The Queens of Secrets

By: Nithya Mariam John

Indian women carry secrets everywhere.

I learnt it from my mother, aunts and grandmothers.

They pin secrets inside the folds of their saris, yanked off many nights by drunken hands.

They confine secrets in their breasts,

which are groped by strange hands in buses.

They write them under their petticoats, and linings of churidars,

which have lost colour over the years,

washing and scrubbing, cooking and cleaning.

They pour a drop or two of these secrets

in the bed-coffee served, and inside the stuffed tiffin boxes.

And the  best of all these,

they write on paper.