The Widow

A white moth or a black crow,

East or West,

The woman goes about

In a world without brightness,

No rainbow hues to lighten

The life made barren by death,

A crippled life with broken wings

And severed limbs.

Death detaches a pair!

The Indian widow,

Dashed her bangles

And muted them for ever;

In washed out, colorless white, and

The vermilion wiped off her forehead,

She entered as the bad omen

At births and weddings.

Draped in black crepe and veiled,

The Western widow fared no better.

A daughter, wife, a mother,

And often a grandmother,

She was somebody’s someone.

In stoic silence or in muted sighs,

She yearned for security

That had forsaken her.

The funeral meats turned cold

And the widow turned

To face a changed world.

In the East or in the West,

The widow, often, faced

A life of undefined terms

And defined abandonment.

But, for the widower,

There were no strictures,

White clothes or black clothes,

The ominous reminders

Of death’s parting

And the loss of love and life!

3 thoughts on “The Widow

  1. Very moving. They say time heals, but your wound is still so fresh and will be reopened when Varghese is buried on the 22nd. We leave tonight for New Orleans, so I will be off line for several weeks. I hope we can spend time together when I return. My thoughts are with you. Liz

  2. You have captured it –the life of an Indian widow so well. My friend in Florida lost her husband in 1986 while she was young and over night her life changed — white sari, no jewelry, no more onion or garlic or other spices in her food etc. I always wondered why? Why should she suffer so much more, on top of losing her life partner?? She would not attend weddings or birthday parties or baby showers, for fear she will cast bad omen or karma.

    In the olden times “sati” was common practice, but modern beliefs are still cruel.

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