I Will Arrive at My Wedding Alone

by: Neerul Gupta

Anklets charmed with
bells announce my arrival but
nothing about me will prelude
gently. Drenched in bright lustrous
jewelry, I will shine from
all angles. Guests will
stop and stare. The jingle
jangle of my Venetian red
bangles, thick mehndi designed
around my arms and legs serve as
a reminder —
I am royalty.

A goddamn Indian warrior-queen,
and I will rule infinitely
without a goddamn king. I can
carry heavy gold but
not another person. While
my family mourns unborn children,
I will continue to choose gold over a groom.
I will be Jodha, the Rajput
princess who ruled with undying
power, made all awe in her
gold-ridden body.
But, there will be no Akbar.

I wish to celebrate the marriage of me with myself,
find grounding with inherited independence.
More than to be loved, I wish to love all that I am

All that I come from..

A golden goddess gave me the strength to walk, so
I will learn to run from all the expectations of what
it means to be a woman, towards a new path thatlets us define that for ourselves

I can see it clearly: gold
shines like sweet, wet honey,
dripping down from my dress,
the jewels on my skin reflecting every bit
of light. It’s everywhere, as the wind
catches my stride. I’m running.
I’m running.

I am the Indian sun,
a draped dupatta, my flame.
My every step, my every gaze,
demands other women to watch in awe
and follow.