Ambiguous- he or she?

transgender

Back in my hometown where my grandparents live, a very regular sight that always greets me is, of people coming to meet them, maybe to talk or to borrow something or at still other times to cajole their way into getting some money from the oldies. I keep telling them not to entertain those kinds of people who have their way into securing a gravy train, but they would not lend me an ear.

There is this particular woman, who has been coming for ages now. She lives nearby and pays them a visit every month. Her motive is to get a few pennies the easy way. Since I never support people who want to get money without having to sweat their brows, I never liked her. She always kept raving about her son, who was a dancer, living in another state. It so happened that one fine day, she came and told my grandma that her sons dance recital would be conducted there, in my hometown and she invited all of us to that. Without an afterthought, I agreed to it, because having learnt the art of dance I have always been interested in it, and so irrespective of the person who invited us, I nodded a frantic yes. We watched the program, and wow! I had never seen such grace in a dancer as I saw in him.

After a few years, the lady having visited them in the interim regularly, invited us again to her sons dance. So, yet another performance but her son was nowhere to be seen. When we met her at the venue, my grandma asked her about her son, and she replied the person who performed right then was him, but the only difference being that he wasn’t a “he” anymore but a “she”. Yes, that was the first time I personally had been acquainted with a situation relating to a transgender.

I don’t know if I was being sensitive to such issues that ensued in the future or was the issue growing in number, but they were on the rise and now they have found their own place in our society. The much judgemental society that we are, have been taunting them for long, but they have made their mark and continues to sustain it – the transgender!

My mom, who lived in Mumbai, had been familiar with those people, known to loot a man’s pocket if and when they see him alone. She recounts of having been scared by the loud thuds on the door when she had to be alone in the house with my sister who was too little. But unlike thieves or rapists, they wouldn’t hurt another person.

For a long time now, we have all been daunted by this peculiar group of people who have an ambiguous identity- not pertaining to the male or female category. We often blindfold our children and tell them not to look at them, not to talk to them and never ever to be like them. But do we realise that they form a part of the wider group called humans too? Perhaps they are more humane than the so called, self acclaimed humans who do not have a doubt about their identity.

Recently, I happened to read an article which brought out a very critical situation handled by a transgender. She acted as a midwife, she aided in the delivery of a child into this world, on a train. Having been a nursing student she had the expertise and knowledge to carry it out and so without hesitation carried it out brilliantly. It is quite an eye opener to people who would rather not help in such adverse situations.

One of the major enemies that people, deviant from the common have to confront is society. Well, the society which comprises of US- yes you, me and everyone else; we all have an opinion about each and everything. We do not waver in judging others, be it their personal or professional life. It so feels like, we are the ones who have really reared them into what they are now. “What are you wearing? Don’t you have any sense of shame in you?” or “Why aren’t you getting married? Why do you have to be so career oriented?” or “She got divorced? Definitely something has got to be wrong with her!” are all just examples of how society demeans its members. Now if you think that only girls or women are afflicted with such opinions then, let me tell you- you’re wrong. There is no gender discrimination in being faced with such unworthy opinions of the society.

What they need is acceptance, acceptance of who they are and how they are oriented. They need to be left to live their life on their own terms. While we still have parents around us who shun away from accepting their children belonging to that particular group, that lady from my hometown and another mom who recently let reveal her eighteen year old child’s identity of being a transgender, are heroes, who do not worry about the opinions and views of the society, but rather support their children let live their lives. To let themselves free of the chaos inside their mind, of having to live a life being the opposite gender, that they so not are.

We always talk about not judging a book by its cover. Not to “guess” what would be there inside the book before reading it. I guess the same applies for humans as well- why should we judge someone whom we do not even know? Haven’t even spoken to? Why should they be gauged on the way they dress? Why should we evaluate their worth depending on their sexual identity? Human worth is much above and beyond what appears in front of us, so let them live and flaunt their worth, do not block their journey by rendering your “worthy” opinions. The world is a free space, just as you have the right to live your life, so do they. Respect that!

Advertisements

The eternal star

black strokes

Sophie sat there with the tail of her brush dipped in black paint. The white canvas was being covered in darkness, as she stroked every time. Darkness of the canvas because of the black color, was like the darkness that had engulfed over her life. She loathed black, she detested darkness, for black and darkness resonated death and death for her now was the death of John; death of herself.

