Shreya Reddy

Chadhuvu

(definition: Study)  ( a poem about an inspiration human known as my grandma)

It started with a drought,

Indian soil does not thrive without rain.

The nature of the conflict that followed

Was one the fourth generation too,
years later

on a different a longitude

would get to know well.

              Money and property

can mean everything to some.

 

Maybe it was the ambition
Given to her by her mother
                           

That made her the first,

The first
   

The first to leave,
Modhati ammai

          The first,
Because
           Girls don’t go out
Girls don’t get past grade five
           They stay within the village which confines,
and decides for them that grades
            Six,
                      seven,
                                    eight,
                                               nine,
                                                         ten,
                                                                 eleven,
                                                                                twelve,
Don’t exist in their world.
After all,
                                                                                                         they didn’t for their mothers.


Safety, and her father said no,
Because the deep water well
                                                                      

The only source for life

Could easily
          suck
          her
          down

                 And drown her
                         out.


Girls don’t get out
Her doctor said no,

                                                            She was weak:
bleeding more than girls should,
                         But doing better than girls should.

In a school with a tenfold difference,
5 girls                                           50 boys,
her ears
drowned in teasing voices,
                                    she came in first.

In the middle of these voices,
She heard the one passed down to her
by her teachers,
                                                             
and solidified by her mother.

The one she internalized,
and made her own

Chadhuvu

This is the voice she passed down to her children
And passes down to her grandchildren today.

The path easily blurred and obscured
By money and property,
                                     By marriage and conflict,
By outside voices
                          
                        By drought,

   Is illuminated clearly with her voice.


Shreya Reddy is a first-year student in the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston University. Her work has never been published. She is a Sociology major and Visual Arts minor.