Close Encounters: Mallika

I felt inadequate and a little afraid, without quite knowing why.

Was it her toughness? Her anger? Her warmth? Was it the timbre of her voice? Or the whiplash of her patience? Was it the strength of eyes? The weight of tears? The lines on face or hands? Was it her otherness? Or sameness? The particularities of her life? Or the universalities of ‘their kind’? Was it the imagining of rejections so vast and so wide that no earth can swallow them?

What do you say when there are no missives of hope, no rallying calls of solidarity, not even the right to say that you understand because it’s so clear that you in your ivory tower of privileged identities, cannot even hope to?

I fancy myself an agnostic. But when she told me that she is God’s child, I could only nod mutely. None of the things I believe in would have stood examination in that little room. I bowed to her faith — not literally — but by allowing her to assume that I am a believer too. And on the way back to the hotel, I remembered that unbelief is also a privilege.

*On meeting Mallika, a eunuch (transgendered person) in Saidapet, Chennai

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4 Comments

Filed under Personal, Places

4 responses to “Close Encounters: Mallika

  1. tagged for an award though I am not sure if you care for them!

  2. usha

    after reading ur piece i too am speechless…..the tragedy with words is that it has meanings. ….

  3. Pingback: Gender Denied, Gender Enforced « Ultra Violet

  4. We are all God’s children (Nature’s if you prefer). I don’t know why the parents disown their transgendered children. It is a cruel society and it is great that some people are there to voice their concerns for the eunuchs who are denied proper education, and jobs and forced away from a beautiful life that could have been theirs. I wonder what the solution is? May be people need to be educated more (not just made literate but educated in social responsibility) people need to know that the blood of each human is red and heart of every human is touched by love. The sexual orientations are secondary the emotional orientations are similar. Who doesn’t want to be loved? Who doesn’t want to be respected? Who doesn’t want to lead a prosperous life? Who doesn’t want his talents to be nurtured? Who doesn’t want to be successful? Where does the sex come in to picture?

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