A Jar Of Wrath
A Jar Of Wrath
Cotton garments hanging loosely from the suspended drying rod above a water-soaked rag cloth splayed across the floor a folded newspaper placed on a hand-woven dhurrie diagonally across a window an afternoon sun strolling into an empty bedroom with clean creaseless bed sheets unlit candles tea-stained walls and the hunched figure of a Northeastern woman dressed in a tired sesame kameez resting against the vertical edge of a wall calmly tossing glass crockery out of the window into the valley below.
From grandmothers to mothers to sisters generations of fury clothed in expressions of minor distress gentle discomfort and feminine modesty carefully pressed folded and stacked on shelves weighed down by old wives' tales of wisdom womanhood and untreated agony that are narrated within closed rooms at afternoon to dissuade, console, and unconsciously swallow the stale taste of marital rape, tales that call out to the magpies and misers in the streets, they call out to the men, the courteous unknown men who have left in us a certain intangible rage that will float in the hollow of our throat and the crippling silence of our mouth only to settle into the overcrowded compartments of our minds bent ends of our shoulders soapy smoothness of our hands that have compiled years and years of dismissed indignity desensitized skin and unfermented anger forgotten too soon-
A tally of times when men placed a claim on our bodies within courtrooms where we lacked the vocabulary to translate our fury into elaborate descriptions of location language and lingerie within bedrooms where we bartered our bodies for silence suppression and sympathy to outline an image of household harmony for the women in their balconies within boardrooms where we tailored our voice into an endless cacophony of interruptions unwarranted aid and patronising words that robbed our tongues of language words that we only reproduce at midnight for they dry our mouths halfway into pronunciation and all the hurried minutes when men touched our skin and gathered a handful of our flesh when men spoke of us within locker rooms like private property rented for a night when men auctioned our autonomy within parliaments with the signing of a bill with the chorus of affirmative words and with the thrumming sound of palms hitting Oak Wood desks while a woman stared at the white ceiling tiles of a maternity ward holding a child who she will never call her own-
In the midst of such upheaval our mothers held us to their bosom and asked us to fill our wrath into Mason jars and place them on the kitchen shelf beside the window they asked us to stitch our wrath into the fabric of our blouses and skirts that kept us closer to the ground - they asked us to drench our anger into threads of brotherhood tied on the wrists of men who bought our estate at a bargain who placed our anger on a scale to measure manipulate and moderate our expression to decorate it within isolating boxes and narrow definitions that confine motherhood and femininity that dictate the tonality of our voices the intensity of our gaze pour our rage into flutes of unconditional politeness sweetened rhetoric and shallow praise that censor our fury replace it with the textual interpretations of emancipation that were lost in banal translation when narratives were erased and politicians stood on pedestals to explain why textbooks must be closed lips must be lined and even anger must be quiet because anger in men is a testimony of masculinity but anger in women is a state of madness that is questioned ridiculed and mocked with disregard to the fact that every time a woman was angry history had to change its course-
From legislative bills to statutes to lives a woman's anger is destructive frightening and quieting in the way that it houses the trauma that has been diluted in the name of familial bonding motherly love and ladylike behaviour which bind us in suffocatingly stringent gender norms that have laid boundaries of acceptability that disdain women for seeking justice in a place that makes injustice sound justified a place that asks us to tame our hair domesticate our gait showcase our sexuality that is termed as obscenity when pursued willfully a place that asks women to be apologetic about portraying emotion that belongs to men-
In such a place anger in itself is rebellion - and women chose to demonstrate protest resist with an anger that made the streets shudder that wore itself like the hysterical rage that it was instead of polite sweet-nothings clothed in pretty phrases persuasive eyebrows and regulated agitation in a place where femininity was exploited on magazine covers within benevolent articles and sensational headlines fine-tuned to fit into the two-inch columns on the sides of newspapers sharing a dotted boundary with another headline that spoke about molestation in an opulent urban locality the name of which sounded unknowingly familiar where we were asked to conceal our womanhood for fear of being seen as 'domestic' and 'docile'- in such a place we chose to be mothers and congresswomen at once we chose to be angry while holding our children to our breasts we stood in the dock to scrupulously narrate every detail from the date to the address to the number plate we carried our anger with us we allowed it to occupy space in our bones because the last time a woman was angry, a constitution was rewritten.