Man and Woman

You and I. We live together,
In the same place, with the same people.
But we do not lead the same lives.

Yours is a world of perpetual victory-
Of constant laughter as you play the game.
I neither lose nor cry. Not because
I win the game with you,
But because I’m not in it
At all.

At every step you take,
You are encouraged, applauded.
Mistakes you make are pardoned
After you’re reproached (if ever,)
Just for the sake of it.

At every step I am asked
To prove myself-
Prove my passion, my cause.
And the mistakes I make?
They are used to prove
My absolute incompetence.

When I ask why my life is so,
I am told that
It’s because they can change me. Not you.
I understand, and you don’t.

I believed that once.

But today, I Declare.
I would rather be a rogue-
a name they have given you
As an excuse for your freedom.
I would rather be called callous
Than be a scapegoat for your mistakes.

Then, I would truly be me
For my own sake
And not because someone
Had high expectations that they thought
I could live up to.

I don’t blame the people that live in your world.
I don’t blame the people that live in mine.
The tragedy is that one day
You and I will do the same
To another
Boy and girl.

-Gauri Kashyap (A class 12 student of The Peepal Grove School (PGS) – Alternative residential school in India)

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