Dearest Virginia,

I do not know how to start here. I thought of writing to you a long back about this newly born meaningful bud in the garden of my life. After your straightforward argumentative essay, a feminist criticism for some about my brother William’s writing and the fame he received because he is the son of the Shakespeare family and how I was trapped in my own home because I am the daughter. After your essay was published my family had had a big drama inside the house and in each of our minds as well. My brother was angry with me as if I had written it; he has been looking at me furiously each day as though that essay is written all over my skin which he wants to scribble up. My mother had a lot in her mind but as usual, she said no word but her eyes had scattered letters which none of us could read. My father was quiet, looking out of the window at the flowers I had planted in our garden; sitting in William’s room on his writing-table thinking something which I could have never imagined.

We received a copy of your essay in our mailbox by an unknown person. After a few hours, William finished reading it and came running towards me; throwing it on my face and shouting, “What are you trying to do? You think you can ease your jealousy by publishing this and make me feel bad? Your room and your money?...” My mother entered the Kitchen after hearing him shout. I could read her face; she was surprised to see William in the kitchen probably for the first time and was feeling bad for the cake that was ruined due to a copy of the essay thrown towards me than the sadness on my face. As soon as my mother entered, William went back to his room with a lot of splenetic opinions about your essay, which I had not read. My mother asked me what happened but I could tell her nothing since I did not know what those papers read which wasted my efforts of making the cake. My mother left without asking me another question.

I too went back to my room and latched the door (probably for the first time in my life) and started reading your essay. Yes, I collected those papers to read and know what is it that made my brother feel that I am jealous of him. As I finished reading it, I was numb or full of thoughts running through each cell of my body that made me feel empty, naked. I reached towards the old papers in my cupboard; observing my calligraphy on those old tinted sheets whose roughness was expressive to the moment. (For the first time, I felt like appreciating my beautiful handwriting). I read a few lines I had written at the age of 13 when I had my first menstrual cycle and the thoughts I had then. The thoughts were incomplete on the paper as my parents had burnt some of the pages after reading it, but that very incident had reached a long way in my subliminal mind now.

I folded that incomplete tale, opened the drawer of the table to hide them again and I saw that I too had the copy of ‘A Room of One’s Own’ in the drawer. I was shocked rather surprised to see it. I did not touch it maybe because somewhere it made me feel ashamed of myself after looking at the kind of life I was living and also due to a lot of anger towards my family and society. I went back to my bed.

The next morning I saw my father seating in his resting chair uncomfortably. He looked at me, nodded; giving me a signal that he knows what had happened. My father reached William’s room and knocked on the door (Yes, he locks it whenever he wants), and the loud reply came, “Do not disturb me. I am writing. Ask Judith to fill me a new ink-pot; it’s been two days I had told her. It seems to me she’s forgetting her job these days”. My father did not say a word; he reached back to his chair and rested with his eyes closed.

I came close to him; the moment I reached he held my hand and said, “So what did you think about the essay?” I looked at him surprised, at how he knew I’ve read it. I said with a shaking hand which my father was holding, “I am not sure father what I feel about it. It’s quite certain that Mrs. Woolf has her own understanding about my life although…” My father cut me off and said, “Call her Virginia; I assume she won’t like being called Mrs.” I was shocked at my father’s reaction and a meticulous thought slipped through my mind how my mother was proud of being Mrs. Shakespeare and what I might prefer when I get married. Shifting from my scrupulous perception, I came back to the present and without saying a word I went back to my room and latched it again.

I opened the drawer to see my own copy of your essay. It is amusing how the sense of authority is common in everyone. We all have a tender belonging towards me, mine, myself. Although I had read it earlier from my brother’s copy, it felt to me as though my copy of the essay is different, unique to his. I just held it close to me, feeling warm; looking at the empty ink-pot on the desk (which still reminded me of William’s order).

After an hour I came out of my own room unlatching its door and to my surprise; William was filling up his own ink-pot, although not with his full attention. I searched for my father, my mother who was helping my brother to fill the ink pot; directed me towards William’s room. With a strange curiosity; I entered the room as none of us usually enter there especially when he isn’t inside the room. My father was watching out of the window at those flowers, there was a hidden doubt on his face; I could read from one side. As I entered he looked at me gracefully, smiling, and said, “How about we start with your story when you were 13?” I looked at him astonished; realizing for the first time how my father knew me so well and also knowing the stranger who kept that copy in my drawer. (I felt deep gratitude towards my father for teaching me to read and write at home, the gratefulness I had never felt before.)

It’s been 24 hours since I read ‘A Room of One’s Own’ in my own room and how it made me realize or rather experience that; both men&women of the society are packed in a wrapper with the patriarchal rules written on it, followed by generation after generation and how they are now rooted in my brother’s inner self as well. These rules we unconsciously start to follow up giving that wrapper a color, shape as per the gender we are born with until one day someone somewhere sometime realizes we do not need these shapes and colors. It is a long way till we unfollow these rules and eventually be a part of the world where humans who are unaware of these rules live with equality towards each other.

I am sending you a copy of my first writing. No, it is not the one I penned when I was 13, that Judith is not alive anymore. This one is about these same 24 hours from Mary Arden’s lens whom we proudly call Mrs. Shakespeare.

I haven’t had it published yet; still learning to have my own financial independence in the world of male dominance but yet this expressive freedom to have my own ink-pot filled for myself is marvelous.

Writing you from the room of my own,


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