Shekhar was a brilliant student. He had taken up Business Management after he graduated from St. Xavier’s College. He had a towering ambition and he wanted to achieve the most in his career as a top Executive. He was a sincere worker, and did not spare himself in his efforts. But though everybody around him admired him for his calibre, there were a few of his colleagues who were jealous of his success. Shekhar himself was always depressed, as if nothing satisfied him. He knew why he felt dissatisfied, but he could not divulge his secret to anyone. The knowledge tore him apart with apprehension…how was he to face the world with so much on his mind!
Papiya was his close friend. They had been in school together. They had also joined IMM in Kolkata and shared common interests. But the situation became very complicated at this juncture. She had fallen in love with him, and expressed deep affection for him, and said that she could not live apart from him. She said that if he did not marry her, she would take her own life.
Shekhar went about with a heavy heart. How could he tell her that he could never marry Papiya. It was not that he did not care for her, which he did in his own way. He was in love too with some body else, but that was his secret! Shekhar after much deliberation, decided that he should tell her in all justice, but he was afraid of the consequences. What if she committed suicide? After office, Sekhar asked Papiya to meet him at Mocambo. He would tell her everything that weighed heavy on his heart.
Five minutes elapsed. Every now and then he looked at the time on his wrist watch.
Ten minutes, then fifteen, half an hour, but there was no sign of Papiya. In the mean he had drained down the last drop of Beer that he had ordered. He started munching on the few peanuts that were still on the plate. All of a sudden there was a phone call from Papiya. She was not able to come because her father had made an appointment for her Covid vaccination which she had to hor. Shekhar felt that life was unnecessarily hard for him. The secret tormented him and robbed him of all mental composure. At last he had thought he could unburden his mind. Besides, his conscience pricked him that he was not honest with Papiya who was dreaming of marital bliss involving him.
Shekhar left the restaurant in a meditative mood. He planned to tell Papiya the problems he was facing in a letter because of which he could not marry her. He knew his secret would be safe with her, for after all she was his closest friend.
The next morning when he went to office, he got a mental shock. His colleagues looked at him and started whispering. He saw some smirking --others gave him a cold shoulder. Then he got a message that the Manager wanted to talk to him. As he sat at the table, his Boss showed him the letter he had written to Papiya, and asked him whether what he had written was true. He admitted. Mr Hicks then informed him that his services were no longer required because such a background as his, gave a bad name to the Establishment. Shekhar protested, and told him that he was protected by the Indian Constitution and on such grounds he could not be sacked. He argued that in his work, he was more than efficient and no one could find fault. Mr. Hicks laughed in an unpleasant way, and informed him curtly that it would not be difficult to find other grounds, which would merit the termination of services. Shekhar knew it was hopeless to expect justice, as he did not have the means to fight his case. He packed his belongings and walked out with full dignity under the mortifying gaze of one and all.
Shekhar was a Fire- brand. Immediately his mind was made up. He would show the people who had humiliated him that he was also a human –being, with full rights like any other, and he could excel with his head held high.
Shekhar knew that he was a Transgender but he was not apologetic for that. He was also a part of God’s wonderful creation. He would declare himself as a Transgender, and get help from the Government Institution which were there to support the Transgender Community.
He met the officials dealing with the Community. Without much fuss he was given a government loan to start his own Workshop. He employed ten members from the Transgender Community to train them up for tailoring assignments and ten members for the Catering Section. Being well educated in Business Management, he was able to show results in no time. The public took to the products produced by the community and there was a great demand. As for the food items, “Shekar Catering” became very popular.
He was surprised one day, when one of his colleagues from the office, from which he had been sacked, came to him. His heart skipped a beat. He had been in love with the same individual who was now sitting facing him-- the very same boy! He had loved the way the boy talked, walked, and entertained everybody with his jokes and anecdotes. At that time he had not divulged his mental state to anyone, he could not, because that was his secret. He had felt that no one would understand and censor him unjustly. He wondered what had brought the boy to his office.
Without any preamble the boy went straight to the point. His tall stature was accentuated by his latest hair-cut in which the center part of his hair, stood upright on ends. His steel-grey tee-shirt looked good against his fair complexion. He spoke deliberately. He wanted to join Shekhar’s business as he was also a Transgender. Besides that, he confessed that he was always attracted towards Shekhar, though he did not know why. He wondered whether it would be a good idea if they got married and lived together.
Shekhar was ecstatic. He was at peace with himself. He did not have bouts of depression anymore. He had a sense of achievement and a happy married life. He lived with pride as a Transgender.