I am so fortunate to have a daughter,
Who fills my days with laughter.
But every day as I see her growing,
I am filled with dread and foreboding.
For what kind of world I have brought her in?
Is this the place I want her to live in?
I tell her not to speak to strangers
I tell her not to trust uncles and neighbours.
I teach her to always doubt everyone
I pray every moment she’ll be hurt by no one.
I teach her about good touch, bad touch
And never ever to reveal too much.
Don’t look any one in the eye
Don’t you aim for the sky.
Work hard and be dependent
Don’t go out without a male attendant.
Keep your feet on the ground
Hold your tongue with elders around.
No short dresses, I dictate
No ever going out on a date.
No boy friends, no affairs
No heartbreaks, lead a life that’s bare
No making out ever with any knave
Must be a virgin, till marital rape.
Learn to bear your every pain
For crying out loud will be a shame.
There will be no one beside your bed
To hold a compress to your forehead.
Never demand, always give
And give, till there is nothing left to give.
No harsh words, no voicing your opinion
Rather it would be better if you have no opinion.
This list is not exhaustible by any stretch, my dear
I’ll keep adding nos and donts as my eyes clear
For they are filled with unshed tears
And this heart is squeezed with unsaid fears
I curse myself for bringing this curse upon you
Oh darling! It’s your misfortune to be born as you!
I regret deeply that this all must be told
Life as a woman is fraught with dangers and miseries untold.