I can’t breathe… Set me free…

I can’t breathe. I haven’t breathed since I was an adolescent, growing up in a joint family in India under the strict vigilance of the so-called keepers and caretakers of our culture and traditions. 

My voice and my thoughts have been choked for as long as I can remember. Always labelled Wrong, Feminist, Rebel, Western, Uncultured and Untraditional.

My voice has been waiting to be heard. My voice wants to be a soft whisper comforting my daughters and my sisters in pain, assuring them of a better future. 

My voice wants to scream and shout to draw attention to the burden of family values and traditions that have robbed me and so many like me of a life.

I can’t breathe under so many legal restrictions that don’t see me as a person, as a human, as a woman, as a mother, as a global citizen.

Take your knee off my neck. I cant breathe.

– Tandrima

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