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I had a conversation the other day,
over a cup of black coffee,
with the Voice in my head.

If my cowardice
gives me the courage,
I told the voice.
And I decide to die,
Will I be the Ghost
in the white sari,
in the children’s imagination
and the parents’ dreams?
Or will I be the Martyr
with whose blood
the the destiny of women
and the other oppressed
will be rewritten?

The voice laughed
at my naivety and said,
“Martyrs are born,
Not made.
And your death,
will be another tale
of what should never be.
Live on,
for an ordinary life
is preferable over
an ordinary death.”

I smiled and pushed
the thought of death away,
and sipped on my coffee.

A Martyr, you’ll never be,
the Voice resumed, thoughtful.
A dreaded Ghost may be…


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