I met you for the first time in the veranda of my house,
When grandpa mentioned you to amma and her face withered like the rose in our garden.
I wondered who you were and what right did you have to make my amma feel that way.
We had an encounter again, when my uncle said it to his wife, like an ultimatum.
I wondered again who you were and why you had the power to make someone sad this way.
But I understood your true face only when I met you in person at the age of five.
I understood your obsession with girls and women. How you hovered only around them, picking on them every time.
“Helloo ‘Not Allowed’, am not pleased to meet you!
I am a princess with a unicorn,
Building home with my dolls and then I thought I ought to have a sword to protect my home.
You ruined it all ‘Not allowed’, by coming along. Hot tears ran down my cheek as I couldn’t understand why.
Why couldn’t I be the protector of my own home just because am I girl?
There was a party at a friend’s house.
I was excited and prepped for it all week. It was to be my first party as a teenager.
The day came and I put on a dress. ‘Stop’ boomed a voice, ‘Where are you going dressed that way?’ inquired my uncle.
‘Not allowed’ peeked out from behind him with a devilish grin. A shadow that refused to leave me alone.
I cried myself to sleep, cursing for being a girl. ‘Oh how I wish I would be a boy, just like my brother who nobody questions.’
I grew up, started work but ‘Not allowed’ never seemed to go away.
Like a clingy ex-boyfriend who feels he owns you no matter you want to be owned or be with him.
I grew older and the elders promised it would go away once marriage came along.
So I frantically wanted ‘the one’ to come along as soon as possible, so I could be free finally!
But oh poor me, noone told marriage would bring along the twin of ‘Not allowed’ and now there would be two instead of one.
Chained and forced into things I never wanted to do. I cursed again for being a girl!
‘Why, why?’, I sobbed into my ‘only’ one’s shirt and saw in his eyes my pain mirrored.
‘They promised, it would go away’, I mumbled in my sleep.
As the days passed by, I noticed hoards of ‘Not Allowed’s’ hovering over every woman in the household -my mother, aunt, mother in law, sister, friend and even that 2 year old girl child.
A chill ran down my spine, ‘Will it never go? Won’t I ever be free?Will none ever be free?’
‘No!’ rang a voice. Everyone seemed to shudder as they stared at me and I wondered why.
‘No’ said the voice again and it was mine. The ‘Not allowed’ seemed to squirm a little at the sound of it.
‘No!’, I said it again louder and the ‘Not Allowed’ started to fade away…
‘You will no more run my life, you will no more shut me up. No more will you stand in my way to do things I want too.’
‘You will no more rule me or anyone around me. You no more have the power over me. I am free. I am who I am and do what I wish too!’
‘Everyone is free and no gender rules will ever bind them because of you!’
‘You are not allowed!’, I let out a scream as the chains fell off my shoulder.