May 8, 2008


Chilling news, disbelief
Just too choked to weep
Lifeless eyes
Only twenty-one
Lingering innocence
Life of bereavement
She hardly grieved
But collected
And subjugated
To age-old customs
Plonked around women
And hired lamentators
Veil tossed, arms tugged
Bangles pulled off, broken
And off the forehead
With one violent sweep
Her Sindoor is wiped off !

Hindu women use vermillion known as Sindoor, said to represent strength and love, only after they are married. It is applied as a line filling the dividing part of a woman’s hair or as a decorative dot on the forehead. Sindoor is a sign of marriage in Hinduism.


backpakker said...

these customs dont die..

Indrani said...

Twenty one... too early in life... very touching

Congratulations on your century! :)

sheru said...

soon to be in my head too :) the sindoor mean!

indicaspecies said...


Time for more action then. Let's do our bit.

indicaspecies said...


Let it 'touch' the right chords of those people and us for some much needed changes.:)

indicaspecies said...


May you have the sindoor on you for a long long time to come and may you be spared from experiencing the distressing emotions expressed in this post. *hugs*

Aditi said...


indicaspecies said...


But have we done enough or even made an attempt to break those 'Uff customs' that are detrimental to the society?

Have a nice day. :)

Vinni said...

Customs...Well Imagine what our Hindi Films would have done if this custom would have not been there :-)

Nice poetry... What made you think of this?

Anonymous said...

Too many questions popping into my head. Is this someone you were close to, friend or relative? - (You don't have to answer)

indicaspecies said...


Welcome aboard. Do drop in sometimes. :)

A happy theme or at least a less disturbing topic could be chosen for Hindi films, right?

And thanks, glad you like the poetry. Someone told me recently that I can be a good activist. So, here I am. ;)

indicaspecies said...


No, this isn't about anyone in particular. It's meant as a general portrayal of the culture in some parts of India.

Hey, ask me the questions, and truly I'd be pleased to answer them all. In fact, I want the questions to come forth so I can answer, and we discuss and understand better, and learn from each other.

Besides, that's part of the beauty of this blog world. :)

Cuckoo said...

Celine, oh this is so touchy and personal. Like Chewy, I too wonder who this could be. And my heart says...

I'll be happy if you don't reply to this.

maravind said...

sad :(

But the way Sindoor is given stress makes it sounds too feminish!

Ick! I hate things that are feminish. :p

BTW, poor girl!

indicaspecies said...


Thanks. Hey, it's nothing personal.

Please see my comments above to Chewy. :)

indicaspecies said...


This is an issue of about culture here, and so for now, I'd prefer to keep the topic of gender aside.

Btw, I believe in equal rights of human beings, and I will not opine on feminism or anything related thereto on this post.

Have a lovely evening. :)

vijay said...

"sindoor" is more then that what u have mentioned in ur poem.A belief of hindu women, A sign of her love for his hubby,a proud feeling of being complete in all sense, a sense of security n .......

this is true that we people dont see positive of our customs n have never tried to understand the sense behind these customs. manipulative n bad form of customs (this is "UFF CUSTOMS" sort of custom)are now present everywhere in our society n we should try to eradicate these bad form of customs not our /everyones right form of custom(binding of love /acts as binding force among human being).

vijay said...

lovely poem .i appreciate n respect celine writing skill, her truth telling capability in poetic form .

*~*Sameera*~* said...

That was an excellent attempt at the fifty-five thing,but so tragic!Wonder when widows will be treated as normal human beings...

Michele Benjamin RN, MSN said...

so many customs.....
so many beautiful things in the Indian culture.
and yet so many things that progress so slowly......
"the power of the tribal mind, which is group thought. It's where we all start, and encompasses family, ethnicity, religion, political ideas, and trends. If your energy is plugged into group thought, you will function, create and heal at the speed of the group."-Myss

I have never witnessed such a powerful thing as the Indian culture.
My room mate from college, Sangita, introduced me to so much beauty.
so much tradition and respect for elders and taking care of your family...and importance of family and such wonderful food and beautiful clothes and ceremonies.
but so much to think about for her and what she wanted to pass on to her own kids.
so many conscious choices we get to make now.....
loved the poem Celine.

Tina said...

Very powerful images. I admire your talent.

indicaspecies said...


You have voiced a good point, and I agree that customs and traditions play an important part in the culture of India. It's not right that we do not try to understand them, most us do, and admire so much as well. Holding on to one's values and beliefs in these traditions has been going on and it will continue to be so.

However, there is a need to eradicate some evils that are still prevalent, for example, the issue of dowry, the treatment of widows in certain rural parts of India etc. Fortunately these social norms are slowly breaking down.

Thank you for your comment and your kind words. :)

indicaspecies said...


Thank you. You ought to try it too, you talented one. Please do and let me know.

As to widows, like I said above, the trend is thankfully changing. :)

indicaspecies said...


I am glad you have had a chance to get acquainted with a part of the Indian culture through Sangita.

Yes, Indian culture is very beautiful, interesting and so diversified. There are however, some archaic customs and rituals that are detrimental like the treatment of widows in certain rural areas, as this post indicates. Fortunately, the trend of those social norms is slowly,but surely, breaking down.

I hope you get a chance to actually travel to India and experience some of that culture first hand.

Am glad that you liked my bit of poetry. Thank you for your comment. :)

indicaspecies said...


Welcome. Thank you for passing by, and for your kind words. Hope you drop in sometimes. :)

GMG said...

Hi Celine! Must confess that it was a bit tough to follow what was happening here, but when I read your discussion with Vijay things became much more clear! And definitely you had a point!
Thanks for your comment on Blogtrotter, where I’m now in Casablanca, however missing Ilsa Lund… ;(
Hope you have a great weekend!

indicaspecies said...


Thank you for your comment, and I hope you had a good weekend. :)

Priyank said...

Celine, your poetry has expressed the intensity very vividly.

btw, you must see this video, it might make it easy for non-Indian readers to understand;)


indicaspecies said...


Thank you for your kind words and for the link. :)

It's a funny ad on such a serious issue, ain't it?