It was at a painting exhibition that they had met. Sophie, an Arts student had been there as part of her curriculum and was going through every painting carefully, scrutinizing each color keenly. She was a van Gogh person and loved the use of colors. Painting had been her way of escaping this world, surpassing the confusions of the mortals, thereby securing a pass into the other world. As she grew up in the country side, she was never short of inspiration. Every hill, every valley, every flower and every tree was her muse to paint. Sophie, with her eye concealed behind the spectacles like a ripple in the river, was dumbfounded by the beauty of the paintings. With a quick turn, she bumped into a man, carelessly clad in a pair of blue jean and checked shirt. In a quickie, the man said,

“Hello there, I’m John”.

“Excuse me! You just bump into me, make me drop everything down and then introduce yourself like a gentleman, without the mere mention of a sorry? Very impressive indeed!” , Sophie said furious at him.

“Well technically, since you were the one who turned around first…anyway I’m sorry, if it is going to fix anything”, John said with a quirky smile.

“Hey I don’t need you to do me a favor by apologizing. Goodbye!”, she turned around and started walking away.

John, an Art critic by profession was to prepare a report about the paintings put up in the exhibition. Sophie’s painting was up there too and he personally had found it interesting. At the counter he heard the name Sophie being called, and that was when he realized she was the same Sophie as the one whose painting was up there. The painting was of a girl looking out of the window, lost deeply in thought, watching the sunset. What caught his mind was that, there was a rainbow in the painting too, but no sign of rain. So at the name being heard, he ran behind Sophie and finally reached next to her, and caught her by the hand. With a sudden jerk, Sophie said,

“What the hell are you doing? Why are you following me?”

“I’m sorry, but I wanted to ask you something. Why is there a rainbow in your painting?”, John asked curious.

“And why should I be telling you that? A random guy like you who runs into a girl by mistake, messes everything up, and doesn’t even really apologize properly”, Sophie said coldly.

“Look I’m an Art critic. I have to prepare reports about paintings that catch my mind. And yours did.”

“Oh okay”, after giving it some thought she continued, “well the rainbow is just a sign of hope. The girl who watches the sunset only imagines that the rainbow is there. It is from the girl’s perspective that the painting has been done. And so yeah! Rainbow means hope!”, Sophie said with a smile on her face.

“Hmm, quite deep. Do you by any chance want to grab a coffee and something to bite maybe?”, John tried his chance there.

“No, I have got to go. I have classes to attend. What about tomorrow? Would it be fine?”

“Yep, sounds okay with me!!”

And there started the union of hearts. They met every day, shared every single thought in their minds, and became so close that even a moment of separation was terrifying to them.

During one night when they were out gazing at the stars, Sophie spoke her mind to him.

“You know what, I have never been so loved by someone. Yes of course I had my parents, or rather one parent, my mom; my dad passed away while I was a bit too young”, a tear dropped from her eyes.

“I love you Sophie”, John said, his eyes wet with tears.

“I love you too”, she kissed him and she continued. “My mom always told me, that whoever goes into the other world, the beyond, becomes a star, twinkling in the sky. I have always tried to find my dad in the sky.”

They were silent for a while.

“Sophie, I want you to draw me. Paint me. I want to see what I look like through your eyes. These beautiful pair of eyes, so beautiful that they draw me into you. Will you paint me?”, John asked his eyes fixed onto hers.

“Are you serious? Hahahaha! Yes why not? I will, like totally yes!”, Sophie replied excited.

“Okay then when should I pose as the model?”, John asked.

“I don’t need you to pose as a model. You are there in my heart, and that should be enough.”

“Okay then. I will wait for the painting.”

Days passed, months passed. One fine morning Sophie got a call from John’s friend, Alex.

“Hello Sophie, Alex here. John has been admitted in the chemo ward. He needs to undergo one as soon as possible”

“What? Chemo? I mean why? What has happened to him? He said he would be going to his mom’s place last week. I hadn’t heard from him since then”, Sophie said shocked.

“Did he not tell you? He was diagnosed with cancer last month. He is in his last stage. You knew it didn’t you?”, Alex blurted out.

Sophie dropped her phone. She felt like the world had collapsed right in front of her. She felt nauseated, couldn’t breathe. She got thinking. So that was why he was growing thin, too weak. She remembered the conversation they had had.

