Nikita Parik is a 22 year old poet from Calcutta, India. She holds a bachelors degree in English from the University of Calcutta, and is currently pursuing Masters in Linguistics from the same. Her works have appeared in The Voices, Femficatio, The Commonline Journal, Blackmail Press, Contemporary Literary Review India (CLRI), eFiction India, A Billion Stories, Ann Arbor Review: An International Journal Of Poetry, and others.

Weighed down by years of ‘tradition’
I ponder at my oppressors with spite…
To ‘them’ I carry the onerous weight of my hijab remarkably
But In my mind I plan a thousand strikes…
My dutiful eyes hiding the murderous intent of my mind.
I am Black, and I am Beautiful
Who dares say otherwise?
I ain’t got Rapunzel hair, or a lean body, And my nose is really wide.
BUT I’m Black, and I’m Brilliant, and I’m Beautiful
Who dares think otherwise?
And I don’t exist to wash and cook for you,
Or to fulfill your ‘needs’’
I wasn’t born to stay in ’purdah’ before your family,
But to fly high and be free.
I am every woman there is,
Every woman who is free.
I am a ‘phenomenal woman’,
“Phenomenal woman, that’s me”
The poem is titled marginalization because….Well we all know that about the thrice marginalization theory which states that a woman is marginalized three times- on the basis of her race, class and sex. This piece focuses on the racial and sexual discriminations. The first, second and third stanzas refer to Muslim, African and Hindu women respectively. The second stanza also challenges the set beauty standards that women are subjected to in the society, failing to confirm to which, unfortunately, has its consequences. This piece talks about sheroes who rise (or plan to) above these patriarchal norms. The poem ends with a refrain from a lovely poem by Maya Angelou.

THEY covered me
From head to toe
In a blackness they called burkha.
They covered me
In the name of religion
Only to uncover me
As and when they pleased.
THEY marked me
All over
With sindur, mangal-sutra, and other alternatives.
They marked me
In the name of tradition
Only to kill my identity,
My very being.
THEY asphyxiated me
In a ghunghat that blinded my vision.
They asphyxiated me
In the name of respect,
While disrespecting me all the time.
But now, I rise,
Like a phoenix from it’s ashes.
I rise to transcend above THEIR pettiness.
I rise to be free.
I rise to be me.

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