Jasmine Khurana – WE ICWP Prize ’20. WE Spoken Word Diva ’20.

Women Will Have It All

Forty Six!
That possibly cannot be my weight.
Vintage like the best of wines,
Darlings, that’s my age!

High Always on myriad roles,
Tripped over some professions.
Dusted all drunken doubts,
Burnt some mental bras,
Swinging raunchily now,
In the arms of my midlife.
I’m also bartending some dainty dreams.
But I look back,
And Voila!
What a heady cocktail,
Each of these decades so far has been!

Yes, that’s how our lives are,
As mothers, as girls, as women.
Once a geeky economics professor,
A decade of being,
Just a homemaker.
Just a homemaker.
(I’ll come back to that)
Now a maverick writer,
That’s my humble little story
And there are six hundred million and more tales,
Yarns of our careers, sabbaticals, comebacks,
Waiting to be light-housed and told.

At the helm of our homes, 
At the helm of fortune 500 companies.
Budgeting, investing, coding, decoding,
Procreating, punctuating.
We are done with shattering all your glass ceilings.
We are now claiming our rightful ground.

What for you is ‘just a homemaker’,
A ‘doyenne of domesticity’,
That’s how I look at her!
The largest workforce of my country,
The most underrated of our roles.
Underpaid is an understatement,
For no denomination can match up,
To our actual worth!

And now,
Much beyond your coffers and economies,
How we hone houses and generations,
The undocumented, the disguised,
The emotional costs, the investments
No one gives us statutory warnings
‘Read offer documents carefully,
Yet we stay put and strongly invested.

Did someone say it requires a village to raise a child,
Where the hell is that village?
Many from my brood are doing it singlehandedly. 
A big shoutout for them!
Maybe that village has to be you all,
Creating conducive conditions at workplaces,
Workplaces that deem,
Motherhood NOT as a penalty,
But as a choice a woman makes.
And yes a privilege it is,
A privilege it is,
To be able to bear,
And raise the next generation.

We juggle, we soar, we step back,
We redefine our goals.
To accommodate our children’s milestones!
Did someone talk about reinventions,
Give me one example that beats us!
Making comebacks after sabbaticals,
O yes sabbaticals!
Why the hell does the world not talk about them?
Let’s hail this most unsung phase of the lives,
Of millions of women around us.
For at times,
Our sabbaticals have required stronger calls, 
Stronger than those of your surging ahead.

Don’t look at our careers,
As if they come with expiry dates.
Don’t  look at our sabbaticals,
As full stops to our growth.
Not always do they warrant your condolences.
What you thought was a full stop,
Was just my semi colon.

While you got busy,
Writing the obituary of my career,
I was silently rewriting my script post interval.
Yes, stories of our comebacks,
Can beat any of Bollywood’s multi crore grossers!

Yes I’m making sabbaticals look sexy,
For I owe all my new found passions,
And all that my voice today represents,
To a decade long sabbatical.
Now flirting with words,
Playing around with punches,
Making out with metaphors,
And discovering finally my real G spot,
The fact that it lies in humor and satire.
This is my story of making the best of both my worlds.

But I’m Still asked questions.
Women will be asked questions.
‘Lady you left all your economics’,
All that you had mastered and worked so hard for’?
I say, “No no, Don’t worry’!
‘I still use it,
I use it now
To gauge my diminishing marginal happiness.
I also use it to study, 
My own trends and statistics’.

My marginal curves have made way for parabolas,
My asset classes are soaring.
I’m a flourishing economy,
Unlike my country’s at the moment.
On the side swings and soaring.
Sixty Nine!
I tell them is my new love
And I’m blissfully stuck on it.
Ahh naughties!
Don’t get me wrong again,
I was just talking about my gross gains.

You know the day I turned forty,
I gifted myself a mantra.
Dear skewed world,
Whatever lemons you will throw at me,
I’ll lovingly catch them,
Slice them.
Dunk them in my celery salted puns.
Juice them up with some fresh literary tomatoes.
And dish them back to you in the form of my tangy writings.
My brands of Bloody Mary!.
My way of staying high on life!
My way of rising like a phoenix with every verse.
You better cultivate a taste for them.

Time to usher in an era,
Where we women unshackle ourselves of the world’s paradigms.
Yes the pungent paradigms,
Giving up on our passions,
Will make us better daughters.
Giving up on our careers, 
Will make us better mothers.
Giving up on our inheritances,
Will make us better sisters.
We aren’t giving up on anything!

We are giving up.
Going on guilt trips,
We are putting ourselves,
Higher on our own priority lists.

Much  beyond the narrow domestic walls,
Of sexist stereotypes and gender divides.
Bridging gaps at homes and work places.
Work places where ratings and hierarchies, 
Are not more inflexible than our uteruses.
Work places where to avoid year-end shocks,
We Women don’t have to adjust,
Even our biological clocks.
Work places that are not customized, 
To cater to a gender that has wives back home,
And children who are well looked after!

Homes where we raise our sons and daughters,
As equal caregivers.
And not bucket them as primary or secondary,
Just basis their gender.

Where work cultures world wide gets redefined,
To accommodate our care obligations.
Where the mountain of this murky mindset
‘women cannot have it all’
Crumbles down into a beautiful stream that gushes,
Loud and clear
‘Women can have it all’
Women can have it all!

Women WILL have it all!

