Once upon a time

Let me at the outset warn you, this is far from a fairy tale. I started with the intention of writing one. In fact, I wrote two recently but after the first two lines this took a different turn and after a lot of deliberation, I have decided to share it. It is not my story. But it is the story of many and after almost a year, it has swept across India too.

Once upon a time
Not very long ago
I was a naive underling
And you were a strong satrap
I looked up to you
Idolising you in a way
Your presence in my life
Should have enriched it
But it didn’t
I felt guilty
I felt polluted and dirty
I sort of felt sorry
For falling short
I had limited options
For no one believed me
I was told it was nothing
I was lucky
And maybe it was my fault
And I should be grateful
That it was not that bad
So I pushed this far back
Into an airless, dark closet
For no one to see
Away from my eyes too
And carried on
As if nothing had happened
But the burden
Of that denial
Killed my soul a bit
Slumped my shoulders a bit
Jaded my smile a bit
For years this corpse in the closet
Though unseen
Was a miasmic cloud
In my life
So when I had the courage
To lay this stinking ghost to rest
I laid to rest my shame
Not for glory I confessed
I just wanted to stand tall
I am asked, “Why now?”
Why doesn’t someone say,
“Thank god, high time!”
But then, I did it for me
I am who I am
What you did to me
Does not define me
But it does define you
For life
Now is my happily ever after.


Day 18: Once upon a time


34 thoughts on “Once upon a time

  1. My only complaint about this poem is that you should not feel the need to apologize for it.
    Your words resonate with me.
    21 years ago this Halloween

    Liked by 1 person

  2. so well said, i feel the anger, hurt and also reconciliation with ones self, nothing someone does should ever defines us, we cannot bear their sin upon us. I love the strength of your words and conviction. you use the might of the written word so beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. it is heartbreaking that they lived in silence for so long. i dare not walk down that path of remembering, it will undo me. but i support those who have a story to tell, and tell it their way, with the explicit pain and images. we owe them that much to listen and make their story known.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. they are everywhere really, in colleges and also schools, the age of the girls get younger and easily preyed upon, my heartbreaks, what is becoming of our human race?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Very well written Punam. More men and women must come out in support of these feisty women and a few men, sharing their gut wrenching experiences, finally laying their ghosts of shame to rest, once and for all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very powerful poem with an important message. Thank you Pam for writing such a beautiful poem of empowerment! #metoo The movement also has been sweeping across the US with all that’s recently happened with the Kavanagh case.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. The kind of poetry one wishes never had to be we written but how important it is to tell this story which demonstrates that we can stand up against the purveyors of evil deeds and acts.

    Liked by 1 person

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