26 Jan 1987

Dear diary,                                                            
I had a dream, more like a nightmare,
I was running relentlessly, with naked feet on the tartar,
I was shaking, certainly afraid of something or someone,
It was a rare look, considering my forbidding face,
I kept looking back, as if trying to escape danger,
Now I wonder what it was though?
The affliction was quite evident,   
But it was not just pain or fear, 
 It was also anger at possibly my own defeat,
It seemed as if I had given up trying, 
Possibly trying to tackle each role as perfectly as it is,
Mother, lover, wife, daughter, bahu, sister, aunty, and what else?
It was as if I had bowed down for good,
I was running, still running, but couldn’t exactly figure why?
But there I was, just running on and on, 
Perhaps I was frightened,
To be caught back and buried again in the deep rut,
To be judged and disciplined,
So, I was just running,
Possibly, trying to escape the wicked circuit,
Afraid of being taken for bondage,
Of being shut inside bars by people who claim to love,
Of not being good enough,
Of children who take me for granted,
Of Somesh who with his job in the city, comes home only to fulfil his needs,
Of Saansu who thinks Mrs’ Sharma’s bahu makes better fritters,
So, I ran, courageously, endlessly and as far as I couldn’t imagine, 
I had a nightmare, more like a satisfactory dream,
I was running relentlessly, with naked feet on the tartar.
With devotion,


About the Sukshma Series:

The Sukshma Series is a first-hand account of an educated woman of post-colonial India reflecting on how the social and political set-up of the country defined the status of an Indian woman.

The title of the poems is “Sukshma”, the title is very deliberate because Sukshma essentially means dormant energy and in the context of the central character’s feelings, it is quite pertinent. Sukshma is an educated middle-class house-wife in the 1980s in India. Sukshma maintains a personal diary in which she scribbles about her emotions, fears and anxieties in her life and expresses them only through the medium of poems. Evidently, her writing is mature and literary, but she is torn between the responsibilities of the household, family, children and the rigid social structures of the society that prohibit her aesthetic ability to write, so she keeps them private and writes very irregularly. Sukshma keeps her writing energy dormant and concealed from the rest of the society because she fears the aftermath of being deviant. Through her writing, she speaks volumes about her predicament as an Indian woman and reflects on the violence and horrors of her critical situation.

Previous poems in the series: UnturnedKitchenetteSilk VeilIt is a good dayMaWitch of the nightBangles, Violated


Palak Nagpal

Palak Nagpal finished pursuing Masters in Writing and Literature from Deakin University, Australia and completed a thesis on post-colonial feminism in India. Palak is a voracious reader and a passionate writer and also a chai-lover.