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My rendezvous with the Third Gender

TransA morning when I was struggling through some of issues in my life. I chose to put it aside for some while and chill out with my friends. Even when the time was pre-planned, I got out from home early so that I could spend some time with myself. I was commuting via Metro.

I wasn’t in my Best moods so, I did something weird. I dressed up as if it were the best day of my life. Unlike my regular day, I put on my Eyeliner, Mascara, Lipstick, wore a nice blue dress to look very jolly, and this somehow made me feel better.

It sometimes works, you know, when you are sad, you force yourself to smile ’til it eventually makes you feel better. ‘Fake until you make it’. Doesn’t this work, sometimes?

It was Ladies’ Compartment. After a few stations, I realized someone beside me was talking to someone sitting in front of me. I could see her uncomfortable expressions. So I paused the track I was listening to, to get the idea of what was happening. I felt the need to help if needed.

I found there was a Neuter sitting beside me, she was asking for the route. However, the girl didn’t know. Also, the girl was maybe a little scared too, that’s how I felt through her expressions. The neuter was complimenting  the girl in weird ways. She kept saying- “You look pretty, you better try into films, leave your studies, and When you’ll come into movies, I will be proud to see you and call myself a sister of a Movie Actor”.

shutterstock_168955373-605x400All this was quite funny because of the tone of her voice and manner in which she was speaking but also quite scary because we all have been taught by our parents, societies to be at a little distance from Hijras. The reasons that they give us are one too many ranging from- ‘They are not good people!’ or ‘They have a very different community than ours and the best bet is to stay far from them’. Obviously the kids of our age need reasoning and logic and when parents aren’t able to feed us logic, they frighten us by telling weird stories. They tell us that the Hijra Community abducts teenagers and injects them with hormones to turn them into a hijra as well. Or they would tell us how cruel, shameless they are. They would claim that the hijras would do anything for money and if not given, they insult people in the worst possible way.

All these little stories have created a bad reputation of this commune. These sharp words have subconsciously created an outlook amongst us all. The Hijras are not respected by any. It is only at the time of a birth of a baby that they are welcomed in houses to give blessings to the new born and gifted with lots of money and jewellery. The sole time when they’re welcomed.

Coming back to the incident, she, then started staring me, and saying the movie things to me too. To which I lightly replied- “I am not that good-looking to qualify as an actress and also even if I wish, my parents want me to study.”

She was exceedingly extrovert. She was indulging in small-talks with everyone in the compartment. The girls, ladies, she started to joke with everybody. She complimented everybody in the coach, speaking in a very funny manner and comical accent. She even persuaded a girl to call her husband to talk to him on phone. Can you believe that? She talked to her husband and said— “Why don’t you marry me?” She even jokingly said i love you to him. I found it extremely comical.  After talking to her husband she blessed them.

In India, the blessings of Hijras are considered very fortunate. She didn’t ask her for money, but the lady gave her a hundred which somehow made an obligation for others to pay her too. They all started giving her some money. I really couldn’t understand why, despite denying so much, she started to accept money then. This one thing kept me confused for days and I couldn’t make a heads or tails about it honestly. Anyway, the route thing I knew about.

I knew the route so I explained her. She, however, couldn’t understand so I thought to accompany till I could as I had ample time before the meet-up. I took her to the next platform, from where we had to board the train.

We were exchanging thoughts all this time, I asked her about her life, she told me stories from her childhood, how her mother didn’t want to give her up despite her being the other gender. She said, with sadness within her, “There’s nobody like a Mother. A Mother never wants to lose her child despite all the flaws that the child may have. She’ll accept them even after knowing the hardships that they’ll have to face. She said it’s the society that creates more problem than family does.” I was completely in her agreement. There was a lot of noteworthy dissatisfaction in her eyes. She encouraged me to study and told me to never let anyone, anyone demoralize and dominate me. Yes, these were her words, after not being able to study, because of the differences. She was still encouraging me to study.

She talked to me about other things, told me about the Dharma-Maa that she had. The Dharma-Maa is someone who nurtures one despite not being one’s biological mother. Hers was the head of the ‘Hijra Community’ of their region. She told me how she used to let her study when it wasn’t allowed by their community to touch books. Every day she would study in a park and then bury the books under the bulky tree. This hustle was continued for a couple of years. But she was sad as she couldn’t continue her education after 8th standard. She wanted to, but after that, even her Maa couldn’t support her Education. Can you feel this? Can you imagine how depressing it must be for this community to quit education? To be treated like lepers, outcasts?

