stepping over that lakshman rekha.

And again – But thank you, nevertheless,for over-stepping the boundaries of home and hearth and letting the drama unfold.

This is the drama, the drama of wanting to express her own inherent desire, which finally propel her to give herself the second birth : „the body has its own desires which is independent of any external object.“

Who is Sita: In the epic Ramayana, rishi Valmiki created the character Sita, who is the wife of dethroned King of Ayodhya, Rama. In the author’s interpretation, she is Every woman, on this side or that side of the land that gave birth to this Epic – India.

Please note: The thoughts expressed here are the writer’s own. They may not be the poet’s as well.


Picture credit: http://www.learnnc.org/lp/media/collections/freeman/thai_ramayana/1024/thai_rama_189.jpg

To listen to Sita on Youtube:

Read Full Post »