When a recent conversation raised this ridiculous point "Define Good Girls", a poem read long back came alive in my mind. A Bengali Poetry by celebrated Bengali poet and author Shri Sunil Ganguly , "Na pathano Chithi" (click to listen to the poem) (meaning- The unsent letter).

Each time I read the poem or should I call a slice life, tears of anguish and helplessness happen to wet my cheeks. I have shared the You Tube recitation of it by eminent elocutionist Smt. Bratati Banndhopadhyay. Please listen to the master piece. However it is in Bengali, so unfortunately, all my readers may not be able to experience its profound impact.

The narrative is a letter, a letter which is not destined to reach it's destination. A letter from a daughter to her mother. A daughter who was sold to pursue a life of disgrace by her own parents, so that they could make their both ends meet. It's a satire on the bourgeois society and its baseless norms.

The poet goes on to describe her present and past lives, and points out to the striking contrast, between the two. A little girl full of life, just like the flowing waters of a virgin waterfall, is snatched of her happiness and innocence. And pushed to the dark dungeon of the flesh business. The narration dramatically ends, when the girl pleads her mother, not to gift her younger sister a blessed life like her's , as selling her body is more demeaning than snatching away life from it.The same parents who had food by selling their daughter, questions her sanctity and refuses to take her painfully earned money, fearing demean. Off-course she is not a good girl!

I sometimes feel helpless when I see the society around me. But it has been so since time immortal, God Shri Ram had asked his wife Sita to go through the humiliation of Agni Pariksha to prove her sanctity or goodness quotient.. And it has not changed today. Whenever we hear or read about discreet rape and molestation cases, the society has no dearth of eyes, that immediately start gauging the goodness of the victim from the length of her skirt. When a guys smokes or drinks, he is either stressed or being social. But when a girl does the same, "Hello!, she is a bad girl!" (Cigarette smoking and alcohol intake are injurious to health). A widow or divorcee woman finds it difficult to save her honor from the claws of society and continue to be a good girl.

Am I a good girl, if I raise a finger at the baseless biased norms of this so called modern society? Are you a good girl if you read my narrative? Who wants to know, who gives others the right to gauge our goodness or badness? Why on every phase of life, we have to prove our sanctity, innocence and being?Why do we have to prove to be good girls?

I prefer to be a woman, a woman of substance, who does not require the society to label her as good or bad.


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