She told me she misses her family and her home in which she was born. She said she’s very unlucky to have been born like that else she could spend her life with her family with right and dignity. She told me that not a day passes without her yearning for a family. She misses them endlessly. I could just feel her, I tried to console her a bit. I really hope that nobody suffers from this pain yet want that everybody feels this pain, only then, maybe we can all be empathetic with them who are less-fortunate.

She kept on telling me how she envies us all because we have a family to live with. People have a spouse and children. She was sad that she can never get all this. We get to hang-out with our friends and family. We get to go out anywhere with complete liberty without being eyed but if Hijras are roaming around, they are eyed and judged.

What next? We talked some more about Love. She complimented me and said – “You’re very pretty, you must have an ardent lover.” I said no promptly. Because of the conflicts in my love life, I wanted to evade this subject of LOVE. I did have a boyfriend but we had been going through some tough times and we were not able to get along lately so I decided to continue only as friends. Obviously I didn’t explain my complicated love to her. I simply said— “I do have someone who loves me but I don’t love him”. It must be mere coincidence that she cut me and said— “No, you’re lying, you love him”. I was amazed because the truth I was hiding, she understood or maybe it was a mere chance she said so. I told her about how self-sufficient I was and I needed nobody to be with me. She was almost in tears when I said that.

She expressed her desire of true love in her life,  her wants to be with someone who would accept her in the way Lord has created her and love her. She needed someone to listen to her problems, to talk about absolutely nothing, to care for her choices, someone who would be there for her, someone who would love to kiss her, someone who would fight for her, who would respect her, someone she would love to care about. I was nodding with her words & said—“Just the feeling that someone is there for you is the best feeling in the world.” We both could relate. Listening to this, we both had our eyes wet. She simply asked me to love him back if the relationship is worth it as Love is a very beautiful feeling. I nodded.

She was so distressed. Her only wish was to be amongst us, the normals, only if she were born as a man or a woman. She wished that could happen. “I’m not happy with this life of begging. Where we are not involved in any societal meets, not respected. I wish I could also study like a normal person to change the way how our community is treated,” she said. I encouraged her that she can still do it.

I was thinking of ways to console her but knowing the hardships that she has to face every day, the struggle, it was difficult for me to find words. I still tried by saying— “Don’t worry, whatever happens, happens for good, you just believe in God.” She was a bit relaxed now. The magic wasn’t in me or my words, I didn’t do much to calm her; the true magic was in just my calm listening. I’m glad that I just could listen to her and if not solve her problems, just lessen her mental burden.

Finally, her destination arrived, I dropped her, and we said our byes. She went, but her thoughts lingered on. I was constantly thinking about her and the struggles. I was wondering how the world can embrace them. What things should change, “Total Utopianism”, attainable or not. I prayed for her and the community.

I also started to think about reconciling with my beloved. I was thinking on how I should make up for the things gone wrong in our relationship, how I should fill the gaps. Well, I started my efforts, it took me a while. It was hard at first, but things turned smooth as this was what we both wanted. We settled all the differences one by one and eventually our relationship turned stronger than ever. May be the problems were important to strengthen our relationship. And the realization of its importance was equally necessary.

And about her, I’m worried. Because of her being too talkative and extrovert, I felt traces of depression in her. I would be happier if my observation turns out wrong. I hope she’s well. We all should do our bit to make them feel home whenever we see them. Just a mild smile would do, I really request people to not look this community with an evil eye. They’re just as humans as we are. They’re God’s creation as we are, only a bit different.

P.S. Next time you see one of them, Do them a Favor— JUST SMILE  (^_^)

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Ban Insecurities not Makeup!

Black

I was born Black but I didn’t know it. I was my Daddy’s cute little girl. My Daddy! He loved my hair, he used to arrange them every day, be it ponytails or braids. Tickling and games, my childhood was all about it. One word can summarize my childhood and that is Happiness.

I never saw a Mirror, never needed to. I was the prettiest and the most beautiful girl as my Daddy called me. Then I became a teenager, the time of tonnes of changes, biological, physical, mental, loads of them. The time of fragility and abysmal confusion. The people started commenting on my looks, told me that my skin was not white, not pure.

I never knew the difference between the white and black skin. The only way I could distinguish people was their acquaintance or relationship with me. There were people I know in one group and the ones I didn’t know in the other. That was it, there were no further classifications with their color, class, religion, caste as a base.

