a poem by Rita Joyce Singh, India

Lord Shiva summoned the goddess into his presence
After all he had created her grand essence
To rage like a man, but resilient like a woman
Outfitted to defy conventions, all acts inhuman

This was not a goddess to be taken lightly
He had eight armed her with weapons of destruction; she was spritely
Her wrath wreaked havoc ,her laughter earthquake
A war queen raining warriors in her wake

Lord Shiva noticed his heaven was turning blue, unhappy
Goddess Durga was angry -taking on the Kali form-he better act snappy
He would have to permit her to go down to earth
Discontent in his abode would speak on his worth

So, the unstoppable of temper- never to be cowed
The goddess Durga came before her Lord , quietly she bowed
Shiva had nought to worry as he quickly could gauge
It was not the Kali-war she wanted to wage

Dearest Durg, he queried, what troubles you
Lord my creator..anger is turning me blue
You’ve endowed women with intellect and common sense
Yet, they fall prey to social pretense

She continued in a huff,Lord, I’m all for these markets
Earthy profits in the ‘skin deep’ rackets
Sponsored beauty pageants
Ms World, Earth, Universe as their pretty agents

I am happy too, that Indian buyers feature good
And the privileged Ms India represents Indian womanhood
Such lovely legs , such dusky features
A quick mind, exotic creatures

This ‘bone china’ though, needs hordes of instructors- to teach her to talk
How to face off questions, how to shashay walk
Every move, they grill her
Dress rehearsals, drill her

Every subject that she aught
To know is taught
World news, cultures, statistics
Gym-toned for perfect 36-24-36.

With newly straightened teeth she smiles
Waxes national pride, catwalks, beguiles
And in the final round
A sieve of judges find her fit and sound

Lord, I don’t mean to deride
Pageants in my birth country or worldwide
But I’m fuming at its downside
What justice does a pageant crown decide
And no! I don’t contend the Miss World title
The Indian woman’s true story is much,much more vital
Let me descend to meet that Indian beauty
It’s time I ‘instructed’ her on her real duty.

Lord Shiva dare not smile, though filled with pride
This was his handiwork- a woman-goddess who rode astride
A lion and heralded fear, vanquished the injust,the evil
Welcomed and worshipped as Kali-the awesome death-daredevil

Well, I can see you have a point
Said Lord Shiva, just don’t throw Ms India off kilter or joint,
Certainly, do go down
But don’t tweak her coiffure or rip her gown

These tinsel life beauties are all Karma
Of course, I realize I have created you for duty and dharma
Go down to earth, by all means, you must,
Duty and justice with you I entrust

Durgama took off literally, through the heavens , a sky diver or para glider
Free fall, spinning her eight arms like a spider
Descended into a tall glitzy room, from a ceiling much wider
Drew close to the resting Miss India and sat down beside her

Ms India full throated died off a scream
As quickly Durgama felled her into a state of dream
Durgama spoke in a hissing voice
Girl, I’m sorry, but you left me no choice

She added,Justice ursurped by social malpractice is a nay
Now pay attention, these eight arms have something to say
Each arm bore a speaking ghoulish head,
Each ghoul an emanciated woman, dead.

The first spoke: Years of history and fools of time, Accused me of that one crime
That I’m but a female born, Worthy only of deceit and scorn

The second spoke: Godless men and social laws, Set a curse upon my cause
In one fell stroke -in one accord, cut loose the umbilical cord

The third spoke: The foetus , like garbage -I lay heaped aside,
Strange was the irony beside, that before my birth, I had died.

The fourth spoke: As mother, wife or a girl child, I live life stricken, hungry, defiled, no powers to weild, Eventhough, It’s human destiny I shield

The fifth spoke: My life breeds a multitude, Inspite of endless ingratitude
Imagine law on the culprit’s side, For every dowry death…girl-infanticide.

The sixth spoke:It is deemed a sacrilege, to grant me even one privilege
With fevered brows I have nursed, Borne the blows and been cursed

The seventh spoke: Justice is my name, I shall not be violated..likewise ignored, battered, mutilated, wrecked and filled with shame.
The eighth spoke: Woman, your laurels are manifold, Your efforts are gild with gold
And sporting your long legs may not be impropriety
But be careful – what you project in an unequal society.

The rest of this story is hardly important
Ms World was crowned- an every year constant
That vision vanished in a flurry of arms
Leaving chastisement – the least of all harms

Ah! Now folks, you have realized …Durga’s descent was all fiction
The only truth and point is our intense beauty addiction
Women still are underlings in many places…. in multitudes
What crown? What World, What attitudes?

Laxmi, Durga or Kali we worship these goddesses
How now, we worship women who bear all excesses
Such brave hearts, such caring features
A selfless life, devoted creatures.

What use are pageants , screen tests and all that circus
So much, noise about beauty with a purpose
They blow hot air about women’s causes, they cover Somalia, hunger and HIV
But coverage is mostly of the most beautiful on T.V.

Note : Please note I am a teacher too. I shall be most happy if readers consult Wikepedia for history of Goddess Durga, words like Karma, Dharma and statistics on sub continent women status on any world site.

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