thaamb tai, kunkoo laavte…

thaamb tai, kunkoo laavte“, she said. And as we went through that simple ritual, and she took that pinch of vermillion to put on my forehead, our eyes met. In that one moment, all acknowledged. Our stories exchanged. Our histories interwove. The vermillion mark on our foreheads the testimony of millenia of standing together, shoulder to shoulder, leading the same lives, no matter where. In that one moment, I heard her… or was it me?

i am the mother
i nurture, i care
i am the crone
wisdom deep in my eyes
i am the daughter
i serve and cajole
the tired, hardened heart
i am the warrior
i fight to protect
the destiny of my children
i am the wife
who toils through the day
ensuring food
for everyone
i am the mate
in me rests the tranquility
of the home
i am the Earth
i bear the burden
i tolerate, i accept
all needless violence
unleashed upon me
i am the whore
i tease, please and satisfy
i am the goddess
all encompassing, forgiving
sita, laxmi, durga
all rolled in one
i am that kunkoo
that vermillion mark
with which all my identities
have been defined.

where am i then?
that frail human being?
not mother, not wife,
not daughter, not whore,
not warrior, not goddess…
but that just that frail being
who cries, who fears
who rages, who resents
who lusts, who yearns,
dreams, and desires…?
all of these
subjugated
submerged
sublimated
in that one pinch of destiny
burned and branded
on my forehead.

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3 thoughts on “thaamb tai, kunkoo laavte…

  1. Maya, this is brilliant. One of my favorites of yours, like the very first writing of yours I ever read. This is simply stunning, and comprises all facets of womanhood. I simply love it. So well done!

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