7 Poems about British Asian Taboos towards Disabilities

These seven original poems, written by Noori Ruma, explore the taboos and attitudes of British Asians towards those with disabilities.

7 Poems about British Asian Taboos towards Disabilities

Exploring and talking about British Asians with disabilities still remains a taboo, even controversial at times.

DESIblitz examines the realities and dilemmas regularly faced through seven reflective and exclusive poems written by Noori Ruma.

Stark yet truthful are the heartfelt traumas experienced by those with disabilities. Physical disability, cognitive disability and mental health illnesses cascade down an overwhelming burden of negative emotions.

From the tormenting fiery eyes to the ice cold overlooking, nothing is as it appears.

The illusion of acceptance and tolerance shatters when people share their experiences.

The societal poison that enters the bloodstream of thinking in British Asian lives renders more than an organ useless.

Stereotypes and so-called cultural expectations still plague many British Asians with disabilities. The first poem takes you to one such despondent beauty whose skin colour adds to the woes.

Never Lovely

The obsession, the fire that inspires that can burn just as easily.
It is the television, the magazines, the friends, the strangers and even a mother!
Glass cups of aromatic masala chai chime away, as the tray quivers with fear.
Choking away, deep breaths held by a sweating palm does not help.

She will say, “Just one more special bar of soap.”

The relentless search for a husband, the silent yet unspoken necessity.
It is the mentions, the recommendations to the dreaded introductions.
Sizzling away mustard seeds and turmeric anticipates a spicy vegetable mix.
Hot flash as the head spins in dizziness for fear of disappointing others.

She will say, “Just one more dose of cream.”

The spoken torments that pierce far deeper than any spike.
It is the comparisons, the suggestions, and the forsaken infinite list of alterations.
Cardamom and saffron infused Lassi will not hide the numbness and the chills.
Exhausted and trembling, opinions of her beautiful tanned skin take their toll

She will say, “Just one more little pill.”
She will say, “Just one more small injection.”
She attempts to say, “Just one more transfusion.”

The mental illness and anxiety that comes with the constant persecution of having darker skin are rife in British Asian society. Many lose themselves in the quest to conform to unobtainable beauty ideals.

The second poem delves into just how easily people without disabilities are judgemental of a person’s right to human affection and intimacy.

7 Poems about British Asian Taboos towards Disabilities - intimacy

Why The Questions?

Why do you look at her and ask the question meant for him?
Why can you not see him in the wheelchair?
Why is it really that difficult for you to lower your gaze?
Why do you make the assumption he does not have sex?
Why do you make the assumption that he cannot have sex?
Why are you such an authority on sex?
Why can’t it be meaningful sex?
Why can’t it be meaningless sex?
Why do you think his urges are less than yours?
Why do you think it has to be pity?
Why would you ask if she wants someone else?

Why do you bombard with such personal and intrusive questions?

Why do you think you have the right?

The inequality faced by British Asians with disabilities seems to be a vicious cycle of fighting to be seen and heard against the stereotyping and preconceived ideas. Even in terms of intimacy, a fight has to be fought.

The third poem probes into the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and the dangerously electric effects it leaves on loved ones attempting to care.

Forgotten Paagal

His intelligence was unparalleled.
Where are the keys!
Able to speak, read, and write five languages.
Who took those keys!

He earned a six-figure salary.
Today is not Friday!
Travelled the world in style.
Today cannot be Friday!

Handsome, pristine, and immaculate.
No water in my tea!
Committed father of three.
A teaspoon of coffee!

He provided for everyone’s dreams.
That’s not my room!
The one admirably watched by all.
What are you looking at!

He stands aghast by the future.
I don’t know! I told you I don’t know!
Angered by hearing that hated word Paagal.
Who is Paagal!

The comparison between a life lived before cognitive disability wreaked havoc unravels in debilitating fashion uncontrollably for all to see and remember.

The fourth poem encapsulates the strength in character and perseverance British Asians with disabilities display.

