The Third Gender
The Third Gender2 mins 180 2 mins 180
The house was packed with people. The beats of dholak were audible from outside. I saw a group of transgenders singing aloud holding my twenty days old son.
"Where's Munna's dad? Call him. He got a such a cute son. . we will take at least twenty one thousand from him" one of them yelled in a loud voice.
Since childhood I was hesitant to face them. It was a deep wound that would pain every time I saw transgenders.
My mom called me and I had to come to the verandah. He was in red saree with a big bindi on his forehead. I was perplexed the moment our eyes met.
"He is your son, Channu?" his question stunned me. "Nobody in this city knew my nickname. "I was speechless standing like a statue. He kissed Munna and hugged him tightly. He tied a black thread on his arms and handed over to my wife.
"Wait! Take the money. 'I pleaded.
"Isshh. . . . I won't take any money. He's my son. Distribute the money to the poor. "He smiled and left with his other members.
As I sat near the window I found myself in that old lane where a new family shifted in our neighborhood. I was around eleven at that time. There was a boy who never stepped outside. He never went to school either. Once he was on the terrace when he smiled. We became friends and spent hours sitting on the terrace.
It was Holi when I forced him to play with colors. We both came outside with colors when suddenly a gang of boys surrounded us. They held him and started tearing his clothes. He cried and called me for help. But those boys didn't let me hold him. He sat naked there and all shouted, "Hijra. . . Hijra. "He ran back to his home in shame.
That day I understood what the word 'Hijra' actually meant. His family left our locality that night. I lost my true friend and also all charm of Holi. I never celebrated Holi since then. Today when he was in front of my eyes, I wanted to hug him but couldn't. Was it my guilt or my cowardice I couldn't call that third gender, my buddy.