Murdering Meena (Friday 100-word thingie)
OK this one is a bit dark! Even for me. I really don’t know why or where it comes from because I (swear I) am a happy, insanely grateful yet mostly sane person. The insane parts are nice too. But this stuff is there and I noticed it and I’m thoroughly useless at pretending otherwise. So I have to get it out. It’s why I write.
Thank you for still being here :-)
Beautiful Rani divorced Onkar to marry a richer man, who’d gone and died. Helpless, Rani moved back in with Onkar and his new wife Meena. For a week. Soon months, years passed.
People looked askance, but shrugged. Poor Onkar was known to be endlessly kind. But it was Meena who shone. With self-effacing kindness, she made space for Rani. People marveled at her magnanimity.
Then Onkar was found dead, his head split open with a rolling pin. When questioned, Meena stated glassily, “I cooked his favorite lentils. Rani spat them out, saying there was too much salt. He just nodded.”
—reena | 10/31/23
Murdering Meena. Murdering Meena. Both true.
Poor kind Meena finally had too much when an ostensibly small trigger sent her over the edge — with disastrous consequences. In this tale, Meena is kind to the point that she dishonors her own needs. She thinks she should accept second class status because she must be selfless. After all (she asks herself) how can she demand in the face of Rani’s tragedy? What kind of monster can’t find kindness in their heart for a poor, helpless widow?
Have you observed how people do this to themselves when they’re not careful with honoring their own needs? When they “love” but without a rooted sense of self-respect? And misplaced notions of self sacrifice eat away at them and their lives.
All the while, the world eggs them on by praising their sacrifice, telling them how good they are to be such willing participants in their own erasure.
Don’t get me wrong. Kindness and love are life-affirming emotions, necessary for a well lived life. Those notions are the source of much happiness and meaning for us. But these can be misapplied, misappropriated, and manipulated when not accompanied by a healthy sense of self.
Said another way, is there such a thing as too much kindness? It also begs the question of why people do this? What need do they have for approval, to be always seen as “nice” or for expunging unearned guilt? I believe such abject subscription is just another pathology.
Unfortunately a deepening resentment becomes a steady companion, a puzzling side effect of such behavior. Volcanic resentment is what finally bubbled over for poor Meena.
I feel lucky to have gained many new subscribers this year. Please do continue to share my words with friends and family. Every new subscriber makes my day. THANK YOU for coming.
And because you’re here, I’m going to start (re)introducing some of my old poems/posts. Here’s one favorite poem. I wrote it almost exactly two years ago when I was frenziedly traveling back and forth, between California and India. I miss my parents desperately but I don’t miss that travel…
Particularly happy to announce that one of the poets I admire on Substackwho writes a fabulous poetry newsletter himself, is now a paid subscriber. And that brings my paid subscriber count up to 3! Slow and steady is my hope.
Do check out Brian’s touching and elegant poems here.