“Why is my model looking so weak nowadays? Aren’t you eating properly?”, Sophie asked John

“I am having this new assignment. It is kind of hectic. Squeezing everything out of me. So I’m just a bit too tired I guess.”

“But do eat well Johny, please.” Sophie was concerned

“Yes baby. I will.” John had said

So that was the reason why he was becoming so tired. But why didn’t he tell me? Sophie thought. She felt betrayed, lost for words she went to see him.

She waited for him with Alex outside the ward. He was moved into the intensive care. He was breathing his last. John called for Sophie.

“Hey Soph, my baby, come here”, he sounded too feeble.

“Why didn’t you tell me John? Do you really love me? Am I someone else for you? Why couldn’t you tell me Johny? Why?” , Sophie sobbed like a child.

“I did not want to break you, I wanted you to always be the girl who would look out of the window and paint a rainbow in her heart. I wanted you to keep your hopes high and not slash them down”, his words could hardly be heard.

“When I’m gone Soph, I will be there in the sky twinkling at you. I will be shining bright, looking right at you Sophie. I will be your hope, not as a rainbow but as a star, leading your way. I will be with you Sophie, always, never apart.”

With that he closed his eyes and went deep into an eternal slumber.

Sophie had finished the painting she had started off with black strokes. It was a girl standing out, looking at the night sky, gazing at that one bright star. She murmured, “Johny, and finally I have painted you. The way you look like through my eyes. The way you wanted me to look at you. You are my star, the star which leads my journey to eternity. “

star

Chatterley, Mellors and all

 

lady chatterleys lover

After having heard a lot about D.H Lawrence and his way of writing, I grabbed the much acclaimed novel ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ from my father’s book shelf. A book originally published in the year 1928, has been talked and criticized, for the blatant way in which it puts across the sentiments of someone, affected much by the so called event that caused a shift in the world – the industrial revolution.

How men are becoming inexorably greedy about ‘money’, fretting about when they do not have enough ‘money’ and the deplorable state they find themselves in when no option is left to earn ‘money’, becomes a key point in and throughout the novel. Though the protagonist is Lady Chatterley or Constance; Clifford, her husband and Mellors- her lover and Cliffords game keeper, do have powerful roles to play in the novel.

Mellors – someone who represents the lower class, having served in the army and having come back to serve the Wragby, shows us the real world through his words, that strive to work for the upper class- capitalists and earn the little that is offered to them. The colliers who slog like the engine of a train, according to Mellors, only live a life devoid of passion and love. They appear to be “cold hearted” and seem to get worked up at the slightest mention of money. He believes men should really live to actually live and not obsess over something as trivial as a material possession like money. Clifford on the other hand is an upper class lord, who owns Tevershall, and is a silent domination over everyone present around him, especially his wife, Constance or Connie. Being half crippled, paralyzed below his knee, he still manages to exercise power over his wife, without having to shout or use strength. However Connie is frustrated of having lived in the Wragby for all these years and feels a kind of upheaval inside her mind which forces her to leave her life with Clifford, which was only a life involving their minds and not their bodies, and find shelter in the cottage and the mind of Mellors who was as well, equally thwarted in the relationship front, considering the recent break up he had had with his wife. After many crests and troughs that the story journeys through, it finally gets to a point where Connie admits of the relationship with the game keeper and exits the Wragby household, leaving Clifford all alone.

The novel however ends on a happy note with Mellors working in a farm, so as to be able to support Connie and their child, which would ensue in a life of blissful togetherness that Mellors and Connie always wished for, away from the materialistic life everyone else led.

Though written in 1928, the plot and the characters hold true, even in this age. It seems like, Lawrence really had foreseen the world of today where people toiled their brows for money, and ended up not having a normal and happy life, instead more money culminated in more misery. Keeping aside the eroticism present in the novel, that many would point out as a fault, I feel it is a must read for everyone, who associates life with money and in turn forgets to live. It could give you a deeper look into what you really are, and how you really live.

Lawrence tries to put forth, how many people engage themselves in the institution called marriage- just for the sake of money, power, fame and so on; but the loss they would have to come up against with in an oppressed marriage like that is far more than just the absence of love and care. It is a life, they would have to put up with, having absolutely no connection at all between the bodies- a loss that cannot be restored, ever. What would follow is a break away like Connie and Mellors, into the illegitimate, to find solace in someone who would really love them, not just intellectually but emotionally and physically as well.

