“Akka, give me ten rupees” Came the voice of Sundari at the signal stop. Mili was jolted out of her reverie and looked at this person who invariably met her at least twice a day at this signal. Sundari had oiled and combed her hair in a bun, the jasmine flowers added a heady fragrance which was intermingled with the smell of ‘Medimix’ soap. She had a sandal wood tikha on her forehead and vermilion was smeared between her brows. The saree was neatly draped and she continued to clap her hands in the ubiquitous manner of the third gender. Mili was a thirty four year old who was at the cross roads of her life which cried out futility of her techie job and at the same time was battling the never ending financial crunch faced by those who flaunted their inane lives in the huge metropolis and the IT capital of the world.
She looked sheepishly at Sundari and just at the nick of time when the signal turned orange and green she said “Sorry, I forgot to keep it outside today. I’ll give it in the evening.” She put the car to the first gear and started crawling, Sundari was vanishing in the rear view mirror when she said something that struck Mili. “Akka give me something that you always give, your resplendent smile.” Mili was astonished and couldn’t help smiling in the mirror and waved to Sundari. Mili smiled the entire day at work as her mind kept returning to that quick witted retort of Sundari, it was as if she had seized the day. She decided to meet Sundari in the evening.
Mili stopped her car in the evening and waited for Sundari, she requested her to accompany her for a cup of coffee. As the aroma of coffee wafted through the air she asked “I’d love to know more about you Sundari”. “Akka I come from a very remote village near KanyaKumari, I was the cursed one hence I was abandoned at birth, I grew up with other transgenders like me and begging became my natural profession till I grew up. I was quite attractive in my hey days and attracted many customers. The village folk were sympathetic towards us and I never had to worry about food and shelter. As a child I saw the other children go to school and wondered why I shouldn’t until my adopted Mother told me that I was different” She said that ” We are a part of the society and yet apart, all of them saw us yet no one recognized us, we were like that bubble on water.” I learnt the survival tactics very well and very soon. “I never once pined for the lives that you people led, in fact never aspired for it. I see you from a distance everyday and wonder what troubles must be plaguing you – An educated, rich and working lady! That’s why Akka, I told you to smile today.” “From my perspective of life we are puppets! But we can choose to see the brighter side!:
Mili bid goodbye and marveled at the fact that Sundari had not told her a tale of woe but an awe inspiring one. How the most miserable and marginalized chose everyday simple happiness over the greatest worries. Mili went home wiser and happier.
You need to login in order to vote