May 02, 2019
Are You FREE?

Are you free to follow your heart? Not now, says the women.

by Dr. Sonia Vashishta Oberoi
Culture // Prose & Poem
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HE, my tiny little heart, asked me,

Hey woman, Are you free?

Are you free to listen to ME,

follow ME, chase ME?

I, who was busy cooking and cleaning, replied,

I am not, but I am going to be,

Give me a few days then I’ll be free.

After a few days HE asked again

Are you free?

I, who was busy taking care of the home and the hearth, replied,

I am not, but I am trying to be,

Give me a few months then I’ll be free.

After a few months HE asked again, a little annoyed,

Are you free?

I, who was busy tending kids, replied,

I am not, but I want to be,

Give me a few years then I’ll be free.

After a few years HE asked being a little impatient,

Hey, Are you free?

I, who was busy raising kids,

Looking after my old in-laws,

Supporting my husband,

Making everyone happy in the family, replied,

I am not, but I wish to be,

Give me a few decades then I’ll be free.

After a few decades finally I got free,

Laying freely in my bed,

I waited eagerly for HIM to ask once again.

HE asked, just for the sake of asking,

Are you free?

HIS sad tone alarmed me.

Yes, I am.

I told enthusiastically

Trying to think positively.

But HE said sardonically

No use now. Time is over for you and ME!

I got frightened and checked in the mirror

I couldn’t recognize that old woman there

I put my hand on HIM to feel the beat

I could only hear a faint whisper.

HE, my tiny little heart, was beating sadly

A lifetime of neglect had made HIM unhappy

In fact, HE was just waiting to stop

To make me FREE for eternity.

I patted HIM gently and consoled HIM.

Ok. No problem dear heart!

May be, I’ll be free to follow YOU

and chase YOU

and do whatever YOU want me to do,

in my next birth.

Till then YOU wait, be patient.

HE, my tiny little heart, fluttered,

heaved a deep sigh and uttered,

“Oh, these women!

Women will be Women!”

Ilustrasi oleh Adhitya Pattisahusiwa

Writer and Educator, Dr Sonia Vashishta Oberoi, is Ph D in African-American Literature. She hails from India and is shifted to Jakarta last year. Her writings have also been published in Jakarta Post. Many of her academic writings have been published in various national and international journals. Her blog is https://thinkotopia.wordpress.com/