The novel and the fascinating character of Mellors brought the concept of Carpe Diem into my mind which sort of enlightens people to really seize the day, to live each day as it comes and not to agitate themselves over something so trifle as money.

Pokemon Pokemon

pokemon go

The recent outburst of ‘Pokemon Go’ is quite an insight into what we, as humans have really turned into. Yes, all this ballyhoo about a game, something virtual and intangible, reminds us of where we are placed in this much alive world! So what is ‘Pokemon Go’? Well, it is a game which makes use of augmented reality as its base. The game incorporates location and GPS to help gamers spot pokemons in real life, or the places where there are pokestops, to collect the virtual creatures, train them, and use them in battle against their foes. The game tries to restore the once popular sensation of the 90’s- the Pokemon series.

The game has ticked the nerves of many and has caused panic in a lot of people. There have been incidents of gamers trespassing private properties of others, falling into holes on the ground and even falling off the cliff. The havoc all these create is becoming a nuisance for those who enforce laws and others as well. The mishaps range from a Frenchman accidentally entering a Military Base camp in Jakarta while trying to catch Pokemons, to teenagers using the game to rob people. Other instances point out people walking through the lawns of families they are unfamiliar with while finding pokestops.

So what is this doing to us? While games in the olden times were a way to relax and have fun, it is not so now. People obsess over something as insignificant as an unreal game, which takes us into the reel world, and makes us interact with inexistent creatures, fight them and finally applauds us by providing reward points, in turn. It is true that the game has excited a lot of people and as we read through the news, many have come together, through the virtual world of friends the game has created.

But taking a closer look at everything once again; isn’t it quite obvious that the game as a whole is only virtual, but the price we are paying for, resulting from the piteous accidents that has upshot is a bit too much for something so insubstantial? It tunes us in such a way that we often tend to forget our surroundings and end up in a muddle from which it is a bit too hard to come out off. We unknowingly create an abyss, and fall into it.

Humans always learn everything the hard way, but turning back into the past, we haven’t learnt a single thing, neither the easy way nor the hard way! We are still there, clinging onto bygones, playing a game and patting our own back when we win it, spending enormous amount of time on something that doesn’t have any positive use for us, and finally wasting energy on an unreal thing ignoring the real world that we ourselves have messed up successfully!

I am not totally against games or nor am I against anything virtual, for I am writing this post because there are so many virtual networks around us. But there needs to be a limit, a boundary, which would help us kibosh, our escapade into the artificial world. As said, too much of anything is good for nothing, and so also we need to keep a check on the virtual, for it could be even more dangerous than a nuclear weapon, to curb humanity as a whole. Who could say, even the third world war would be fought virtually!

 

A trait that I left behind- for good

others

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this week’s Daily post was a habit that I had for long, like really loooooong time (the number of o’s in the long should suggest the emphasis I would like to put on ‘long’). It was something I always wanted to get rid of, but well by the devils grace I could never get over it a tiny inch. This particular trait kept me over conscious about myself, vexed me like the buzz of a bee and got on my nerves like the screeches of an annoying kid!! Hear it out people; the habit was – worrying about what others thought about me.

Since my childhood, I have been fortunate (or unfortunate?) to have many people around me who kept gauging each and every move of mine- including the way I dressed, the way I spoke, the way I walked- in short, there were billions and zillions of people giving me their valuable (far too lesser than you think) opinions about each and every single thing I did. The plethora of their opinions often got me confused and I would end up messing up that one thing I had to do. Yes, and there would be many more ‘worthy’ opinions about how to get away from that mess which in turn made things a lot worse than before for ME, me in capitals because, in the end I would have to put up with the situation on my own and no one, absolutely no one stood by me, to lend a shoulder to support on.

This continued for many years, till I realized the worth of my opinions, the power that I had over my life, for it is MY life and no one else need to have a care about it. This happened sometime around those days when I had just entered the phase of adulthood. And therefore, people thought, I was being rebellious and that all this was a consequence of the ugly phase I was going through.

But there was nothing that would hold me back! I deliberately stopped giving heed to people, stopped abiding by what they said, and eventually started living a happy life where I could take a decision without bothering about others and not messing things up. It was not because I hated them that I stopped being advertent, but because I loved myself more and respected my opinions more than theirs. I was not being rebellious, but was breaking away from a habit, that stopped me from living my life. It was something that blocked happiness out of my world and I was only trying to get that happiness back.