My mother was worried about me. To be frank, the whole family was worried about me but my mother was extra sensitive and so was a bit too anxious for me; reason? I was 18 years old and had not got my period.
We were rice cultivators and my giant-sized joint family earned a meagre sum of money every day. My father was a workaholic dedicated to his farm and he always had a smile on his face whenever he saw me. Yet, me not getting my period worried him too no end as well. All my other younger sisters were already menstruating by ages 13 or 14…and I their elder was soon going to turn 19 and yet was as my grand-aunt put it, ‘dry’.
“This girl needs to see a doctor in the city. I hear stories of this sort in which only a good doctor can cure a patient like our Faridah,” my grand-aunt would also say as she chewed her betel leaves.
However, my father postponed the date to visit a good doctor, and when I turned 19 years of age…something strange started to happen. I suddenly began to grow hair all over my body and my voice started to crack and become deep like a man’s voice. My mother began to worry again and forced my father to take me to a doctor in the city. This time my father relented and we travelled by a community truck all the way to the city’s local hospital.
Dr. Rameshwari took charge of me and ran a few tests…and was shocked. We all were speechless because by the tests, it was detected that I had no uterus at all. Instead I had two defective testicles inside where my uterus was supposed to be and the tests also confirmed that I had peeping though my vagina a very tiny damaged penis.
“Hijra,” said my mother in pain as she beat her chest outside Dr. Rameshwari’s office. My father’s smile was erased from his face and he too began to mourn and weep with my mother. Where I was concerned however, I really can’t remember how I took it. You see, I was and am illiterate and so whatever the doctor had explained about my genitals I was unable to understand the whole truth behind it. The good doctor tried to console my parents but they were wretched and miserable to the core.
The community truck to go back to the village took only my father and mother on it…I was abandoned by my family because of my genitals, the family that I loved and served for 19 whole years; where I spent the best years of my life…the word eunuch changed everything.
To my society now I was a mere Hijra or eunuch, the third class of the Indian society. I wept outside the hospital, that despicable hospital that had ruined my present and which had cursed my future. How long I stayed there weeping, I do not recall. What I do recall is that I dried my tears, picked up my cloth bag and marched towards the belly of the city. I found a few eunuchs dancing in slum and they adopted me with open arms.
The eunuchs in my community wore saris but I was happy to be dressed in my blouse and long skirt which my mother had in the past stitched for me. We spent our days working in different NGO’s as office clerks or educators. I was illiterate so I was given the job of house maintenance and a fellow Hijra would tutor me every day in the English language. I used to go about my daily duties quietly without any fuss…I did not feel for the people of my community, for my gaze longed for the rice paddy fields back home…my mother’s soothing presence…my sister’s chatter…my father’s gentle smile.
I learnt the English language very slowly and therefore my tutor used to get frustrated with me.
“Faridah you are not putting in any effort, remember you are a Hijra and we are your well-wishers,” my tutor would yell scowling at me. To tell you the truth, I did not care…I just was missing my family. NGO people tried their very best to infuse me with life to serve the Hijra community but I was not interested. I was admonished by my superiors many times but how could they understand… why would they want to understand . . . I was a woman through and through and I was only there with them because I had no family anymore. I did not care for their community or their campaigns or their LGBT backgrounds.
Was I being ungrateful…maybe?
Was I being a sulk…maybe?
Did I no longer want to live…maybe?
One night when all my fellow Hijras were fast asleep in the transit camp where we stayed, I went into the kitchen and picked up a pair of sharp scissors…and then I began to cut my wrists. I was found in the morning by a workers on the floor drenched in a pool of blood. I would try to take my life five times after that incident. I acted crazy and had to be put on psychotropic drugs to calm down. All my duties were stalled for the moment but yet, I yearned…not for death…but for blood.
I narrated to the psychiatrist who came to see me how I wanted to bathe myself in blood…my own blood because it was the lack of a few blood stains and a uterus that I was here…alone…without a family…without a life. Soon, I became delirious and started fantasizing about blood all the time. The Hijras community did not find it fit for me to stay in their company so I was shifted by my psychiatrist to a rehab clinic…I am typing this article from that place…I miss those rice fields back home…and yet, a lack of a few blood stains had changed everything…
Am I being ungrateful…maybe?
Am I being a sulk…maybe?
Do I no longer want to live…maybe?
Are my thoughts morbid…maybe?
Do I hate myself…maybe?
Do I spoil the never say die spirit of a Hijra…maybe?
Am I an exception…maybe?
Am I going to cut my wrists today?…maybe…just for a few more blood stains . . . .
Copyright © 2014 Fiza Pathan
Image courtesy: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/134476