It was as if nature was taking her revenge on us. It was raining heavily since the last four days and it was a miracle that the locals were still operational. Late they were, but that was nothing new.
After waiting for what seemed like eternity and after letting three trains pass by without entering due to the rush in it, one finally came that seemed like it had some space where I could squeeze in. Handling the bag I was carrying very carefully and ensuring it did not bother anyone else, I began inching my way towards the other door of the train so that when my station would come, I could get down without much trouble.
It was then that I noticed a pair of very dark thick eyebrows looking at me. I assumed it was just a fleeting glance and went on listening to K.S Chitra humming into my ears. It being a ladies compartment, there was a lot of noise with all the women discussing their work day with their train friend and generally bitching about the weather and the late trains.
Those eyes were looking at me again and this time it lingered a while longer. I noticed that she was looking at my earrings and the finger rings I was wearing. Born into a family that put people who observed you for a long time in a negative light, I wondered what the woman was upto. My curiosity aroused, I moved further ahead so I could get a good look at this lady.
She had thick hands that were not waxed and shiny like the other hands that were so common holding on to the bars in the train. She wore a tee and denims, had a sling bag and stood by the door, away from everyone else. It was then that I noticed her clearly – her hair was short -like really short and almost boyish. She had covered her short hair with a black dupatta and her long dangling earrings glittered through the black cloth.
There was something peculiar about her face – there was something I could not put a finger on. I kept stealing glances at her and wondered what it was about her that aroused my curiosity such. It was only when I heard her speaking into the phone that I realized that she was probably what the world calls a transgender. She fitted the description well – a female with some attributes of a man, or at least thats what I thought.
I could not contain my eagerness to speak to her. I am an advicate of the rights of the third gender and feel for their cause a lot. But this was the first moment in my life when I was coming face to face with one of their kind. This city was known for the population of these people, most of them could be seen begging on the streets and at bus stops, this was the first time I was seeing one of them in such circumstances.
She was easily one among us, yet there was something different about her, the girl in the train. From the moment I realized who she was, a hundred questions were arising in my mind. I immediately became conscious of how I was looking in her direction for I did not want to stare at her and make her feel awkward.
I could not help but wonder about a lot of things surrounding her. I wanted to ask her if she was alright, whether she was happy after taking such a giant leap in her life. I wanted to ask her how her family reacted and how she faced the situations in life; how she made a living and how she was coping with this new life. I wondered if she was still living with her parents, whether she was still loved. I wanted to smile at her when I was alighting, but I could not – what would she think, she would easily think I would make fun of her, what if it hurt her sentiments.