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.
She held it as tight as she could only to flush it down the toilet. She wanted to get over with it though her soul was getting ripped every second every moment.
Maya, a sixteen year old girl was rushed to the nearest health set up at midnight. Her mother, father and aunt accompanied her while she cried in intense pain. The two emergency medical officers were busy attending other patients when Maya entered the emergency room. She could barely stand and cried in pain every now and then hearing which a doctor went to her.
‘Where is it paining child?’ the doctor asked Maya.
Maya could not speak. She just kept her hand on her abdomen. The doctor gestured her father to take her to the bed with curtains meant for examining patients.
‘You stay outside Sir and only the ladies may come with me’ said the doctor in a very calm tone.
Inside the cabin the doctor palpated Maya’s abdomen and started taking the history.
‘She is always binge eating junks. She does not listen to me anytime. She was complaining of cramps since a month now but never wanted to visit the hospital.’ Maya’s mother told the doctor. Her tension could be sensed by the frowns on her forehead. She constantly brushed Maya’s hair with her fingers.
‘Does she have problem in her monthly cycles?’ the doctor asked . ‘When was the last time she got her periods?’
‘I think last month she got it in the first week.’ she answered. ‘Doctor recently she has gained too much weight and eats very unhealthy food. Her cycles are mostly irregular.’
‘It may be due to PCOD… Polycystic ovarian disease, it’s very common these days in teenage girls.’ The doctor took the stethoscope and put the diaphragm on Maya’s abdomen.
He sighed and wrote a small note on the ticket. ‘Take her to the gynaecology and obstetrics emergency’, said the doctor handling the ticket to Maya’s father.
‘What is the matter Doctor?’ the concerned father asked in an anxious tone.
‘Sir please take your daughter to the second floor immediately,’ the doctor said to the father ‘there are doctors there who will make you understand better.’
Maya was taken to the gynaecology and obstetrics emergency. A hospital staff accompanied them to the emergency. ‘Sir you wait here, only women are allowed in this room’, the staff told the father.
‘Mom I need to go to the toilet,’ Maya begged her mother after entering the room. Her mother helped her get into the washroom attached to the emergency.
Meanwhile the gynaecologist entered. ‘Who is the patient?’ she asked.
‘She is in the washroom,’ said the aunt and handled the ticket to the doctor.
‘Call her out of the washroom,’ the doctor screamed after reading the note on the ticket. She seemed tensed.
‘Get her out now!’ she yelled at the top of her voice. All the medical staff in the adjacent labour room gathered and after a while a cry of a baby could be heard from the washroom.
Maya’s mother and aunt didn’t know what was going on. And her father had no clue as he waited outside.
‘Break the door!’ the head nurse suggested. The staff broke the door and there was Maya…holding a tiny baby covered with blood. She held the baby just above the toilet. She herself was bleeding. She looked exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. She was breathing heavily. She wanted to flush the baby down the toilet. Didn’t she think about the life she was holding?She held it as tight as she could only to flush it down the toilet. She wanted to get over with it though her soul was getting ripped every second every moment.
The nurse was quick enough to save the baby on time. The paediatrician arrived and suggested to keep the baby in SNCU till the vitals got stabilized.
Maya’s family was devastated. The sixteen year old girl was pregnant and concealed her condition for nine months. She betrayed her family. She betrayed her mother and father. So was all this Maya’s fault alone? Or the boy who got her in this condition was the culprit? The boy might also not know she was pregnant or what ‘statutory rape’ is.
Why was Maya suffering alone? Why didn’t she tell her mother about her pregnancy? Why didn’t she seek any help?
‘I was afraid that my mother would kill me. The boy is a senior in my school and like me also feared that his father will throw him out of the house. We didn’t know what to do.’ she burst into tears when the doctor asked.
There are so many cases of infants and neonates being abandoned every day. The mothers might be in fear like Maya was. The fear that their family would not accept them when the truth comes forward. Maya did a huge mistake. But was that mistake bigger than a life? Was it bigger than her life? Is the society we live in not a bit responsible for such condition? Is the education system so weak that so many teens keep repeating such mistakes? Is Maya answerable to the society or is the other way around?
The questions remain unanswered as thousands of Maya stand alone in the crowd of judgemental people.