I should not have to look both sides
Before I cross a one-way road,
Or hesitate on a pavement because
Bikes have claimed it as their own.
I shouldn’t have to manoeuvre
Open drains on every street
Or drive through the same old pot-holes
That only get worse every week.
I shouldn’t be afraid to go
Outside because it’s night,
Or have to share my cab details
Just to feel safe, every time.
I should be able to hold hands
And hug, and kiss a cheek,
Without my character being judged
By all the old aunties.
I should not need to specify
Or explain or change the clothes I wear
To please society.
I should be able to wear tight jeans
Or a dress above the knee
Without being sexualised and cat-called
For being “too slutty”.
If I’m walking down a road
I don’t want to see you pee.
I don’t want to see you jerking off
As I feel your eyes on me.
I don’t want to hear you clear your throat
As you spit right near my feet.
I shouldn’t need to tell you to use a bin
And not litter on every street.
So many things I should not do
So many things I wish I could
But I suppose it’s harsh reality
My society’s just not very good.
I know we all appreciate certain things about the place we come from; for instance, I love the weather in Bangalore. I love the people I know in Bangalore. I love the many great places I have to go eat and drink and spend time with friends. But when I compare the things I love to the things I hate (the traffic, the roads, the mindset) I feel like that love is really quite superficial. And I feel ashamed. Ashamed that this poem is entirely accurate, and based on experiences I have had. Ashamed that this truly is the place I come from. Ashamed that this is the place I associate myself with, and this is the place I call home.
There are problems with my society. And I truly wish that we could fix them.