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Mainstream, Vol XLVI No 11

The Room in which I am Forced . . .

Saturday 1 March 2008, by Taslima Nasreen

The room in which I now live has a closed window,
- A window that I cannot open at will.
- The window’s covered with a heavy curtain that I cannot move at will.
- I live in a room now,
- Where I cannot open the door at will, cannot cross the threshold.
- I live in a room, where the only other living inhabitants are
- Two sickly lizards on the wall. No man or any creature resembling a man is a allowed here.
- I live in a room where I find it a great strain to breathe.

There’s no sound around, but for banging your head against the wall.
- Nobody else in the world watches, except the couple of lizards.
They watch with eyes wide open, who knows
- if they feel the pain—Maybe they feel it.
- Do they too cry, when I cry?

I live in a room where don’t want to live,
- A room where I am forced to live,
- A room where democracy forces me to live for days unending,
- In a room in the dark, in incertitude, with a threat
hanging,
- In pain, breathing with difficulty, democracy
forces me to live,
- In a room where secularism drains me away of life, drop by drop.
- In a room my dear India forces me....
- I do not know if all those overbusy men or creatures that look like men will have a couple of seconds to spare to turn to
- The lifeless lump that comes out of the room some day,
A rotten, greasy lump, a lump of bones.
- Will death be release? It’s death perhaps that sets one free,
- Free at last to cross the threshold.
- The lizards will stare away the whole day,
- Maybe they too will feel sad.

Someone will bury me, maybe a government man,
- Wrapped in the flag of democracy, in the soil of
my dear India.
- I’ll find a home there at last, with no threshold
to cross,
- I’ll find a home there where breathing will be easy.

TASLIMA NASREEN
- (Dainik Statesman, January 31, 2008)
- Translated from the original Bengali by Samik Bandyopadhyay

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