Happy Mother’s Day.

Roshni ran to her room as soon as she entered the house. She opened the room, put her bag on the carpet, slided the curtains to allow the light enter the room and stared out of the window.

She noticed the mango tree in the backyard had grown taller and wider. The tree blocked most of the light entering through the window. She looked around the room. Everything was as it was when she left for college a year ago. Now that the summer vacation were on, she could sleep longer, eat home made food and hang out with her old friends. She looked out the window again. A smile covered her face as she saw the big green mangoes hanging from the tree. She loved raw mangoes.

Then suddenly she heard the caws. The crows were all over the mango tree. They continuously made sounds as if there was a fight going on. Then Roshni noticed a crow being attacked by other crows. The crow being attacked was a very small one and was a bit different. It took a while for Roshni to figure out that the little crow was not actually a crow but was a baby cuckoo. What stunned Roshni was the fact that there was a crow who was protecting the cuckoo from the attacks. Roshni had never seen this thing before. Her grandmother had told her stories about the cuckoo bird. These lazy birds don’t build their own nest. They instead lay eggs in other bird’s nest…mostly crow’s nest. Thus the crow…probably a female was not protecting the cuckoo but she was protecting her child. The crow knew that the baby was not hers but she knew she was it’s mother. Roshni kept looking at the crow and the cuckoo until they flew to a farther tree.

Roshni then walked slowly to the other wall. And gazed at the framed photo. It was her mother’s. She took out a match stick and lighted the candle kept on the shelf close to the photo. “Mom…I wish I had some memories of you…” Roshni was very young when her mom passed away. She had only heard stories of her mother from her grandmother.

“Roshni…” Called her father. Roshni at once went running to the dinning room. The table was full of all her favourite foods. Her Dad stood at the corner with a sweet smile.

“Dad…what have you done!”

“So you don’t want all this?” He frowned.

“Of course I do want all this.” Roshni uncovered all the dishes one by one, taking the delicious scents in and smiling all the time. At one such dish she uncovered the lid and held on for a moment. “Coconut prawn? Mom loved it when you made this for her…right?

“No darling…I made it because you love it and…who told you about your mother?” Roshni’s father seemed a little annoyed.

“Grandma did. You loved Mom very much didn’t you?”

“I…I don’t….why don’t you start eating. It’s getting cold.”

Roshni went closer to her dad and hugged him tightly.

“I know I’m not your…blood” Roshni cried as she tried to complete the sentence.

“Who told you that? You are my daughter and I am your father…” Her father couldn’t hold back his tears either.

“Grandma told me that mom cheated on you. You still accepted her. You accepted me and…oh dad.” Roshni gripped him even tighter.

“Stop your rubbish. You know I love your mom. I loved her with all I had. And will continue to love her till my last breath. And I love you my darling.” He kissed her on her head. “Don’t bring all this up ever… understand. Or…or I’ll never talk to you. Now please would you start eating!”

Roshni smiled and wiped her tears. “Dad?”

“Now what?”

“I think you are the best mother in this world!”

The Mirror

Rani looked into the mirror. She could see her pink coloured lips, the thick black eyeliner on the border of her eyelids, her perfectly plucked eyebrows, the shimmery blush on her cheek. Everything seemed perfect but then she noticed the thick black hair under her chin. She was very disturbed. She plucked the hair and gazed at it with tears filling in the corner of her eyes.
Rani was now 32 years old. A beautiful smart and independent woman living in the city with her overwhelming dreams. She looked into the mirror again and smiled thinking of the other night when Tanmay proposed her. That night was as perfect as she had imagined. The lights, the moon, the fragrance of fresh roses and Tanmay standing with the usual smile he carried on his face. Rani was becoming more and more impatient thinking about the moments. She wanted to call Tanmay and give him the answer which she didn’t tell him that night. She wanted to tell him how immensely she had fallen for him but was afraid of her past. Her past that ruined all previous relationships she had. The past which she had to tell Tanmay but every time she thought of it, her heart sank deeper and deeper.
Rani was identified as a male when she was born and named Samrat. Her childhood was full of confusion and pain. She wanted to play with dolls and wear a frock but instead she was handled a toy car and was dressed in pants. As she grew up, the pain and confusion also grew with her. She wanted to learn dance but was denied by her parents. Nobody could understand her. Her parents were embarrassed with their child. She had no friends since the boys in her class used to bully her calling her ‘girly’ and the girls just laughed at her. But she could do nothing. Academics was the only field where her sex didn’t matter. She excelled in her studies but still couldn’t make her parents happy. Like others they too thought she had a mental disorder. Like others they couldn’t accept her. She was living a life of a female soul but trapped in a male body.
Now it’s about 7 yrs she had not seen her parents. She was disowned by her parents the very day when they came to know that she had thought of ‘Sex reassignment surgery’ which is often casually termed as ‘sex change operations’. The surgery was painful. The emotional stress, the physical pain and the never ending self doubt, Rani had to bear it alone. She had to spent the pathetic nights in the hospital following the surgeries.
Now after all those horrible nights, Rani was living her life on her own terms. Her parents didn’t accept her but she had forgiven them. She knew it’s nobody’s fault but the ignorance. The ignorance of the fact that ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are not interchangeable. Gender is the way a person feels or sees one self. She knew that this acceptance will take time. This ignorance will takes ages to disappear.
She took her phone out and wrote to Tanmay, ‘You need to know about my past. Can we meet at Sharma’s tomorrow?’
Her phone buzzed after a minute or so. It was Tammy’s reply. She opened the message.
‘I know what you want to say. I know your past. I know you were born with male genitalia. But you know what…I love you as a person. I respect you as the person you have become and your past doesn’t bother me at all. So….Coffee at Sharma’s tomorrow?’
Rani was shook to her core. She looked at the mirror again and smiled and tasted the salty tears. She felt complete. She felt respected. She finally felt accepted.