KOCHI: One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman, says Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex. Result of the relentless social conditioning, she ends up as a passive, self-sacrificing entity, much to the glee of patriarchy. And here is a woman who attempts to inspire, provoke and connect through poetry, relying on letters to express and empower. Geetha Nazeer’s Attangal is poem after poem dripping rebellion, a sharp, heartfelt call to raise in revolt.
Most poems in the collection are marked by a tone of indignation at the unfair social order. In Swargakavadam, the poet talks about the tricks of subjugation, religious norms that force women to reconcile with a subservient existence. Despite braving wildfires and whirlwinds, paradise is denied to her, something that transforms her into a rebel.
There are poems seething with the pain and paranoia of being a woman, the umpteen threats that await her at every juncture. In Swapathile Rajakumari, a poem dedicated to the Suryanelli victim, she talks about 42 demon-princes, who take a defenseless princess.
Puthrakameshti is a monologue by Shanta, who according to the poet, is the first victim of gender politics. Her father doesn’t consider her the heir and conducts an elaborate yajna for a male offspring. There are poems that take a deep dive into despair and hope, weakness and emancipation, and what exactly it means to be a woman in a world of patriarchal tyranny.
Attangal also has poems that gravitate towards other themes, especially environmental concerns. Okke Ningal Marannuvo is about a shrunken Nila, its streams dried up and dead. There are images that evoke nostalgia, motifs torn out of the familiar ecology and lines mourning the absence of green and bloom.
In her poems it’s easy to draw parallels between woman and earth, as both stand violated and victimised. The book published by Prabhatam Printing and Publishing is priced Rs 80.