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MEENA KANDASAMY

The Seven Stages


Notes to self: Don't lose him. Don't lose yourself. Don't lose.
Note to lover: Remember this. Nothing else will matter soon.
Note to my readers: Take up this dream. Turn it on its head.
HUB. UN. ISHQ. AQUIDAT. IBAADAT. JUNOON. MAUT.
These are the seven stages of love in another tongue but
some dark men from my land have lived through this as
if poetic delineation in Urdu was based on Tamil souls.
                                 It always starts with a silent man
                              locking eyes with a talkative girl
                           prone to sudden smiles. Attraction
                        turns into infatuation turns into love
                      quite quickly. That's the fluff of films
                   then society intervenes with its caste
                 codes: sequesters her separates them.
              Robbed of two years and two million
            kisses, this longing turns to reverence
         and worship and obsession. The lovers
      rebel, they elope, they marry, they live
    like rabbits: delicate and lovely; mostly
underground and always making love.
Soon discovered, they are slaughtered.
They dared to defy but ended up dead.
Take up this dream, turn it on its head.




Meena Kandasamy (1984) is an Indian-born poet, fiction writer and translator. Her debut poetry collection was published in August 2006. Her poetry has been published in various journals, including The Little Magazine, Kavya Bharati, Indian Literature, Poetry International Web and the Quarterly Literary Review, Singapore. Her essays have been published in The Hindu Literary Review, Tehelka, Communalism Combat and Biblio.  Her collection of short-stories, Black Magic, will be published later this year. She was one of the 21 woman writers from South Asia whose short-stories were selected for 21 under 40: New Fiction for a New Generation, the Zubaan Anthology of Young Women Writing published in February 2007. She edited The Dalit, a bi-monthly alternative English magazine that reflected the voice of Dalits (India's ex-untouchables) in its first year of publication from 2001 to 2002. Her work as the editor of a Dalit magazine and her association with the Liberation Panthers (a militant activist Dalit organisation) has honed her awareness of what it means to be a woman in a caste-ridden nation. She blogs at http://meenu.wordpress.com