The Medley

is a twice-a-year literary journal run by the students of Hansraj College, University of Delhi. It is a repository of stories, poems and essays sent to us from around the world since 2018.

On Women Becoming Revolutions

there's this old tradition in my house where, when we sit down for dinner, the noise of the grief-stricken creaking chairs overpowers the sound of our heartbeats

maa cooks curd rice and french beans for dinner with her hands engraved with baba's violent love it's her anniversary and she's wearing her favourite golden-yellow kanjivaram saree she serves me apple custard with a melancholic smile dying to yell till her lungs give out "i am hurting- i am hurting- i am hurting; please save me, my child" and a cavity begins to form in my molars; i hear a bone inside me break; my shoulder blades mourn my futile existence

baba stays late at night watching bbc news and on most nights, drinking cheap alcohol and smoking in other woman's silhouettes at bars when i tell maa that he is not in love with her, she frowns as if it is a god-given lineage—broken marriage imprinted on her scalp like desperate teen tattoos she sends me to sleep while decorating her dead dreams on nani's unfinished woollen shawl

didi is an audience who has been visiting empty stadiums for years now; hoping for a less painful defeat; helping maa wipe out her salty tears before they mix up with the dough and i, a rebel with a taped mouth and rope-tied hands wanting to scream into the monotonous sky and make stars go to war for my dying mother; i want to untangle every constellation and send them on a mission to shut patriarchy, make it bleed till it sobs out humanity and pukes chauvinism out of its trachea

so when an Indian woman goes into media to let the world know how fucking doomed she is and people shame her for projecting her voice for wanting to not just be heard but listened to i want to say—s c r e w y o u society for imposing loveless marriage down naive women's throats; romanticising guillotine like a fancy French art that needs to be gulped down in order to adapt to modern culture

when we say we have been hurting, what we need is your hand reaching out to us for uplifting us we need you to intertwine your heartstrings with ours until empowerment becomes a new language and a female infant learns it like the back of her tiny chunky hands while plaiting her Barbie's hair with fresh blood reeking of subsumed toxic masculinity we can stand and trip-walk ourselves just don't tear the bandaids from our scraped knees our wounds are our recovery stripes—our identity

don't shush us and tell us that womanhood is a generational curse that womanhood disgusts you because we know you are terrified of us— that we might nail our bindis on the parched walls leave our bloody footprints on costly maple floors carve revolutions in slum streets with our burnt hands strangle prejudices with our kanjivaram sarees undrape them to make your deathbed look aesthetic and watch you bleed in crimson red with Maa Kali's laughter

we know that the only reason you buy a ticket for our dying exhibition is because you don't want us to die you want us to suffer and womb your ugly stereotypes and rotten misogyny we know that when you call us weak, what you mean is that our ribcage houses your strength and you're afraid of your dead life in us

Smita Singh

One can define Smita Singh as a 19 sunflower-old poet who finds godliness in everything humane. She consumes what drives her soul, and poetry is the 'thing of beauty' that turns her blues into yellows. On days Smita is not writing poems, she might be living it.