The Red Bus

by Aekta Khubchandani

The red bus makes a stop
at one particular street.
It chooses its corner
like striking dates off a paper calendar.
It settles like oil on water,
it’s darker and thicker
but it races down like a fat rat
who ogles and gobbles a cube of cheese
thinking that this is his piece of meat
until he realises that this is a metal trap.

The red bus is like that metal trap,
it’s like that geometry box
where the protractor glides and slides
over the scale and compass.
Such a mess
of all organs at different angles.
And the noise it makes,
God! Shush…
But others can’t hear a thing
it’s all happening within.

It takes a 30 day tour
and then rushes and breaks
and stops and haunts and flows through all my body organs
tasting like stems of roses in my mouth.
A thicket of wild thorns
sounding like piercing horns.
Well, for some of us
this is as real
as real as reality can get.

When I found the red bus
between the pleats of my skirt
racing from my thighs
and sprouting from my insides,
I was in school.
I had forgotten the history of my existence,
the geography of my body was disfigured,
the mathematical conclusion to how long I’d live
was a big question.
I felt like I had committed an unknown sin
This was a grave situation
I saw my coffin open in broad daylight
in the form of a… hospital bed.
No one told me that this was normal.
The blood oozed out
like worms of my tummy dancing
to the demons under my bed.

This red bus stops at the signal
being loyal to push pain,
makes my body drag and drain.
It feels like 75% of the water of my body
got stained and contaminated.
Toxic, I feel anorexic.

I thought growing of organs
in pounds of flesh would make a girl a woman.
But this red bus pierced its flag
on my body like nails through the flesh of my skin.
And today, I’m still a victim.
And I say this as reflecting words of society
on the naked skin of my body.
The comments in school,
and the ones on street;
no one told me that this was normal.
And in the web of words:
I almost forgot what it meant to
be just human.


Menstrual Hygiene Day is an annual awareness day observed on May 28.

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