Well, it’s a long story, you see!
I get asked this question often,
When the sunshine is warm and pleasant,
People pack up and leave in haste,
For family reunion bliss.
I remember how home felt,
The fragrance of Biryani in the air,
Mom, busy preparing to welcome me,
Dad arranging a proxy at his office,
For a day off, so he could pick me up,
My five-year-old brother jumping with joy,
For the toys I would bring as gifts.
When I left home he was an infant,
I remember the day of my departure,
I did not even go to his room,
He was asleep and I was too weak.
I want to go home, play with him,
Gossip and chat with mom on lazy afternoons,
Cook Chinese for Dad, who doesn’t have a choice,
But to admire my cooking...
Christmas passed and so did summer,
I weep alone, live in fear.
Fear that sooner or later they will give me away,
And then, I may not be able to see them...
People ask questions, put undue pressure
As if marriage is the only pleasure.
But once you are with a man,
Your priorities change, your time is scarce.
Conflicts arise, bans implemented,
Blood relationships wither like a dry flower.
A daughter is considered a known stranger,
A wife is treated like an impostor.
I AM NONE!
So, I built my own lonely world,
I sleep alone, I eat alone, I live alone.
I do miss lying on Mom’s lap,
And also ball dancing with Dad without music.
Afternoons of patting my baby brother to sleep,
Shedding a tear or two thinking about separation,
And then falling asleep, pressing him to my chest
And holding his tiny hands in mine...
I am 28, I know am not a little girl anymore,
One day I will have to marry and exit my parent's home,
But I am not anyone's property,
I am the same little girl who danced around this house,
Ruined Mommy’s lipsticks and baked caked for Dad with tiny hands...
There might be a great guy waiting,
To hold my hand firm at the aisle,
But I can’t let go my Dads hand,
Just to go and hold another...
I have two hands
I want to keep holding my Dad’s too.
The very same hands that held me
When I fell down and broke my knee.
Those hands have wrinkles now
And each passing day, they loose sturdiness.
They need to be held firmly,
They need me.
Please don't ask me again,
If I am going home for summer...
Shahla Khan is the author of I Want Back My SPARKLE- Breaking the chains of gender slavery and she also writes regularly for Magazines and Newspapers. She began writing poems when she was a little girl in school and got admiration from Grammar Class teachers for her work which she never imagined would be published. As she grew up, she studied Business and Economics and currently is a PhD Fellow at Cardiff Metropolitan University in the UK. Before flying to UK, she did MBA in the lap of white Alps in Switzerland.
She is an avid writer and poet and works at ease with both fiction and nonfiction. Her writing is deeply influenced by purpose and every story she writes, has a message. She claims that her work is and will always be more than 'just entertainment' and a reader will always learn something from it. Currently she is writing her third book and also juggling PhD and livelihood. Born and brought up in Saudi Arabia and schooling in India, she has a multicultural background, which comes across in her work. Her role as a Social Activist is also largely based on her writing. When she is not writing, she spends time baking, watching romantic comedies or shopping.
You can read more about her work on her blog and website