We are told each of us are unique,
Yet we are brought up in the same mould.
If you glance at the neighborhood elite school,
(Factory, rather, that produces batches of imbecile teens every year)
In punitive justice lies its principle, for anyone who dares to be different.
They look alike, mumble alike
Their slick hair parted and plaited,
Clothed in drab robes that should not, must not, cannot provoke,
To symbolize modesty and chastity
(Except on the days of paying fees)
They march like prisoners, correcting their natural rhythm to suit the standard
They learn the rules:
boys play, girls sew
boys shout, girls whisper
boys cackle, girls titter
Boys and Girls, they learn to discriminate.
Good and bad, they are taught to differentiate.
Disciplined by threats and canes,
Corrupted by incentives of grades,
They come out of the factory,
Having misplaced their aura of innocence.
Competing for being the best, to stand out, to be different
Not realizing that they’ve traded it long ago
For being mediocre.
Madras Courier originally ran as a broadsheet with a poetry section. It was a time when readers felt comfortable sharing glimpses of their lives through verse. If you too have a poem you’d like to submit, do mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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