Monday, May 16, 2016

Seven Demands (Guest Post)

Yeh lo friend. So, I'm a feminist. Yes, I know, the big scary F word. I carry it like a badge of honor and rub it in people's faces as often as I can. 

I was sitting with a friend one day, and suddenly, he asks me, "Harnidh, what sort of relationship do you want to be in?"

Now I never thought of relationships as a checklist, you know? Like you go to, select 'hmm, tall, funny, should not think it's hilarious when he asks me to make him a sandwich, should be capable of a pun battle at least once a week...haan yeh chalega.'

So I thought, and I thought, and I thought, and came up with an answer. 

Much to his horror, it was, 'A feminist relationship.' He looked so scared when I said it, almost like I was asking for a society, you know, marked by the domination of one sex by the other *ahem*. His eyes went wide, and he asked me in a sombre, hushed tone. 

"Yeh...feminist girlfriend...kaisi hoti hai?"

Now, I'm a poet. Soliloquies dene ka bada shauk hai mujhe. I stood up, and struck a Mark Antony type pose, and said, well, these are my seven demands as a feminist girlfriend. 

One. I will demand more of the relationship than most people will.

Two. I will demand time. I will demand emotions. I will demand honesty. I will demand bitter, long-bottled tears, and the nightmares that six year old you feared. I will demand wonderment, and I will demand learning. 

Three. My relationship will never be the center of my universe. My universe is vast, and it encompasses pain, grief, and anger. Whoever dates me will learn to empathize, to care. It'll be about learning that we share a universe, and it's made of forgiveness, and second chances.  

Four. I demand you dance with me. I demand that you dance with me as a equal, I demand you don't lead, but stay in step with me as I stumble, and giggle, and sometimes fall wayside. I demand that you try to learn how to let go of all the expectations that hold you up like a marionette, and find your limbs falling free, slightly atrophied. And we will learn how to use them again. I promise we will. 

By now, I was in a full flow, arms flying everywhere, and the poor fellow was cowering near the room's corner, probably cursing the fact that he bothered asking me this. 

Five. I will never be a comparison, or an anomaly, or an outlier on the statistical scale, and putting down another woman will never make me feel special. It just makes me afraid. 

Six. I will demand kindness-

At this point, he broke my train of thought. "Tu demand toh kar rahi hai, but what would you give in return?"

I paused. Hmm. What does a feminist give in return? What does a woman so caught up in vagaries of oppression and representation have to give in terms of love and affection?

I sat on the floor, next to him, and put forth my final demand.

Seven. I demand you demand of me. I demand you ask of me love, and passion, and compassion, and care. I ask of you to require me as I require you every day, everywhere, I demand that you expect of me all that I expect of you, but most importantly, I demand that you remember, that I love you too. 

I felt rather overwhelmed by my own words, so I looked at him with big, soulful eyes, expecting us to have a 'moment'. 

He looked back at me and said, "Bhai, complicated maamla hai."

I laughed. "Why?"

"I mean, I'm not a feminist, and I want that too, you know?"

I smirked a little. 

"Or, well, are you?"


Harnidh is a policy student with a poetry problem. Her first poetry collection, The Inability of Words, is named so because for all that she's written, she hasn't found the words she needs. Her work can be found on 

(She's also 10/10 rishta ready)