Sati [1] and Mannequin

I have seen so many naked mannequins

That I like the clothed ones better now.

When I see long legs – shiny and clean-shaven –

It gives me that feeling, I can’t even express:

Their thighs or knees or shin;

Their pedicured toes,

Now I feel like vomiting;

Or even a bright nail paint on their toenails,

My body tremors and their sight gives me goosebumps.


I hear them whispering among themselves. I don’t know why?

That look, they give me. As if, I was a nomad from some dungeon

(Who had no sense of beauty. Particularly, their sense of it.);

As if, I was an innocent willy-nilly child;

(Or to put it bluntly) As if, I was impotent

Who could do absolutely nothing,

Which those square jaws with a waxed moustache could do.


Their glance, those looks in their eyes.

Something was missing from it.

When they gazed upon me. There was something astonishing

About the larger picture which I couldn’t figure out,

Which they were weaving in the background.



(There was no virility in their glances.

It was there earlier when I had their conventional sense.)


Why nobody gives a damn to Sarees[2],

Properly worn by ladies or Salwar[3] Kameez;

Why mothers are always shown to be shackled by a Dupatta

And not by Jeans or Skirts;

Why everything has turned into a political statement,

Or who wins the most allies;

Why Bras are suddenly into fashion

And nobody gives a shit about what is worn above them.


Why respect is given to those

Who are lost in a herd,

Or who bray or bleat in everything;

Why not to the ones inside our homes

Who drape their shiny bones inside dignity and elegance.

When I hit the streets now,

Every glance that my eyes meet,

Something is gone forever from them,

Something for me, something for elegance.

[1] Sati: A former practice in India whereby a widow threw herself on to her husband’s funeral pyre.

Here it represents tradition, exclusively in the Indian context.

[2] Sari: A garment consisting of a length of cotton or silk elaborately draped around the body, traditionally worn by women from South Asia.

[3] Salwar: A pair of light, loose, pleated trousers, worn by women from South Asia typically with a kameez.


Utsav Kaushik’s voice is deep set in the grey shades of North India. Those voices that have been silenced, his poetry boldly speaks for those. His poems have been published in LondonGrip, The Paragon Journal, The Anapest, Indian Review, Hawaii Review, Ashvamegh…the Literary Flight, InkSweatTears, Indian Ruminations, Linden Avenue Literary, etc.

July 10, 2018

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