Gender is about who you feel yourself to be but it is usually confused with one’s sex. Here’s a story that pertains to the same issue and raises the question about belonging of those who might have different inclination than the society confers upon them.
As I hunt through an array of bangles, my skinny fingers stop by the most decent looking ones. This particular set of glass bangles looked so simple yet most attractive. “Should I pack these for you, Sahiba?” said the shopkeeper, “only 40 rupees a dozen.”
“I will take it for 30 only, don’t be unreasonable,” I replied searching my handbag for money and without making eye contact.
“I am not being unreasonable Sahiba. This poor body hates to sleep with a starving stomach,” cried the shopkeeper.
I paused and shook my head. The emotional blackmail always gets to me and I paid him the initial amount. He handed over the perfectly wrapped bangles and flashed his most winning smile. I placed them in my bag with care. I took a look at my watch, pulled down my black sleeve and hurried my way forward.
As I walk through the narrow noisy streets of Chandni Chowk, I come across a group of women wearing the same attire as me. We were however different in various aspects for unlike them I hid myself beyond visage.
I reached my PG and stormed out of the burkha, only to look at my real self. I take out the bangles, divide them equally and slip them into my hands. “Wow, they are beautiful!” I exclaimed.
“When will you stop with this girly business of yours Vikram? What will others think? They will simply laugh,” I heard my mom scream in my head.
While as a kid she loved dressing me up as her pyaari gudiya and sonpari, she discourages the same today. The very thought of matching my nail paint with my outfit displeases her. Last time I questioned her about her opinion, she dragged me to our traditional therapist- Omi Baba.
“I can cure him with just two hawans, don’t worry.” Omi Baba promised.
It has been two years and yet I find myself loitering around the streets that offer me a variety of anklets, nail paints and like today bangles. My burkha helps me fit into these markets yet my secret inevitably creates a separation.
“But why will they laugh ma?”
“I am 26 years old and I don’t need anyone to tell me how I should dress up ma?”
“Why should society decide my inclination ma?”
Ma never answers. Nobody does. These questions sound as hollow as my identity. Every morning when I leave for work I stare deep into the mirror and ask myself- “Do you even belong here?”
This piece has been contributed by Vanshika Tandon.