It is not I, but
they named me Arzuman, an alien word
that does not occur in my first language or second language-
and they told me – “it is the brightest star in a cluster,”
even before I was born into the consciousness of those stupid signifiers.
They gave me more names- one name was so unsatisfying-
Surabhi, Mamata, Bulu, and
Baby – that continues beyond my adulthood days.
Names proliferate in different directions sourced from all traces.
They call me Bangal, Dkhar or “Khar khua Axomiya”
perplexing the race that
my blood does not recognise anymore
and my doctor diagnosed me as another “O-positive,”
and gave me digestive pills.
Sometime they generously put me beyond borders, territory and nation-
and name me Paki, Bangladeshi,
or moving little further -Saudi
the color of my skin does not allow them to name me American or British or Black,
that is a lack of a privilege for them that limits their naming process to move further;
nonetheless, I am given the privilege of a “global citizen.”
If possible they will also name me E. T.- extra-terrestrial,
After all, it’s a matter of imagined communities
of those ever naming creatures called intellectuals condemned to imagination.
Oh! You ask me- Who am I?
Well, that is the questions I left for the philosophers and
Worshippers and those politicians…
let them be not disappointed at this moment.
Yet, I can tell you little bit about myself,
though that is not enough.
I am Eve and also Malala
I am Cleopatra, and Sita, and the corporate Saina Nehwal.
Sometimes Sharmila, and sometime Nirbhaya, and sometime aam aadmi.
I am Michael Jackson, Madonna and Ustaad Amzad Ali and Yanni
as much as the Cuckoo that sings spring to you, just as the crow that sings morning.
I am Gargi or Jasbina, as much as Durvasa,
Chanakya or Ibn-Sina….. or a re-tribalised Ekalavya…
as much as Machiavelli and Aristotle or avatar of Aflatoon.
I am Mars and Venus, and also the vanishing Pluto
Sometimes, I am moon, and then I am the Earth.
I am Brahma and Prakriti of Sohpetbneng, ever creating and creating and creating
I am the plates- the crust of the earth
and the Himalayas and Rei’ek,
as much as Umkhrah and Ganga and
the ONE ocean that you divide with names.
I am all that you are,
call me a “human”
or call me “everything”
or call me “nothing”
or don’t call me at all
for NOW I am declaring myself beyond a NAME.
Bangal- a derogatory term used for the non-Garo people in Garo Hills of Meghalaya
DKhar- a derogatory term used for the non-Khasi people in Khasi Hills of Meghalaya
Khar khua Axomiya- khar, (an ingredient for cooking) consuming Assamese
Some believe that O+ blood-group people are prone to stomach diseases
Jasbina was killed by the terrorists in her own house in front of her children in Garo Hills
Aflatoon is the Arabic name for Plato
Sohpetbneng- a hill-top in Shillong, Meghalaya. It is believed that people on the Earth were connected to the world above through a golden-vine situated at Sohpetbneng.
Rei’ek- a hill near Aizawl in Mizoram
Umkhrah- a river in Shillong, Meghalaya
1 BY 3
You try to penetrate her honour
As if her honour is only in a hymen.
Because you never knew
that honour can be anywhere else.
Perhaps, you would never know.
The other day
You advised her
To keep away from wrong people
The wrong MAN particularly,
And today you become one.
Today, you become one
like every other day you do.
Without a hymen,
She will still have the set of two blamed breasts
and a susceptible cunt
signifying the desire of every WRONG man.
With your erect penis and male-ego
You cease to be a man.
NB: The title is based on the ratio of rape as reported in-
The cap on your head
was not of Miss World or Miss Universe.
But you wore the shame
that they try to cover.
A brother in disguise
tears your blood like an un-brother
and becomes a MAN.
When I tie a rakhi
on my brother’s hand,
It is just a hand of another man.
Mother, your age-old ailments are at ease now.
You have been a strong lady throughout your life-
That I have decided to tell all
In your funeral prayer.
May your soul RIP.
I received all the condolence msg
With due thanks,
And replied to some with phone calls.
I have posted an obituary on FB,
Quoting Shakespeare, something with “Life is a passing shadow…etc.
It looks like a poem,
And most of the friends have LIKEd it.
May your soul RIP.
Now, I am looking for a youthful photo of yours,
I think, once I had clicked you once with my smart phone
Now I am unable to find.
But I have to get a good photo,
As I plan to make a good obituary pamphlet.
May your soul RIP.
Arzuman Ara teaches at the English and Foreign Languages University, Shillong, Meghalaya, India.