April 2, 2010

This one is from the archives. This poem holds a special meaning for me because of two reasons:

  • It was recognized by UNICEF as a literary piece spreading awareness about child abuse, specifically that of the girl child.
  • It introduced me to my life partner — this was the first piece of my writing he encountered and was touched enough to drop me a line. The rest, as they say, is history.

This poem is based on the right of a child to be protected from abuse and exploitation.

I have not titled this poem because I want the readers to feel that just as a poem is incomplete without its title, childhood is incomplete without protection from the law.

stop child abuse2 Untitled

Dark brown eyes that are red because of crying,
All hopes of escape and freedom are dying;

Clothes have been torn, hair is a tangled mess,
The face has lost all its childishness;
Hands and feet show marks of the whip,
Blood flows down from the cracked, parched lips;
Since the past three days no food has been eaten,
Her faith in God stands totally beaten.

Only seventy-two hours have passed since the time
There was laughter in life and bright sunshine
There were mother, father, and a lovely baby brother…
So what if they lived in a hut near the gutter?
There was dearth of money and they couldn’t eat well
But life was peaceful, and who had thought of such hell?

Loving neighbors, all sweepers by profession,
Who cared, but were financially in depression.
City life was expensive and father wanted the best for his son,
So he came up with an idea that would give him returns;
The very next day he came wearing a new coat,
In his hands he held hundred rupees’ ten crisp notes;
Life changed its course from that very moment
But there was no thunder, no lightning in the firmament!

The door creaked open and light illuminated the room
That hulk of a man, that lubber, spelled doom…
The message was to ask her if she was ready to come,
A customer was waiting — his fear made her numb;
But she was too tired to resent any longer,
Moreover, the louts were much, much stronger,
They washed her clean and gave her a dress
How she looked, is anybody’s guess.
She was led to a room where she would spend the rest of her life,
A girl of twelve followed by a lecherous man of thirty-five…

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F Untitled

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mansi Bhatia

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13 Responses to Untitled

  1. slpmartin on April 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I have seen a number of programs on Linktv dealing with this topic…it angers me and I wonder if things will ever change for these children…thanks for sharing this topic with all.

  2. safooraNo Gravatar on April 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    that was really beautiful and chilling…very well written..

  3. TaraNo Gravatar on April 2, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    this is so beautifully written.. very touching.. and painful..

  4. ajayNo Gravatar on April 3, 2010 at 3:51 am

    deeply moving. It leaves me with anger and pain that we let such things happen. I urge people to come out of their cocoon of comfort and tackle this menace.
    Kudos to you Mansi for bringing out such issues. I hope one day may I be able to do something for their sake.

  5. pravin nairNo Gravatar on April 3, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Hi mansi,

    That was a relevant post, with exploitation of the girl child being rampant…let the writing flow!

    I would also like to invite you to visit my blog


    your opinion would be invaluable.Thanks!

  6. travellingrantsNo Gravatar on April 5, 2010 at 2:37 am

    Really well written and i really liked the wy you have not given titled to the post..
    i myself is associated with many NGO's and have seen personally all this..
    This all is only come to end with we all coming together.

  7. lenaNo Gravatar on April 5, 2010 at 4:02 am

    This is so very painful… the poem is filled with emotions and cannot leave anyone indifferent. Great work, Mansi :)

  8. ShachiNo Gravatar on April 6, 2010 at 2:17 am

    This is simply amazing!!!! Great great work.

  9. Laying the groundwork | First Impressions on April 9, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    [...] regular feature of the school and, later, college magazine. UNICEF awarded me a prize in 1994 for a poem on the sexual exploitation of little girls in India. Impressed by my inclination towards social causes, All India Radio, Lucknow, invited me to recite [...]

  10. ADNo Gravatar on July 18, 2010 at 7:42 am

    A moving post.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on July 28, 2010 at 5:37 pm

      Thanks, Abhishek.

  11. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mansi, Jennie Joy. Jennie Joy said: @mansibhatia I just read your poem. http://bit.ly/h7CYnd Tnx 4 sharing… and 4 using your voice 4 good! May u know the Hope of Advent 2day! [...]

  12. See you on the other side | First Impressions on December 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    [...] Untitled — This poem will give you goosebumps. Based on the right of a child to be protected from abuse and exploitation, this poem won an award from UNICEF … and it introduced me to my life partner. [...]

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