“TO THE PIECES THAT NEVER BLAMED THE WALL FOR SCATTERING THEM,
BUT REFLECT ITS AUDACITY SILENTLY.”
Individuals can create meaning only in relation to what they are exposed to in their environment and this, to a great extent, shapes their way of perceiving reality. If present reality perceives woman as a body with “perfect formation”, then it’s still wearing an old hat. We’ve lived so long under the pressure to be beautiful, often attempting to resist our vulnerability. But honestly vulnerability is our true measurement of courage. No doubt, staging courage and accepting vulnerability are daunting tasks but once embraced, they reveal a complete and authentic self. The beauty of a woman resides in her soul. When she takes stand for herself she without claiming stands up for all and this stand for the right and courage of women is again taken up by an acclaimed Indian poetess, an entrepreneur and a mother Meenakshi M Singh.“I Am Enough” is her poetic tribute to an innate strength of every women. It is an attempt to illuminate the courage and reopen the door for ones who gave up on their dreams.
Switching to poetry was not Meenakshi M Singh’s need. She did that because it asserted her identity. She admits ‘written words are the most powerful medium to bring change in society’. “I Am Enough” is a journey of a woman who witnessed growth and variation. The book integrates different shade of poet’s life, each shade presenting its own uniqueness. What makes the work more dignified is the way Meenakshi M Singh has contracted the wide world. Her word represents the struggle of every woman. She managed to write about varied experiences (as in “I Am Enough, I Am A Woman”), exposed contemporary cultures ( in “Women The Wonder” and “Homeless”), revealed what women desire (in “If Only”), along with that showed her fondness of singing love songs (“I Fall in Love With You”, and “I Only Know One Thing”) and these testament the fact that in spite of having a busy life, a woman can speak her heart out in a hundred silent ways.
Ability to open heart and give out a love pure and unconditional, the care that comes from being a mother, capacity to withstand the pain and tears and even vanity and complexities are qualities which give a woman her essence. She like a bridge connects two separate sides, a beauty that doesn’t waits for sleep to fuse her with her dreams, a human who toils for her family, a silent storm fighting for her fantasy, a story written in between the mayhem and sometimes a quite volcano who dares to shed off her mask to be true and glossy. “I Am Enough” is well stocked with these essence.
The captions of her poetry are her questions to the society and its care-takers. Anxiously, she asks the civilized people that who gave them the right to snatch away the dream from a girl’s eye? What makes them think that a woman’s husband is her redeemer? Why every time when a woman becomes a victim she has to look up for a man to protect her? Why for the sake of marriage she has to abandon her ambition? Sections like “Who Am I?”, “Why Should I Forget Myself”, “Bend”, “The Bird Who Caged Herself”, “I Am Raped Many Times” discuss these thought-provoking issues openly. Her verse reminds reader of Maya Angelou, a poetess whose wise words encourage to live on boldly.
A woman, holding any sort of power in patriarchal form of society, is considered a threat to the ‘hierarchal order’. While her subordination to her father, husband, and son is accepted without question; little collected evidences manifest the fact that submission, yielding, and cooperation by them ,too, helped in erecting this ‘chain of command hierarchy’. For maintaining stableness in environment, they accepted an inferior position but this acceptance is always seen as their frailty. “New Age Woman” proclaims originality as the colour which imitation craves for and success gained by imitation is nothing but an illusion. Being a woman should be taken not as a stigma but as a pride. A woman is unique creation. By imitating men, she is rusting her originality. The poet compels women to find themselves out, to write if they always unheard and ignored, ‘write to not get choked’ and ‘to be free within’, even if they have to do it for long (“Write When It Shakes You”). She hints them to define their existence by writings and thus shine.
Chiding the hypocritical attitudes existing in Indian society, “Woman The Wonder” asks why the lady at home and the lady sitting in the temple are treated differently when both look alike ,when both suffer from same problem, and when both has the tendency to create and to destroy! Working on the same theme are “Sita” and “Ram Rajya the Great” that satirizes the age old conventions permitting to strangulate women for speaking. The bard is acquainted of the fact that no change will come unless the struggle song is sung. The day women start questioning instead of submitting, along with pledging never to settle down easily; the society will be forced to adjust its age old way of sailing.
“I Am Enough” not just exhibits the oppressed conditions of women at large. It openly criticizes the hollowness of modern world by making women as its ‘anti-heroines’. “Oh Boy” is an example of depleting ‘Indian values’ and belief that has confined women to the four walls of house. Not limiting her motif, Meenakshi M Singh goes on to display, in “Constipated Conversation”, the virtual world reality which is slowly becoming new identity, making emotions pale and feelings reserved. It has now become a way to escape provocation and endeavour. Her “Lanes of the Virtual World” quotes-
Day and night, tapping those fingers
Checking something, checking at dawn or midnight
Consumed, with a void, lost like a string less kite
Drifting away from the real
The best escape, no fight
But there is an eternal plight
Of what’s next?
Similarly, a vision towards life and ambition contrasts “Diva” from “Celeb Woman”. “Diva” is one who knows that happiness comes by giving equal priority to ones ambition as well and in spite of all odds embracing selfhood, whereas “Celeb Woman” is lost and caged in her desire, in between pomp and shows.
“The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is incarnation. Here the impossible union of spheres of existence is actual”(T S Eliot) .
Being woman is the last of the highest incarnation- The Shakti. Meenakshi M Singh is a balanced woman. Wisdom as the lamp she used to light the path for the daughters born in the realm of conventions. Like a teacher she illuminates a daughter to follow her heart (“Oh! Dear Daughter”). Her tone goes warm when she explains that a child gives a new vision to a woman. It helps her to understand the world around, to feel beautiful, much loved and responsible. She at the same time hopes to protect her treasure (her child) from all evil words and eyes, inspiring her to fight for her dreams and listen to the heart. “Your Heart, Your Art”, “Rebirth”, “Don’t Be a Goddess” tell these tales. Sometimes like a river she desires to flow back and unite with her creator – her mother. In “My Perennial River” her mother has been the source of inspiration for her, whose glacier of love never dried up, quenching her whenever she felt the thirst. In a limited stroke of pen, Meenakshi M Singh built the castle of praises for her displaying how much she owes to her. She also owes much to her Guru and to her confidante, her husband, who were assigned an angelic position in her creation. Their presences were her assets since they gave her the wings to fly, roots to come back and reason to stay.
Her work doesn’t lacks in spiritual taste and rhymes like “Pain Potter”, “The Eternal Wait”, “The Dance of Impermanence”, and “Who Am I?” assert it. In “Pain Potter” the poet decides to give pain a proper shape, which is, a pot empty from inside but coloured with excuses. Actually the sufferer tries to find the cure for the pain by submerging in it – ‘I develop it /By mulling and sculpting that pain’. Giving a proper shape to pain signify that somewhere the sufferer is seeking for improvement, either in freedom or in forgiveness. Correspondingly “The Dance of Impermanence” reflects the hollowness of life. Ambition, anguish, search, lesson, chaos, rituals, party all that are gained with much trouble and endeavours are temporary. These are the gust of wind. She awakes us and tells to be satisfied with what we have, count them as a bliss.
The poetess’s oeuvre includes over seventy five verses and is characterized by her vivid description of life. She didn’t stagger anywhere and was clear about her choice of activity. The rhythm of her poetry evoked different feelings and at the same time by making her work appear less rigid, she tried to stuff it well with some comforting warmth. The imagery, metaphor, and references employed were familiar but her motive was to justify the strength of women and to alter the way the world see that strength.
Ginnie Singh is a scholar from Dhanbad, Jharkhand with her major in English Language and Literature.