Sum Total

One Indian woman


a feminist


a fair, homely, beautiful eligible girl


determined and strong opinionated


tall, slim and a slender figure


independent and a critical-thinker


traditional, cultured, well-mannered and modest


anti-patriarchal and anti-misogyny


submissive, docile, adjusting home-maker


fearless and honest


faithful and God-fearing


rational and practical


a “abla naari”

Divided by


Multiplied by

a strong desire to fight back and live

sums me up.

P.S. This post has been inspired from a film by Sonali. Original title of the film is “Sum Total. A Matrimonial” . Sonali isΒ an activist and filmmaker who has made several films including Sum Total and Barefeet.

Disclaimer: This poem has also been published on Women’s WebΒ and The Alternative.


26 thoughts on “Sum Total

  1. Hi there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so
    I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers!

    Outstanding blog and great design and style.

    1. Thank you! I wish too and to be honest it’s not their fault, they are so brainwashed since birth, by parents, by TV and by the society that only a few can see through them and rise above them.

  2. what you have written here is actually the sum total of physical characteristics of nearly 3/4th of women in this country. but, the mental characteristics (prowess) displayed by you is found in hardly 5% of the women. even the educated women do not possess the strength (mental) neither do they even want to fight this crushing and suffocating patriarchal system (pro-men). And the number of men who can actually be okay with a girl like that as their partner can be counted on finger tips in India. this mentality has to be changed. And you have taken a great initiative to do so. If only the “educated gentry” of this country were of the same opinion and opened their eyes and brains to the world and basic dignity.

  3. Hi, you are right and about that men part that is so true that it actually stings. I know it is a very sad situation but I just try to be optimistic, it is very difficult though. Again, I just hope that we will see a change.

  4. Hi, very well written again. I was interested in watching those short film by Sonali Gulati, Barefeet and Sum Total. I tried searching in youtube, but could not find it. If you have some link where I can find it, please mention it here.

  5. One quick suggestion, if you care. Try writing a piece on how Indian daily soap opera is helping building a stupid sense in this generation of people and how twisted and harmful it is for our society specially for women.

  6. Great great great !
    So much told in few words.
    Any sane guy regard highly of women who is clear like this.
    I wish every women read this speak her heart like this.
    Brilliantly said.

    Feeling Little guilty though. It’s just three of your post that i read. I only found this one positive (Marriage obligation and pepper spray for taking walk being negative for me. But It could have been right for others. But there was truth involved majorly.). Respect to you.
    My motto is “Dialog is good but finger pointing and name calling is bad.” So peace. I have wonderful male friends and brothers so when you say in other post that men mentality should be changed, please state instead that passive sociopaths should be exposed. you know the ones who says she was raped because she was wandering around at night. Most of the men usually live for women of their life say it GF, wife, mother, sister etc.

    1. Thank you Kalpita. On the other note, I would like to know where have I mentioned that all men are like this or that? About the pepper spray, as said I live in Delhi and here it’s not that safe so I carry a pepper spray and also a Swiss knife with me. I was sexually harassed once in the Delhi metro, I don’t see how or why I should not carry this stuff or write about them or this comes out as negative.

      1. Very sorry for not clearly stating my opinion. I never said it is wrong to carry safety. It is actually strongly appreciated and welcome move. If given women little more confident and your family also feel less worried and gives them sense that you are not just crying baby but strong women who isnt ignorant to violence. I said Negative because i feel like you portrait foreign as heaven while every society is subject to violence and it is not just for women. I am not talking about you though but I have seen so many women who dont even talk to any man with manners and thinks women are supreme and calls themselves feminist. Yes we have bitterness at heart and generally it comes from males but seriously ,isnt true meaning of feminism is gender equality? I have never seen sexual attack as attack on women I see it as attack on weak. You know sociopaths are cowards so they victimize the weak either physically or mentally, they dont do gender bias but we so called bra burning community does.
        So much have told about delhi lately but may be because it is sparsely populated. We are not living in heaven also but here it is very populated areas. Commercial and resident zone are not far, mostly it only exist on paper only. So help is kind of always a little shout away. But may be because women raise the concern to public very early, just when someone is staring. It’s little anti-feminine but asking for help almost always work. We also avoid to go out alone in unknown indoor locations. And this practice is not only for girls it applies to all.

  7. Something I cannot understand. Why minus traditional and cultured??
    Why is your idea of a woman so limiting and constricted?

    Oh wait I just saw your Bio.
    You are from JNU.
    Now that explains a whole lot of things.

  8. “Why are all the gorgeous ones homicidal maniacs?”
    ha ha sorry it has nothing to do with the context or article here. It is dialogue from the movie batman and robin. Terrible film by the way.

    Nice article dear. Looking forward to read more from you.

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