But then, also follow lines from Jayanta Mahapatra's "The Lost Children of America" (the text once available online is now only found in fragments), in which the poet makes a reference to a horrific event:
In the Hanuman Temple last nightthe priest’s pomaded jean-clad sonraped the squint-eyed fourteen-year fisher girlon the cracked stone platform behind the shrineand this morningher father found her at the police stationassaulted over and over again by four policemendripping of darkness and of scarlet death.
Oh! I wanted to concentrate on the positives. But tragedy is quite inextricably woven in the acts of reflection on contemporary times. How I wanted to identify with Ezekiel the aesthete but am not able to shake off the crude reality of violence that's so much a part of men's psyche. Wait! Why only men's psyche? Sujata Bhatt interrogates the revered figure of mother in "Voice of the Unwanted Girl". Extracts from the poem follow:
Mother, I am the oneyou sent awaywhen the doctor told youI would bea girl – In the end they had togive me an injection to kill me.Before I died I heardthe traffic rushing outside, the monsoonslush, the wind sulking throughyour beloved Mumbai –I could have clutched the neon blue.....................................no one wanted –No one wantedto touch me – except later in the autopsy roomwhen they knew my mouth would not searchfor anything – and my head could be measuredand bent and cut apart.I looked like a sliced pomegranate.The fruit you never touched.Mother, I am the one you sent awaywhen the doctor told youI would be a girl – your second girl.
These are the first two paragraphs; the actual poem is slightly longer. It is from Sujata Bhatt's anthology My Mother's Way of Wearing a Sari (New Delhi: Penguin, 2000).
As I had a baby, a son, recently I can in a strange way relate with this poem. The instinctive actions and reactions of a child (my mouth would not search for anything) are so vivid in my mind that it breaks my heart to read this poem. I am also aware of unspoken yet tremendous pressure created by family, society and part of our inner selves to bring forth a son, that I think I will always feel tender for a girl child.