of chastity and arranged marriages By Niharika Manda

of chastity and arranged marriages

are amma & nanna
pressuring you
to get married yet?
are the neighborhood
aunties gladly
reminding you,
that your clock is ticking,
and your career is nothing but a threat
to your future husband?

are you being set up
on blind dates
with indian men,
who secretly hope
you’re a chast virtue of goodness,
an untouched,
unopened book
of recipes and self-restraint?

do you feel the world telling you
that your womanhood
has a shelf life
that no number of diplomas
can preserve?

you most likely are.

but i’m here now.

i’m here to remind you,
that you are bold.
you can write, and sing,
and teach computers
to do extraordinary things.

i’m here to never let you forget
that it’s the year 2025,
and in an age where
you can be anything,
i will not let you
be coaxed into an
arranged marriage.

By Niharika Manda

Biography:

Niharika Manda recently graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a dual degree in Computer Science & Linguistics. She is a software developer at Amazon by day, and a poet by night. She is from San Jose, California but spent her high school years in Bangalore, India. She is passionate about the use of technology in creative arts, mental health, and bridging the gender gap in STEM. In her free time she likes to sing, drink lots of tea, and watch Indian movies. You can find her on instagram @niharika_manda.

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