Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin wrote a strong monologue for a solo performance at the 13th Indian Today Conclave on International Women’s Day on March 8. The monologue, which she dubbed as ‘Just Another Rant’, is a frustrated ode to women everywhere chained and bound by traditional patriarchy.
Here’s the full text of her monologue:
You remember in the beginning?
In the beginning God made man.
God made man in his own image.
And then that’s was it. ‘Man’kind, hu’man’ity, wo’man.
Man, man, man.
What chance in Hell did we ever have?
We were sidelined from the Big Bang.
You remember Draupadi?
Draupadi married off to all five Pandavas.
She garlanded only Arjun
But they told her you got to marry all of us.
Five husbands! That can’t be fun.
God know I have enough trouble with one.
Or what about Eve and the apple?
Blaming one woman for all mankind’s evil?
Soorya and Kunti,
The Virgin Mary
Do you know Gaia?
The Goddess Mother Earth
She’s the one we all trample on.
And remember Aphrodite
Goddess of love and beauty
Lest we forget, she was also
The patron of prostituting.
She was less known
Raped by Hades
She became Queen of the underworld,
Not even goddesses were left alone.
You might not know A’isha,
She was one of the wives of Prophet Mohammad
She challenged a Califh for power
It created quite a ruckus,
It led to war in fact,
All because of one woman’s fuss,
And so was born the tradition Islamic
That women should not engage in anything politic.
But of course they did,
Thank god they did.
Women have their ways,
As somebody once put it.
The Queen of Sheba, Empress Theodora, Rabia al’ Basra,
Cleopatra, The Victorian Era, The Mona Lisa
The Suffragettes, Marilyn Monroe, The sixties and burning bras,
The unpopular Thatcher and our own Indira
Et cetra et cetra and now here we are.
Here we are,
We’ve survived this far,
Thanks to seduction, perhaps some manipulation,
But mostly thanks to Mother Nature and ovulation.
Now look at all the queens and goddesses of history,
No prince came to the rescue,
No king ever went down on one knee,
No deity was even that trustworthy,
Yet all we’ve be told since we were three,
Are fairy tales, adverts, and pretty stories,
Telling us to pray, hope,
And wait to be saved.
Here we are today.
Here we are,
On International Women’s Day,
With some minor disappointments,
And a few little things to say.
The woman in red,
The girl in pink,
The widow in white,
The Burqa in black,
The colour of lipstick,
Viva Glam, Lady Danger, Fresh brew, Faux, Frenzy, Hot Gossip and Sweetie.
Ramblin, Siss, Creme cup, Paramount and Modesty
Fetish, Spice it up, Naked Paris, Honey love and Odyssey.
Apply, line, smack, seal, pout,
And you’re ready to go out.
Sometimes I just want an oversized T shirt, boxer shorts, unkempt hair and unibrows.
I want armpit hair long enough to plait,
I want a clean face without a trace of make up
I want to look the way I do when I wake up.
I want to scratch my head,
Dig my nose,
Lick my fingers,
Stretch my legs
And spread my toes.
I want to smile with my gums showing,
Bare my teeth and
Contort my pretty face into wrinkles.
I want my crow’s feet to look sexy,
Or my salt and pepper hair,
Or my sun burnt skin,
I want to be George Clooney basically,
But with breasts and a muffin.
Keep it down.
Stuff it up, bottle it in, switch it off,
Cross your legs, wear a bra,
Sit straight and smile sweetly for the camera.
I went to a party,
I went to a party where
I was looking for something real.
Glittering, flashing lights,
Sparkling clean glasses with something bubbly and expensive inside,
Stuck on smiles of painted lips and gorgeous, skinny, beautiful ladies all around,
I craved a touch, a caress,
But my senses were intimidated by cloned perfection.
I thought I could hear muffled wailing,
I thought I could hear the buzz of millions, screaming out their instructions,
Sit down, stand up, stay,
This way, that way, go away
I can’t breathe, I’m choking.
This room is filled with smoke
From regrets and weak, nicely packaged cigarettes.
This room is filled with luxury and fame
And false dreams.