Watch the video here :

Women Will Have It All


My Six Yards Are My Cape

My silver troops are marching on,
 Gallantly in all their glory.
 As I feel them in my crown,
 Each strand seems like saying,
 'Come, sit na,
 I’ll tell you my story!'
 The lines on my forehead, 
 The freckles on my cheeks, 
 That crease around my neck, 
 As I caress them all softly,
 They embrace me in warm hug,
 And say,
 'Sit for a while, 
And gossip with us!'
  Did I hear dark circles?
 Oh yay!
 That’s the 'rangoli' around my eyes!
 Did I hear someone say wrinkles?
 That's the supreme artist,
 Baring his brush, 
 On the canvas of my life.   
 With a spring in my step and open arms, 
 I welcome every symbol and sign, 
 That celebrates every milestone of my life!
 When I look around,
 What do I see? 
 The 'Generation Zee',
 The world is raving about you all,
And I wonder,
Who will talk about us midlifers,
 Especially, the mothers who gave birth,
 To this awesome Gen-Next,
 And are now raising them too?
 So presenting the story of our lives,
 Transcending through our roles, 
 As mothers, daughters, wives,
 But trust me,
 There is much much more to us,
 Than just that too!
 While the world addresses,
 Global warming and erratic weathers,
 I wonder who will ever talk,
 About our fluctuating temperatures.
 The upper zones can beat,
 The most blazing deserts,
 The down-unders are perpetually in sub zeroes.
 Challenge is to keep up a pleasant shine,
 Uphill task when gravity,
 Has started working overtime!
  Grey hairs are popping up,
 In the strangest of pockets,
 Like that thousand rupee note,
That kept emerging,
 Post demonetization,
 Out of deserted wallets.

Did Someone say,
 It’s my age to sit back for a while,
And count my blessings,
 Or reassess my investments and profits?
C'mon, I do that everyday!
 The real estate in my backyard is appreciating,
 The chins have doubled,
 Like the most promising mutual funds, 
 My jaw line has vanished,
 Like Mallaya and Modi.
 Nirav I meant! 
 But I’m a diehard optimist,
 Like my fellow countrymen.
 I believe they'll all be back.
They'll all be back.
As will be my marginal curves,
 And who knows even six pack abs!

 At times, I’m stiff and literally so,
 As if my bones,
 Have been dipped in Revive,
 And sun dried too.
 Next morning, 
I take charge of my body and mind,
 And embark upon a century ride.
 That’s the way “Fun Between the Legs”,
 At my age I define!

 My fellow mid-lifers, 
Are acing marathons and triathlons.
 An orgy of exercises,
 I wickedly call them.
 Ssh! You know what,
 Age or agility?
 Forget it!
 Raising these millennial kids,
 Has taught us,
 Nothing is impossible,
 It’s all up there in the mind!
 At times I’m laughing out,
 Impishly like a child,
 Teasing my son,
 About his heartbreaks and crushes.
 I tell him ‘I just had one too’
 ‘Mother india’, he blurts out,
‘what the hell are you upto?’
 I quickly add, “Oops did I say crushes"? 
 I meant my ‘hot flushes’"!

 But you know?
 Midlife is the second teenage,
 Just that life has taught us,
 How to smartly moderate,
 Because hormones will be brats, 
 They will be up-to pranks ,
 While ‘going’ and while ‘Coming’
 And coming coming Coming, 
 Suddenly it sounds so over -rated,
 As if not linked to Adhar,
 It might soon get deactivated!
 At times I’m struggling,
 To cut out the cacophony, the din,
 Of relations and responsibilities, 
 Of judgments and opinions.
 Next moment,
 I can make music and sonnets, 
 Out of the same noisy dissonance.
 With all my demons, 
I’ve made peace,
 Instead I’m now flirting,
 With all my dreams!
 Four decades and a half,
Of seeing patriarchy at its peak.
 Stereotypes being soiled,
 Cobwebs crumbling. 
 Toughest were the ones,
 Lurking inside our houses.
 Still a long long way to go!
  So to the men around,
Dear darlings,
And others and others and others. 
 Because 'giving’ is a habit,
 We cannot give up on,
 Doesn’t mean our rights and dignity,
 We are offering you on a platter!
 To love and to nurture,
 Was never an option.
 It was in our DNA,
 That’s how we are wired!
 I’m the rock by your shore,
 If the waves are severe.
 Anchor, if you feel fragile or lost.
 But to guard my own self respect,
 I know pretty well,
 How to disconnect!

 To the hilt I love to play,
 A myriad of my roles,
But trust me I can rise above each,
 To go on a blind date with my soul!
  Forever a feminist,
 You step on a legit right,
 I’ll dust your doubts.
 But I’m also sandwiched between eras,
 A connector between Generations. 
 So I’ll strongly uphold,
 What I believe in,
But sieve out my cynicism, 
 And pass on just the best. 
 So I’m not burning bras anymore,
 For at my age,
 I need them lots more!
 I’m neither guilty nor apologetic,
 About the choices I made,
 Don’t call them my sacrifices
 I’m no goddess,
I'm no sage.
 But do not belittle my surging ahead either,
 For up in my head, 
I was always crystal clear,
 When to zoom on,
 When to pull my reigns.

 And today at four decades and a half,
 In the bliss of my haven, 
My work, 
My offspring,
 I celebrate every war, 
Every ceasefire,
Every balance that I have made.
 I’m a super hero 
 My six yards are my cape! 

Watch the video here :

Six Yards Are My Cape


Jasmine Khurana is a writer and spoken word artist. Many of her popular works have been awarded for bridging gaps across genders and generations. To name a few- REX Karamveer Chakra Award instituted by I-Congo and United Nations for being a changemaker, Orange Flower Award for writing humor, SheThePeopleTV Digital woman award (category leadership) and Rotary Vocational Excellence Award.