The Red Bindi On The Gilded Mirror

you unload the day’s burden 

and stash it in the crevices of your mind

it’s been humongous, tiring, draining

for years you’ve been carrying it with fortitude


you remove the heavy red bindi

and stick it on the washroom mirror

it waits till sunrise when you reapply it

to brighten up your wan, listless face


tired unslept eyes, dull unkempt hair

frame the reflection in the tall mirror

it’s gilded, just like your glorified existence, 

but ignored are the scratches on its soul


can you hear me? – it screams – unbar the windows

let the sun stream in, let the fresh air rejuvenate me

you wash your tear laden face, square your shoulders 

and set out to fight the battles, yours and others


Hang in, tarry a little, O woman,

the world wouldn’t fall apart, my lady 

if you don’t offer everyone your frail shoulders 

to hang their expectations, to squeeze out their happiness. 

Can you hear me? Relax, the red bindi can wait for a day.


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  1. Very powerful… Something that we all do.. Put our bindis on the mirror.. A bindi is something is something that adds so much to a, woman’s beauty and yet it can wear a woman down by the way it typifies a woman. Beautiful and powerful lines.

  2. This is powerful poetry. The story of every woman. So many people hang their expectations on those slender shoulders and She how effortlessly tries to satisfy every desire, everyone’s wish. And then somewhere her mere dreams are stocked inside that closet in her room.
    Lovely, very touching ma’am.πŸ’šπŸ’š

  3. This is such a powerful poem with such a profound message. Love how it tells the woman with the red bindi to not make the bindi the core of her existence and that it’s okay to address her responsibilities at her own pace and not at the cost of her mental and physical well being.
    I could read it again and again, such is its beauty .

  4. Seema Taneja. This is why I tag you. To read you. Selfish of me, isn’t it?
    This is such powerful poetry. The ‘bindi’ symbolizes her duties toward life, for me. She takes it off but her work is never done. No one ever thinks of her. Nor she herself has time for her ownself. In the morning once more she dons that Bindi, supposedly a happy symbol but all at once it symbolizes her subordinance.

    • Ah, you’re so kind and sweet Natasha. Thank you! You put it so well…subordinance and subjugation. The bindi ties her down to her duties and responsibilities. Even when she removes it for the night the burden stays in her mind.

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Written by Seema Taneja

Formerly a teacher of English language, she is now a full-time blogger, writer, and poet. A bi-lingual writer, she writes on social justice, gender issues, women and child rights, economics, and political affairs, in English and Hindi. She contributes to several platforms like Women's Web, Momspresso, The Anonymous Writer and her write-ups have also been published in The Times Of India. Her stories have been featured in several anthologies. She has won many awards for her writing, including the prestigious Orange Flower Award for Writing with Social Impact in Hindi.

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