Meenakshi tells us about Kiran, a transgender. She shows us the conflicts, trials and tribulations of such a person, who feels trapped in the body of another sex. Here’s a real-life story, exclusively for Different Truths.
The rain was falling hard and fast and the tears from my eyes continued to flow uninterrupted. My mascara ran all the way down my cheeks in a dark black stream, my make-up dripping off my face and blotched my blouse. But this was a day I will hold forever in my heart. Pain, mingled with passion, joy with tears and happiness with a sense of loss too. So many emotions, yet all I could feel was the thumping in my chest. The fear, combined with the ecstasy of a new life. The joy of truly being me, living as I am, being able to stand for me!
As I see Amma off at the station, I am struck by a deep sense of gratitude for the Gods above for giving me the strength to stand up for myself and become who I am.
I wasn’t born this way. This is what I have become over time. Life takes us all through so much rough and tumble that at the end all we can hope for is some sanity in the chaos. But in my case, I think that was not to be. Chaos and turbulence have been dear friends of mine and they don’t let go of me so easily.
I am Kiran. I am 30 years old and this is my story.
I was born to a very middle middle-class family. No fancy birthing. Just a basic maternity home. And my mother was in labour for about four hours when I finally emerged into this world. I came out upside down and changed my parents lives thoroughly!
When I was born, I was the second child. My sister was older by three years and a generation wiser than me! When I was born, the doctors wrote on the discharge summary – healthy male baby, weighing 1.26 kgs. And my parents were ecstatic! Their family was complete. One girl, one boy! What more can anyone ask for? A girl to indulge in and a boy to take care of them when they grew old and senile. Perfect!
Not really! See, the trouble really started when I was around 12. I was a precocious child and pampered silly by my parents. In the days when we couldn’t afford luxuries, I was the only on drinking Horlicks in the household. I would get new clothes every year for more reasons than my poor sister! She would get hand me downs from our cousins in Kerala. I was the only boy child on both sides of the family and every effort was made to make sure that I was happy. But I wasn’t.
Like I mentioned earlier, my problems started when I was 12. I still distinctly remember how I felt that day. I was in school and the boys in class in their typical style would stop boys when they entered the toilets and would make them unzip before they entered the stalls. Never understood why they did that but there were a few boys from the 10th standard and some from my class too who stood on the inside of the toilet and would accost the boys coming inside.
I entered the toilet along with a couple of other boys and I saw them being asked to unzip before me. And for the first time, when I saw other boys showing off their manhood, I felt a deep stirring. Almost like their machismo aroused me! I would hang around more with these boys because there was something so magnetically masculine about them, something so strong about them, where I felt I needed to be held by them, protected by them and aroused by them. Sounds crazy right? But that’s how I realised that I was not like the other boys. I could not get turned on by watching the girls’ skirts, their small, budding bodies, their legs or anything that they did. I was, instead turned on by the men!
At home, I was fascinated by the clothes my sister would wear. The talcum powder she would use. The bangles she wore and the anklets that she owned. When everyone would be sleeping, she & I would sneakily dress up in her frocks and dresses, apply her powder and put on her bangles. What seemed like an innocent game initially started becoming a fetish for me. And that’s when things started getting really difficult with my sister and later with my parents. How could a boy of 12 explain that he was a woman? He felt like a woman from the deepest recesses of his soul. He longed to be in a saree or a salwar kameez rather than the pants and shirts he was wearing. He wanted to be a girl, not a man. So when my voice started to crack, it broke my heart even more! When I started sprouting a down of a faint moustache, I wanted to peel off my entire face.
My need to become a woman was becoming more and more fervent and I would wake up some nights in a cold sweat that this was not what I was. I was a woman trapped in this ugly man body. I wanted, so desperately, to be held, caressed and comforted instead of being lectured to and beaten for wearing my favourite pink bangles. Why wouldn’t people understand that I was not this boy standing in front of the mirror? I was a girl in a skirt who loved to dance and sing and dress up. And this had to change soon. I was getting tired of this charade.
My story took a turn when I turned 16. For four years, I struggled with trying to explain how I felt and how my needs were very different from what my parents could comprehend. My mother would weep every time my father would beat me. They were ashamed of me and they could not understand what had happened to this beautiful boy they had given birth to. My mother would pray to all the Gods she knew. My father would keep a stony distance between me and him. He refused to acknowledge my presence in the house. He hated me. I could see the loathing in his eyes every time he spoke about me or to me. I was a disappointment to everyone at home. And this guilt was eating me up from the inside. So much so that I started spending more and more time outside on the streets than at home. And slowly the streets accepted me as its own and I started owning parts of it as my own. I would wander all day long after school and spend time with some of the boys in the streets. At first they were confused with me. They knew I was not a boy yet I was not a girl. So while they would tease me and make fun of my mannerisms, they were also so caught up in their smoking and street gangs that they just left me to be whatever I wanted to be. Soon this too changed.
There was a beauty parlour on my way from school that was run by Lakshmi Tai. Lakshmi Tai was a transgender woman and she was everything I wanted to be. Slowly and inch by inch I befriended her and started to spend some time with her every day on my way back. In a matter of a few months I managed to confide in Lakshmi Tai that I was not this boy and that I wanted to be a woman. Her first reaction was to burst out laughing, loudly and calling all her assistants in the parlour. My face flushed and I ran out of the place. The next day, she was standing at the entrance and she called me in and told me she wanted to talk to me.
And that day changed me forever. She told me her story of how she was thrown out her house and how she was raped repeatedly by men on the streets and how she was ‘rescued’ by a Tai and how she helped healed her, and helped shape her personality and gave her a new life. And that she wanted to repay for all that her Tai had done for her by tutoring me and helping me. She warned me that this life wasn’t easy and that we would have to leave all our life behind and start all over. She came home and spoke to my parents who were as adamant as before and asked me to leave their house immediately and go away with Lakshmi Tai. Which I did. I actually left home and moved in to the parlour that Lakshmi Tai ran. She let me sleep on the floor every night and during the day she would tutor me on how to dress up and how to groom women! Imagine! A man/boy quitting school overnight and becoming a hairdresser? It wasn’t fancy at that time but for the first time in my life I felt I had a purpose and that I was free to be me. Her assistants were all women but they took an instant liking for me and now was surrounded by 6 mothers including Lakshmi Tai. And that’s how my second life started.
Today, I am standing on the station waving goodbye to my family who are headed to Kerala for treating my father for his severe arthritis. Today, before they left, they visited me for the first time in my own parlour! I set this up entirely with my savings and whatever I earned from Lakshmi Tai. This is a place I am proud to own and run it on my terms. I am proud of who Lakshmi Tai created. She taught me how I could do make up and now I am the sought after make-up artist in the entire city. People from far off places visit me to see how I have created a life that is mine. I don’t know when I’ll see my family again but I will be paying for their new life in Kerala. And I don’t know what my future will hold for me. But I know that there is a Lakshmi Tai for everyone out there struggling for their identity and that the world will be a beautiful place for all once we accept everyone for who they are. With this, I’ll head back now. My life wasn’t as tumultuous or exciting as the other transgender on the streets and my aim is to help them lead normal lives. I only aim to spread love and acceptance. I hope you do too.
Photos from the Internet
#Fiction #LGBTQ #shortstories #