Breasts – whose existence I got to know of, when an ill-fitting bra was thrust my way.
When I spent months praying that they go away.
Because they came in the way of many things including sports, clothes and general comfort.
Suddenly I was reminded of them everyday,
Because unlike the clitoris which provides immense pleasure, or the vagina which has its own monologue and is hidden deep inside,
or the penis which is wielded with power or the testicles which are wrongly associated with courage despite the levels of sensitivity associated with it,
Breasts are out in the open. Available to be groped, touched, pinched and caressed.
They are visible, to be noted as big or small or full or little.
Breasts are everyone’s property,
To be called acceptable when covered appropriately in public, to be called beautiful when naked with a child’s lips suckling on them,
To be called scandalous when a stray nipple is seen on wardrobe malfunction,
To be called ugly when additional flesh is seen through the corners of a tank top.
Sisterhood built up when fellow girls silently pushed in a bra strap gone astray by mistake or sometimes on purpose.
When I grew up a little more, I suddenly started loving them more.
The size of the breasts excited many a sexual partner and it gave me great pleasure to be attractive.
Suddenly, they were asked to be hidden away when one of them turned into a boyfriend,
And then I was exposed to the politics of the breasts yet again!
Breasts – when little they are dignified or boring,
When large – they are slutty or exciting,
Whatever they are, they are NEVER ignored.
Breasts – which have to be covered or revealed appropriately according to occasion.
And that’s when I became a slut –
Because a slut can show her large cleavage,
irrespective of the society and the culture,
or the existence of a mother, father, brother or sister.
Because it is acceptable to show them on a big screen with men leching, It is acceptable to be shown in magazines.
It is acceptable to be shown even on TV. As long as the girl next to you does not show them!
But nowadays, we can show some cleavage, some amount of it at a cocktail party or in a saree.
But, god forbid you show off the bra, you are thrown into scandal land again!
Breasts, which are called boobs or rack, but never as breasts unless afflicted by cancer.
It is insane that cancer would handover a certain dignity to them otherwise refused by the society.
But, now all I want is to treat them like eyes or hands or even the bare midriff that the Indian saree shows.
Those which I don’t want to hold up under the 40 degrees heat,
Those which I forget about in the nakedness of the night under layers of sheets,
Those which I don’t want to protect using elbows in a crowd.
But, I was reminded of them yet again, when a random comment about the indecency of showing off a black bra under a badly cut tee came up.
But, this is how it shall be.
I shall show off bits of my bra or the whole of it,
I shall also show off some layers of folded flesh,
One of these days, I am also going to walk out topless, because you know what? Legs were also unacceptable sometime.
Disclaimer: This poem has also been published on the author’s blog here.