A 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”.
All 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 (^_^)