A girl from a small town

What does a girl from a small town know?

Lotsa things. You’d be surprised.

Let’s get the obvious ones out first …

She can cook like a recipe book that came alive – picture perfect, lip-smacking cuisines.
She can draw, or doodle, masterpieces with an ordinary ball pen
She can stitch those gaping holes in your pants’ crotch
And if you had your heart broken, she can stitch that too.
She can wake up at 6 am every damn morning
She can find the best store to buy the groceries that a cheapstake like you can never afford
She can manage a household for less than $15/month

And now for the hatke ones…

She holds a penchant for the arts
Yes, her ‘small town’ never had any popular celebrities.
But she was familiar with
World-class music and international dance styles,

She knows all the renowned painters,
artists, writers, directors,
storytellers, variety performers…

Some of them are her role models.
Some, her inspirations
Some, are rivals.

She has a deep set desire to travel the world

Go on adventures to exotic places
Will herself to stand at Niagara’s edge,
Walk through the temples at Angkor Wat
Marvel at the world’s greatest natural beauties
Like the aurelius borealis
and the Great Reef

She covets cross cultural experiences
To watch the rich colors on the Chinese Dragon
To tour Europe
To vacation at a beach and read her favourite book

She wants to meet new people
She can easily be friends with anybody
Young or Old

And she can handle people like a B-O-S-S

She has a strong opinion
And she can speak her mind,
unlike your feeble voice,
hers is much, much more intelligent and driven

She has a life goal
She has a life purpose
She has a life awe
She has a life.

I almost forgot,
She even wants to be a Don,
a good kind of Don, like Basha.
No kidding.

So yeah, a small-town girl has everything in the world
but your ludicrous conceit.

Dedicated to my mother.

She is an amazing lady from Coimbatore. About 25 years ago, Coimbatore was largely considered a “small town” compared to Madras. In some ways, it still is only a quasi-metro.

My mother was completely misunderstood by her in-laws. According to them, she was only a ‘small-town’ girl and wasn’t deserving of my dad. The truth is, they were a bunch of conceited egoists who weren’t half the woman she was. 

Today, as the administrative officer of an esteemed Trust’s hospital she has journeyed through many roles including a businesswoman, an IT professional, a BPO head and a homemaker.


If she could speak…

I miss you, Amma.
I miss you everyday.

Why did you leave me here and go away?

Was I not what you had expected?
Did you not like me when I was born?
Or did you see some defect in me?

Did my biological father want to give me away?
Or maybe put an end to my life, because I was a girl?

You put me away for adoption the day I was born – I forgive you.
I know you have your reasons.
And I’m sure you loved me.
I know you must.

Because I love you – albeit not knowing you,
I love you, Amma.

But I’m angry that you haven’t tried to contact me yet.

I’m so angry that I start crying.
Other times,
I simply lie awake – crying and unable to stop.
It’s just beyond me, this torrent of tears.

I don’t belong here, Amma.
It’s all so strange.

These people have so many criteria for love!

Whoever needs criteria to love?
You just love. That’s all.

They are oddballs, these folks.

Why did you leave me with these strangers, Amma?
They are calling themselves my ‘parents’ now.

They aren’t really people, Amma.
One of them is a monster and the other is a ghost.

The monster scares me, Amma.
She growls at me;
She hits me;
She spites me;

The ghost is her partner.
He doesn’t do anything much
Most of the times he just stares as the monster tortures me.
But on rare occasions,
he spits out ugly & disgusting stuff.

And because they are not people,
they are not capable of listening and talking
and sharing like normal humans.

They know only the supernatural law of communication.
‘Kill it before it kills you.’

Oh, and she loves to threaten me with this game of lives, Amma.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve wondered –
“Should I kill it before it kills me?”

What do you think, Amma? Should I kill it?
How can I commit such a heinous crime?
How can I not, knowing that if I don’t, it will kill me first?

I don’t like living among such monsters and ghosts, Amma.

The monster and the ghost are a match made in Hell.
Because they deserve each other.

But what did I do to deserve them?
Why did you choose to punish me like this, Amma?

I’ve grown up now,
After asking too many ‘wrong’ questions
I have learnt to finally shut my mouth.

So I won’t ask you anymore of those Why questions.

But I beg of you,
Please take me away.
Please take me away to anywhere that’s normal.
Please take me away to where you are.

I promise I’ll kick the bucket hard this time.

-Awaiting your reply,
Your abandoned orphan.


Notes by Author: 

Amma – means ‘mom’ in a lot of different languages, specially from the South Indian region.

What I have attempted to show in this poem is the yearning of a child who doesn’t have a voice, in the figurative sense. She is a grown up woman but her inner child yearns for the motherly love that she hasn’t received at her adopted parents’ place.