IT IS A TEAM GAME
Nobody notices the pigtails
on the side of the gate.
The red ribbon untied and dirty
Barefoot and evidently in hiding
Her eyes round with curiosity
Her parents are on their way back
When they realise their daughter
Who should have stayed in the kitchen?
Instead, is ‘hiding’ behind the gate
Watching her brothers getting dropped
As soon as she sees her father’s eyebrow creasing
She anticipates the barking orders
And flees before he will scream
By the time they are home
She has made her best attempt at breakfast
Luring them to forgive
For the next day too
She will peer through the gate
Nobody will notice the pigtails
For it was a world of boys
And she will never be noticed.
The boy’s world of school
She notices isn’t charming either
She sees her brothers sitting at the feet
Of their other classmates
‘caste’ her ma had said
‘we can’t be bothered with it,
If we do, they will kick the boys out.
They need to adjust if they want to learn’
‘what if they lie about their caste’
The girl asks
‘don’t be foolish, look at your brothers
And their dark and dirty skin colour.
Their caste is printed on their skin’
She looks at herself in the mirror
Sometime ago she wished
Had she been a boy,
She might have studied.
But today tracing her dark skin,
And feeling her pigtails
she thinks ‘I’d never be enough’
children shouldn’t think beyond
curiosity, friends, classwork and fun
instead, nowadays children look at themselves
in the mirror and anticipate the hate
they might get from the society
the world might not grow up
but the children will.
They will think beyond.
Beyond the so called ‘problems’
That society makes them think about
The children will grow up to
Accept each other and learn
For if they separated based on caste and colour
They’d never have enough team players to play
Nandhitha Babuji is a 18-year-old aspiring poet from Tamil Nadu, passionate about using her words to show solidarity against children’s issues.