Should I Resist Tonight?

She waits behind the barred window
Obscured by a half-drawn blind
Cautiously peeping out from that perch
At the tarred broken road circling
The house like an angry serpent.

Midnight knock that she dreads
And the one with staggering legs
Heavy hairy fists
Glittering cold eyes of an agitated mamba in a silk suit
And a lisping voice smelling of cheap tobacco!
She prays to the silent gods earnestly
That, O Mighty!
Last night does not get repeated.
And the morning after—
Dark glasses.

Swollen lips and the standard domestic violence lie,
heard globally:
I slipped…again on the concrete!
As minutes tick painfully slow and heart beats rise
Dogs bark menacingly and a blood-thirsty
Dracula comes alive;
Thin spouse knows within a cynical heart
Her prayers are not getting answered
For months together in her short married life;
And she prepares mentally for another night
Of violence and mayhem!
Adjust! Adjust! He will change!
That is the daily chant of in-laws/her parents.
We cannot afford a divorce.
And the stigma.
Her kids are asleep, peacefully
Home sweet is transformed into a horror den
During the long nights.

Find the courage.
Shout out.
Walk out.

That is a survivor’s classic guide.
Will she ever? Asks co-workers, hushed voice.
Hidden in darkness
She waits in silent agony—
For the recurring nightmare, a family drama, with no finale.
Should I stand up against the brute tonight?

Sunil Sharma, a senior academic and author-freelance journalist from the suburban Mumbai, India. He has published 20 books so far, some solo and joint. He edits Setu: Read other articles by Sunil, or visit Sunil's website.