Indian woman about to open curtain
Fiction

Remove Your Veil

Country of Origin: India

(-based on the old Indian customs related to widows; they were forcefully stripped of all jewellery upon their husband’s death, the vermillion rubbed off their foreheads, hardly given anything to eat, made to sleep on the floor, forbidden to wear anything colourful, not allowed to look at any male relatives, the veil always drawn low)

Let me remove your veil

Whispers of women, barks of men; from fear do not turn away

Tears I vow to wipe, may I never again hear your hopeless wail.

Palms wizened from bearing a heavy pail

Your forehead may not be smeared with vermillion, but a price you needn’t pay

Let me remove your veil.

Scorn, disdain follow your timid trail

White flowers, a white shroud… Forced to forever sway

Tears I vow to wipe, may I never again hear your hopeless wail.

A tin plate with hardly any fare, the kitchen your lair; amidst the towering utensils, a dirtied, ebony dale

Not permitted to inhale the cool breeze outdoors in the season of May

Let me remove your veil.

Dreamless, on the accursed cold floor, you try to scratch with your nail

Touched not by the noon’s ray

Tears I vow to wipe, may I never again hear your hopeless wail.

You extend your hand to grab a feather, across the azure you hope to sail

I am prepared to become your wings, I daresay

Let me remove your veil

Tears I vow to wipe, may I never again hear your hopeless wail.


Thank you to Tia Credle for their inspired edit on this piece and everyone else on the Fiction team.

If you are interested in submitting a piece to the DG Sentinel, please visit our submissions page here.

Dibyasree Nandy began writing in 2020 after completing M.Tech. She has authored poetry and short-story collections as well as novels. Her works have appeared in many anthologies and literary journals.

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