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This is the beginning of the end. 


The mandap's heavy veil oppresses me

as do the rose colored glasses of my veil

Father, whose blood runs in my veins, 

takes my hand in his and gives me away. 


My future husband places his hand on top of mine 

strategically, an eagle claiming its sky. 

Mother places the delicate lotus flower of my fate

upon his hand as she gives me away. 


The priest pours holy water from the Kalash, 

onto his hand and onto the lotus, 

the petals quiver as they lose their scent 

mourning the loss of their essence 


as they give themselves away. 


Father lowers his gaze and removes his hand

Mother whispers a prayer and seals my fate 

then she, too, lowers her gaze.

I am a land my parents have renounced

I am the raging fire always doused

I am the name in history deliberately erased,

favored instead is a son's grace. 

Salt water streams out my eyes and down my pale face

I do not dare look back as I give myself away.


This is the beginning of the end. 


BY Manushri Gaikwad


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