7 Poems about British Asian Taboos towards Disabilities - post natal

Resilient Beauty

Waters around her are vile, pollutants are abundant.
They continue to discuss, oh such difficulty they have for her.
Suffocating bitter words, the arsenic and cyanide combined.
Defiantly she glows, beautiful in her perfectly rounded green leaf.
Irrepressible determination to survive, displaying her majestic petals.
Completely untouched by the squalor of ignorant minds.
She is the lotus.

British Asians with disabilities are gaining resistance against traditional prejudices and oppressive attitudes. Slowly but surely momentum is gathering the confidence to say they are not going to hide their disabilities.

The fifth poem illustrates the shocking ease at which Post-Natal-Depression can go undetected and untreated within British Asian communities.

Oblivious

It should be warm, festive and fulfilling.
The heat is unbearable, scorching and pounding right above.
Everyone delights at the little new arrival so perfect and full of life.
The dust storm approaches, blinding, burdensome as it blows into the eyes.

Burning under the sun.
Burning all alone.

It should be tears of joy, the unbreakable bond.
The droplets are droplets no more, fiercely beating down so fast.
Everyone is in awe of such a tiny, delicate little miracle.
Nothing escapes this relentless harsh monsoon; it floods everything in its path.

Drowning in the mudslide.
Drowning all alone.

It should be a pleasure, all doting and devoted.
The cold is icy, so cold it is painful and numbing to the core.
Everyone is cradling, passionately protecting the fragile little being.
The snow engulfs with its gentle disguise of soft white flakes it falls and falls.

Freezing under the avalanche.
Freezing all alone.

It should be… not this hard.

This poem shows the isolation and lack of understanding a new mother finds whilst dealing with her unbearable mental illness. Within British Asian community often the assumption of natural maternal ability and instinct is automatic for all.

This penultimate poem demonstrates how often British Asians with physical disabilities are seen as just their disability.

7 Poems about British Asian Taboos towards Disabilities - defiance

Defiant

The callipers are not her mind.
The metal rods are not her style.
Unkind words are so leather bound.
She will take her liberation.

Bravely she stands without regard.
The callipers are not her mind.
Despite the stares, the glares she smiles.
Her body chimes in defiance.

People will not subdue her will.
Graceful skills no one can deny.
The callipers are not her mind.
There is no choice but to succeed.

Fierce passion rages in her.
Unafraid of the world in front.
She refuses to be defined.
The callipers are not her mind.

This poem is about a young British Asian with cerebral Palsy attempting to navigate her world against societal conventions. She fights to be seen for her skills and not her disability.

This final poem surrenders to the emotions of a woman who has lost the love of her life to cognitive disability.

Stolen Aashiq

That all so penetrating look has become so vacant.
His mere whisper could ignite her passion.
Now it sends a shiver down her heated spine.

It would arouse the coldest mind, rendered a bleak abyss.
The titillating spicy contours of her body so divine,
Now is tasteless, discarded of no interest.

That enticing, gentle engulfing of his toned, firm chest.
There is no more reaction as her breasts press against him.
Now is to clean his incontinence.

It felt erotic, sensual and fertile till it became barren.
What would be savoured, caressed and longed for,
Now is forgotten, fading faster than a mirage.

That sensual mouth uttered nothing but praise and kindness.
He would stroll and dance along the paths of her naked body.
Now howls accusations of adultery and abuse.

It was a love so fulfilling devastated befallen by disease.
He would seduce her amidst the playful evening.
Now he is a stranger. It is no more.

That wrestling all through the night, sweat pours down her skin.
Her heart is racing, unable to breathe.

He nearly burnt down the home they made.

This poem uncovers the bitter truth of the turmoil and danger that befalls a couple when one partner develops Dementia. It shows what a complete contrast life has become for the couple from a devastating disability.

These seven poems are inspired by the courageous, irrespective of disability and its constraints. They showcase the diverse nature of disability and its impact on lives. Through the looking glass held by society, British Asians with disabilities appear distorted.

Brave, commendable and determined British Asians with disabilities are manufacturing a new toughened glass with their own distinctive individual sheen.

Noori whilst being disabled has a vested interest in creative writing. Her writing style delivers subject matters in a unique and descriptive way. Her favourite quotation: “Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass” ~ Chekhov.