Tuesday, March 20, 2007


The pillow talked to me through the night.

It said that it liked soft faces -
full of petty lies
and fragile, dreamy hair.

The problem with pillows is that they are full of fluff.
They are like middle-aged woman -
asexual cotton-bags, over-prized sacks of lethargy.

Of course, I only thought this to myself, and sighed aloud,
"I need a replacement," and I meant, I needed a silent pillow.
It agreed, conjuring an image, announcing, "an American one."

It continued, "I hate the coconut oil stains,
plus your South Indians always smell of Fair n Lovely;
North Indians of Ponds or Charmis, and Dabur Amla Oil."

"The Chinese and Korean breath rinks of beef and pork,
Middle Eastern, except belly dancers, are too exotic
and the Europeans use their foreign tongue too much."

I cut its monologue short, accusing it of racial discrimination.
I reminded it of its roots. The cover was Bangladeshi, cotton Indian,
and it came packaged in polyethene bags imported from China.

Just one travel across seven seas, and a position of privilege,
had converted it. It wanted to dust off the past, and wear the skin
of an alien sensibility; edging to extreme, to prove itself reinvented.

My head, heavy with thoughts and Indian spice, crushed it,
and grumbled into its wrinkling face. "Who was it talking about?"
I groaned. "Maybe my promiscuity. Maybe my alienation?"

We resent them the most who are an image of us, don't we?
And aren't they the ones that we find most easy to befriend?
The pillow warmed up to me, my compunctions sunk into sleep.


Proma said...

The more I read your stuff , the more I am convinced that you hate women. Or perhaps it a love and hate relationship.

Vivek said...

It could be a love and hate relationship with someone in particular, but the only other time I was accused of this (hating woman) was when I wrote "Trust a woman".

Mostly I am accused of being a diehard romantic and a diehard feminist. Most of my poems paint such a rosy picture of women, that I am told that I belong to the dying breed of poets who admire womenfolk.

Like any other poem, the poet's own beliefs take a back seat here. Its fictional talk, has fictional ideas, and yet having written it myself, I cannot deny my responsibility for saying what it says.

Vivek said...

from sulekha:

« Back to Post
Vivek Sharma comments: on Mar 22 2007 10:45AM
delete this comment - block this userMelissa: Judge the poem, not the poet:)

I am not sure what makes the protagonist or the speaker in the poem a misogynist, but since more than one person has alluded to it, maybe it is so. (I am responsible for what I write and how I word it, but I am not the "I" in every poem or story I publish. I cannot be the "I" for then, I would be murderer, sinner, lover, fool, romantic, cynic, sportsman, woman, doctor, all rolled into one. Alas! I am just a poet, my habits and relationships are keener and simpler than my poetry, which seeks a canvas where a broader audience is addressed, where a broader subject matter is explored.

:) Must write a "I love women" poem to balance this affront, if there was any here.

mellisa comments: on Mar 21 2007 11:58PM
delete this comment - block this user
Nice write up Vivek.
But doesn't it show that you hate womenfolk?

vandana1982 comments: on Mar 21 2007 12:20AM
delete this comment - block this user
Nobody is perfect in this world, but unique in his or her own way. So we should accept what we are :)

Churu Churu said...

(wrt all the 'you hate women' comments) Perhaps the problem is the analogies of your choice?
"They are like middle-aged woman -
asexual cotton-bags, over-prized sacks of lethargy"?!?!

darn-right sexist, my friend, darrrnright.

p.s.: middle-aged women are so sexy. Did'nt 'Mera naam Joker' teach you anything aside of crying for clowns?