With each day, the number of comments was rising, I was becoming a mess. I got confused between the notion of Daddy and that of the society. Daddy called me the prettiest and now people were eyeing me and calling me Black. He was not there anymore, couldn’t ask him too.

black1With new and different comments, weird and awkward stares, strange insecurities were being born in me every day.

I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t want to believe that my black skin was not pretty. However, bit by bit, the strange insecurities about the skin, color, lips broke the belief. The belief of being the Daddy’s Most Beautiful Girl broke.

I got to know the difference finally. I became uncomfortable in my skin. I was ashamed of being black. They forced me to be ashamed of my black skin. Each day was a sin after the realization.

I started to put makeup, layers of it. Primer, concealer, foundation, highlighter, kohl, mascara and tone-enhancing, fairness creams and what not at night as well. I thought it would be okay. I felt good in the beginning when my kith and kin complimented me. It gave me a satisfaction, a feeling that I was accepted. I felt happy. Months and years passed. My obsession for makeup also rose. I couldn’t picture myself without makeup anymore. It became my identity, the outer one at least. I got dependent on it. It became my drug.

But one night, I was removing my makeup, I removed the Kohl first, it got smudged and smeared. Then I took the cleansing wipe, rubbed it on my lips. The bold red lips became dull, lifeless at once. I panicked a bit. I folded the wipe, started to clean my face. I could see, stroke by stroke, the two juxtaposing skin tones. I was horrified. I can’t explain the feeling, what I felt that very moment, suddenly there was a tear in my eye. I wiped it, cleansed and washed my face and went to bed. I tried to sleep but I wasn’t able to.

I was confused about this incident for many months. I was losing my sleep. There was this identity crisis in me after all of it that I was neither able to embrace my natural shade, be comfortable with it or wear it publicly nor I was able to be happy in my artificial shade, I was wearing it to work but I wasn’t feeling myself anymore.

Then to worsen it, one day, while I was checking Instagram, I saw a white women’s post. It said-“BAN MAKEUP and FAIRNESS CREAM”. I was angry, sad, happy, worried, optimistic, and pessimistic in a single moment. Can you believe it?

Angry! As why a white woman is posting it, she’s not black, she doesn’t feel us then how did she get the right to post it.

Sad! As I was already disturbed about my skin. I was worried if should this happen, what would I do without makeup? How would I see myself without these products?

Happy as at least someone thought of it, a woman thought of it despite she’s white, she cared enough for others. She wants others to feel beautiful with whatever God has gifted them with.

Worried! I was worried how will I go out, in such a dull and lifeless skin. What would others think of me if they see me like so?

Optimistic! I thought maybe if there are no products, everyone will eventually accept their natural beauty despite the differences and the diversity. After all, we all are the same, all humans, we all have eyes, ears, mouth, lips, brain, heart etc. Maybe the world will embrace the black and white alike now.

Pessimistic! What if this all was a bubble, my bubble of hope. What if this all was my imagination while the reality might be unfavorable? What if the world refuses to believe in black, denies their rights and opportunities. What if we’re all left out.

black1Yes, all these thoughts in a couple of seconds. My head was all about it, and it started to pain because it was a Brain War.

I was messed up beyond words that night. I took a pill and tried to catch some Zs. I slept with a wet pillow. The pill put me to sleep.

Luckily, I had a good dream that night. In my dream, there was a different world, an animated and a really beautiful one. I saw chocolate rivers, colorful trees. Some trees had candies hung on them. Some had cupcakes while others had star shaped fairy lights hung on them. On one side, there was this huge fall, from which strawberry shake was falling. The people’s face were teddy like, had a cherry-like nose. There were big mansions made of waffles which also had noodle shaped curtains on their glass panes. There were statues of chocolate, ice-cream filled ponds. Pasta shaped ducks and all cute little animals. Surprisingly, all the teddies looked alike. A huge bell rang in a while, at the center of the beautiful Garden. Suddenly all the teddies sat on the green grass for lunch. They held each other’s hand and made a big circle, leaving no one behind. All sat and had lunch circled by small puppies and kittens, they also joined for lunch.

The speciality of this very time was the way they all sat for the feast. Their regular meal was a feast each day. They were so happy and joyous. Each one of them started to feed others with their plate. Each one was filled up with not just food but love. The cute animals were not left alone either. What an adorable scene that was! I wish I could capture it on my phone. Suddenly played the Beep! Beep! My alarm played and woke me up.

