I am them.
I am their dreams and follies,
And their monotony and their vices.
I am their joy and their sorrows,
And I am no one.
I am a girl that trailed into this world out of the blazing nothingness at the turn of this century
Like a comet that burned out,
But I have existed for years and I have ears for all these years
And my ears have been open.
My ears, have been open.
And so have my eyes.
They have not been open the way my legs have been wrenched open for me, by your hands
And your chokehold
And the threshold of the power that you wield, given to you
By yourself, because just like me,
You have existed for a millennia and you have killed me
And you have sliced open my body and my mind
And you have set fire to my remains.
Yet, here I am, and all of that time you spent trying to pour acid down my throat
Burned my skin
Burned my insides
Burned all that I owned and loved and touched, and yet
You did not burn what I am
And here I stand today to listen to you talk and negotiate
Negotiate the price of Kashmir, the price of those whose home she is, the price of your pride
And as you negotiate her price, a piece of land,
And in the same breath, sir, you negotiate the price of my body
The price of me
The price of my humanity and my experiences and my life and my existence,
Nay, the price of a piece of meat.
Birds are an anomaly.
All the weight of my existence, which is their existence, weighs down upon my head and so does the realisation that I am an anomaly, but then
Birds are an anomaly,
Birds fly when they must fall, because aerodynamics are not a part of natural physics
And life, itself, is an anomaly
Because who’s to say that the primordial broth should have created the perfect festering ground of these carbon particles that are alive
That breathe
That talk
That love
Anomalies, dear heart, are beautiful.
And when I was there at my dead husband’s funeral pyre before I was pushed in
And when that hoard of chanting frenzied bodies, all identical to you, burnt me at the stake for my magic
And when I cowered before your fists and your kicks and your snarls
And when I was taunted by you for not having lived up to your expectations of what the ideal me should be
And when you tore into my flesh between my legs and ripped my hair out by its roots
And when you blocked my entry into the playgrounds and the fields and the schools and out of the house and into the world
And when your fingers left purple blotches across my skin
For being an anomaly,
Try as I might, I could not force myself into celebrating the anomaly of my existence,
Your hands and your words
Snuffing out the beauty into a macabre sacrifice to the gods that had placed you upon your sacred pedestal,
I could not remind myself that all I wanted was to fly.
But, dear heart, I was there too.
I was them too.
I was her when she landed on the moon and when she orbited around the planet
And I was her when she discovered radium and polonium
Radioactive, emblazoned across scientific history
And her, emblazoned across literary history when she suffered childbirth at the age of fifteen and wrote a book,
A book that changed the dynamics of Gothic fiction and ignited the spirit of the world with the tale of a creature born out of patriarchy,
And with her two hundred pages of literary brilliance began the genre of science fiction, a girl, aged seventeen
And like the creator in her book who created a slave whom he forgot to indoctrinate
And through whose creation he himself wasted away to a frigid lonely death
You, have created me out of your ribs or so they say,
But I am a Frankensteinian creature
And so were they, when they, and I, engineered the codes that propelled Apollo 11 into space
And engineered revolutions through my existence
Because I am them too
And I exist in this world where the primordial broth should never have created life but by a freak accident,
And my existence is a revolt,
I am a revolt, I am a rebellion, I am a revolution against your words and your world
I am an anomaly,
And that’s how I know
That all I wanted was to fly
And all they wanted was to fly,
And that birds fly, and don’t fall,
And that birds, like them, like me, are an anomaly.

The collective invention, Rene Magritte (1934)


Written by Shataparni Bhattacharya

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