The Lady in Red
Out in the dark summer night,
On a lit up street with rushing cars,
Stands a lady in a red saree.
She's quite beautiful.
Wearing heavy lipstick of the same shade,
A wonderfully drawn liner,
And wrists adorned with red glass bangles.
She smiles at each car.
A precarious smile.
And mystery cloaks her eyes.
I think she's talking to herself.
Something she's telling herself to do.
Occasionally she touches her hair,
And blushes, batting her soft eyelids.
It was getting late.
I glanced at my watch.
A nasty rain started to wet the streets.
The lady quickly went inside a rusty door,
Muttering some blatant curses.
Three doors beside hers was another that held a peculiar sign--
"This is a decent man's house"
And some more doors after that.
A few minutes later the lady came out
The rain had slowed down to a drizzle
She scanned the area
Then she gestured to someone inside the door
A little girl came out this time
In a pink frock and a ponytail
They both sat down at the porch
The lady's mascara started to run
But she still looked ravishing
They laughed about something
The child exclaimed through her crooked milk teeth
Her mother fixing her hair
My soul ached to know their stories
The bewildering tales of the lady's eyes
Somewhere in their hearts is trapped a jar of memories
That they shut and buried deep down
Memories of torture, betrayal, deceit
Hazy images of people they didn't know
Bodies being sold for money
The pain carried by the lady's eyes.
The first few days were tough
So many desires to douse
Black finger marks across their fair cheeks
Diseases creeping up their blood
Then they got used to it
And turned their backs to society forever
Stamped the mark of shame and rejection
Their world inside that one rusty door
And the visitors of course.
Now it was all jolly
The child had fallen asleep on her mother's lap
Tired from the ecstatic contentment
The lady picked up the girl
And was about to disappear behind the door
When a man in a black coat trotted up to her
She glared at him
After a brief exchange of words
She summoned him inside with a disgusted face
Putting a finger on her red lips
Signaling him to keep quiet
The door closed behind him
And the rain started again as heavily as before.
It baffles me
The stories of these women
Their rebellious acceptance of a cruel fate
And they bravely face the world
Despised as dead and ruined