The Making of the Bandit Queen

I was 11 when I tried to save my father’s land.

He didn’t care, the ungrateful bastard.

Married me off to a man thrice my age

In exchange for a cow.

Son of a b@#$%*.

Both of them.


I fought with him too

Then found my own.

Men. Dacoits, they called them.

Power, finally.


But that which was not between my legs

Was what he with something between his wanted.

Vikram, my lover, saved me from Babu.

He taught me to use the other gun.


I dedicated every kill to Goddess Durga

For we were one of a kind.


Bad days came. Shree Ram used Babu as an excuse

To rape me, he and a dozen.

That’s how many it took to hold me down.


When I escaped, I was told

You have died

Many times over

Now die while living.

Why? I asked myself.


I lined up 22 of them.

The ones who raped me

Were gone

So I made do

With what I had.

I too had a gun

Shot them dead. All.


Rechristened, Devi.

Bandit Queen.

Once I learnt what that meant,

I liked that more.

Sorry, Goddess Durga.


In jail, they took out my womb.

So there would be no more like me.

Caste screwed me,

Caste released me.


This gun looked different.

Shaped like a ballot box.


Gunned down by caste

Revenge for my revenge.


I fought with everyone.


Blood that boils is good for you.


Originally published on Flux Ezine

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