Storytellers of a new generation

The Everydayness Of Shame - An Ode To Women

Me too.

A fluorescent strap, peeping out
The curve of my hip
The mole on my lip
The marks on my butt, on my breast
Like a withering tree
They spread out and disappear
Into the night of my skin
My stole, my dupatta, my sleeve
One slip!
And there's ‘shame’ on your lip

At the edge of the bar, I dance
My hair, I flip
My drink, I sip
My hands, I twirl around in the air
In your eyes, despair
As I laugh and pick out the nut
That fell into my low-cut blouse
I take another sip,
And there's ‘shame’ on your lip

I sway as I stand there, outside the gate
A cigarette, in my hand
A headphone, on my head
I wear my hair,
Cropped short and blue
I have piercings too
I'd like a tattoo
One puff, a blip!
And there's ‘shame’ on your lip

I was sitting up, wind in my hair
A smile on my face
A song on my mind
Oblivious to the world outside my head
A face, it was staring
His eyes were glaring
He looked at my chest
At the parting between my breasts
I called him a name,
A scowl…
And on his lips was ‘shame’

I was juggling bags, full of supplies
My hands, they were full
My arms, they were locked
My jeans fit beautifully clinging tight to my skin
A palm, I felt
Over the round of my rear
I saw everyone stare
As he walked right ahead
With just one left to blame
A dirty look…
On their lips was ‘shame’

I was walking back, late at night
My phone, in my pocket
My hands, in my jacket
My head, was heavy from the whisky and rum
A thud!
I fell!
Two palms, throttled
I, tried to jostle
As he hiked up my skirt
And I lay in the dirt;
They all found out
And word got around
Whisky and rum?
What a conundrum!
Then my name and my face
They put on a screen
They all talked and heard
Although my face was blurred
I was on my way to class
They were shouting out aloud
I think they were saying,
“Strip strip strip,” 
And they had ‘shame’ on their lips.

Between my legs there is shame
Between my breasts there is shame
In my voice
In my choice
In the nod of my head
In my no 
In my yes
In the color of my vest
In the stain on my pants
In the strength of my stance
The fat on my hips
Or the plainness of my bust
In my doubt 
In my trust
In my unabashed lust
In my body
My name
Not I not we, but,
You found shame

I said to a friend
Well what do you know?
Have you heard of ‘the list’?
She knew the gist
The shame isn’t new
Some bruises do fade
From purple to blue
She said I know
I said me too.
She said me too.
We said me too.



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of

By Suman Quazi
Illustration by: Eshna Goenka