I woke up with a smile on my face. I remembered each scene of my dream, so clearly and vividly. I was in awe of it. I was happy about it, the dream fed me some positivity, and a long lost one. I went to the park, bathed, ate my breakfast and got ready for work.

I did not wear makeup that day, it was hard but I didn’t. I tied my hair and went for work. Some colleagues questioned on why I looked so dull. To which I replied—“I look real.” Some appreciated while others chose to whisper and laugh. I won’t say it was easy. It was bold, you know, doing something, unafraid, indifferent to the consequences. I did it or maybe I didn’t. This was daddy’s pretty girl who did it.

The wicked and surprised eyes disappointed me a little at first. But the impression of the dream were enough to keep me strong enough to not be hurt by the stones pelted at me.

Instead, the second time I chose to fire back at the ones who came and commented on my skin. I chose to bomb kind words wrapped in sarcasm with a smirking smile on my face. I could see them almost dying as they couldn’t make me insecure anymore. I saw that dissatisfaction in their eyes when they saw my proud eyes. I wish I knew this cycle in my teenage. Comments if not answered turn into our own insecurities while also powering the perpetrators.

I was not looking for an acceptance anymore. I accepted myself entirely that day. Isn’t there much more to me, my life than the shade of my flesh?

Problems never last so does satisfaction. I was pondering over a cup of java that what if I had not seen that Instagram post that day? What if I had not cared for my dull lips and different shades that day? What if my daddy never called me beautiful? What if I hadn’t had that dream morning?

I could be happy in my flesh once again, the way nature made me, the way my family loved and accepted me. But what about the others? Who are as black as I yet with golden but fragile hearts? What sequence is designed by the nature to make them believe in their selves again? What if they don’t see that post or have that dream?

What ifs are tonnes but so are the what now’s. We all should be that human to at least someone that betters their life directly or indirectly. I want to inspire many by this small tale. But I’m not going to say Ban Makeup or Ban Fairness Cream.

I would go and shout out loud—“BAN THE INSECURITY”. I would teach the trick to silent the commentators. I’m going to teach the blacks to educate the racists and pity their limited thinking.

I would teach the teenagers how the color palette is incomplete and somehow blank with just white and alone without the black.

The world is also the color palette of the Lord whose colors are white, black and so many others and his arts are equally colorful. If God wasn’t partial to his color palette, who gave humans the right to criticize his art pieces?

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We’re all eggs full of hope!

We are all a little egg. An egg full of hope, life, confidence, courage, the one that witnesses the abysmal power inside that thin white shell. An egg that is bound to give life in one form or the other. An egg that holds the soul of its originator, God’s.

An egg’s destiny is a result of one of the two actions. Somebody either takes the egg and for their use, they break the shell, hitting it with a spoon or smashing it on the surface, the thin shell, in its infancy that holds a spirited life inside shows only a little resistance. The problem is the external force somehow always exceeds the intrinsic resistance. The egg breaks, the life is gone. But now it feeds the other life, keeping its essence and meaning.

Or the otherwise would be, the egg would be left to its own destiny. The life is inside the shell, it derives the energy to develop its body parts from the yolk.

Gradually from eyes to the heart to wings, it doesn’t happen in a day, the life takes its time and becomes a chick. The final examination of the chick is to break the egg from the inside. Nobody teaches him to do so in the shell, it is on its own. The chick puts all its power trying to explode, the power that made it into a chick is the power that shall give him a life in the world. With its small teeth, it fractures the shell, trying to make a crack. It finally makes it, cracks the egg and makes space and comes out. Tired but happy to have made it on its own.

Aren’t we all such eggs? We either would do something that is imposed on us or do what our inclinations choose. The first option is for the people who either fail to recognize their inner calls, or are in no position to take their life-decisions, whose life is a mortgage and the mortgagees are his blood relatives.

The other ones, who crack the egg gradually. The rebels- people choose to call them lucky. Rebellious or Lucky, it doesn’t matter, they do make it on their own in the end. Nobody cares what it takes to crack the shell which is equivalent to challenges in everyday life- patience, diligence, persistence, perseverance. People call them lucky blatantly. The Appreciators are rare, the Critics are all. The Chick finally survives the world with the magic of life in it.

Omelette or Life? You be your own Sailor because it’s your ship.