Peace and Conflict Monitor

Arunima Chouguley
November 25, 2015
One day a small incident shook me completely. But It also helped bring out all the hidden gender performances and fears in me. It made me challenge and question my fear of failure that was incapacitating me in this patriarchal culture that had limited me so far. It helped me to cast away the blinders that limited me from seeing my potential and question the status quo that limits us in rigid roles. That day I discovered a new self in me. I could not resist from expressing myself through poem - Reborn.


One day a thought came into my mind.

It asked me ``Who Am I?``

I responded with the name I was given,

Adding the prefixes and suffixes

with which I'd been christened.

But was that really my identity?

Someone inside me answered, NO.

Then I started questioning:

Am I a shadow of my father’s desire?

My mother’s unfulfilled dream?

Am I a girlfriend who satisfies greed?

An embodiment of society’s creed?

If not all of these, then who am I?

The knot tightens. It suffocates me.

I keep running, but the question doesn’t leave.

I scream, but no one hears.

My very self laughs at my struggle.

Does my identity belong to me?

My gender alone can't define me.

Expectations can't command my performance.

Who decides who I am, if not me?

I question the knowledge once considered true

That woman must conform to man.

She's born to serve, not to rule.

I refuse to conform to fulfill others' dreams.

I reject the identity imposed on me,

To be only a daughter or sister of males

Fearless and confident,

I will carve my identity

Discover myself

Live my own dreams.

Arunima Chouguley is an MA candidate at the University for Peace.