Kasha: The love of a Hijra
by Fiza Pathan
My name is Lily and I am a Hijra belonging to the Hijra or the eunuch community of Mumbai. My Guru baptized me with this name after my operation, when my private parts were chopped off from my body infront of all my Hijra friends and elders, as a sign that now I had become one of them. My Guru named me Lily, for she felt that I was as pure as a lily flower and because I spread the fragrance of my love all through the shambles of the shanty in which we resided in.
After my operation I started to wear a sari like a woman. My Guru taught me the body language of a Hijra, and after a few months, I was acting like a regular Hijra. I would spend my morning and afternoon at signal stops begging and then return in the evening with my Hijra comrades to my Guru’s shanty. There she would count the money we had collected together by begging the whole day in the heat of the scorching sun and would distribute some part of the money to us. I would then be sent to work at the brothel attached to the shanty for the rest of the night.
I’m not ashamed to say that I love my job at the brothel. Why should I be ashamed? I can give pleasure to any man or gay just the way a woman does, maybe even better! Many men come calling out for me as they know that I am one of the best Hijra prostitutes . I love having sex with men, it energizes and purifies me. The scar of me being an ‘in between’ is erased for a while when I am in bed with another ‘normal’ woman’s man.
We have a very tight and strict brothel community where transactions and business is done secretly among the elders. My Guru is always pleased with me and prophesizes every day, that one day after her death, I will take her place as a Guru.
Yes, life was very fulfilling and I was getting enough of money to indulge myself in buying fake jewellery and chocolates . . . I love chocolates, especially caramel filled ones. Life was going on smoothly . . . until the day I fell in love with Kasha.
Many men come to Hijras to have sex with them, maybe because we are different and are more jovial while doing our job, for that is the only thing that your society expects us to do . . . the society that rejected us . . . which rejects us still . . . but Kasha was different.
He was brought into my brothel room one cold December night. He was half drunk but he was a beauty. He looked like a Greek god with a well-toned body and sky blue eyes. When the door was closed upon us, I made him lie down on the bed and started to undress him but suddenly, he got up and held my hand.
“Eh . . . what happened?” I asked in a naughty tone
“No need to take off my clothes . . . .”
“Oh, then should I take off mine?”
Saying that, I dropped my sari pallu and was beginning to open up the hooks of my blouse when he said:
“Let’s just keep both our clothes on okay; I’m not here for sex.”
I placed my pallu back over my left shoulder and froze in fear.
“Are you a reporter?” I asked terrified. The last thing our brothel needed was someone to yank us all off towards the police.
“No just relax okay,” he said massaging his temples and the back of his head, “I just wanted someone to talk to and so. . . .”
“. . . and so you came here. . . TO A HIJRA BROTHEL?”
He looked up at me and smiled a dimpled smile. I will never forget that boyish innocent smile again. It is the smile that haunts my dreams and my every waking hour.
“Sit down,” he said and I obeyed him. Gingerly and now quite self-conscious I fiddled with my fingers and the false gold rings on them. He watched me with that gentle smile upon his handsome face and that is when I realized something . . . he did not belong here, he was not part of the regulars . . . he was different. Then out of the blue he caught hold of my chin gently and studied my face with his sky blue eyes.
“What?” I asked.
“Say . . . you are very beautiful!”
That did it . . . the moment he said those words, I was all his. Many people think we Hijras are ugly outcasts of society who cannot be beautiful or handsome, for we are neither male nor female. The men and gays, who came every day to have sex with me, never once told me that I was beautiful . . . but here was one man who was holding my chin, looking straight into my eyes and saying that I ,a Hijra was beautiful . . . beautiful . . . .
We did not have sex that night. Infact we did not have sex for the next three months, when he used to meet me at the brothel. Instead of sex, we would talk . . . talk . . . and talk. He used to bring me caramel chocolates every day and once a week we would go for a walk alone at the dead of night on the streets of Vasai.
He told me he was a gay and because of this his family was upset with him and were forcing him to get married. They thought that a woman in his life would change his mind set, but they were wrong. The first night he met me was the time when he drank whisky for the first time and so he did not know what he was doing or where he was going. Inadvertently he landed up at my doorstep . . . and his name was Kasha.
I soon grew very attached to him. He paid two thousand rupees every night to be with me, which made me realise that he was definitely a rich man’s son. Kasha became a friend and a companion to me. Everyone in the brothel was teasing me of him, saying that one day we would get married in secret.
Kasha was a dreamer. He had big dreams of going abroad and fighting for gay rights in America. He had been in relationships with many gay men but had not grown so fond of them.
“Are you fond of me?” I would ask in my most girlish voice possible.
“Otherwise why would I come back everyday to see you?”
That bowled me over.
Kasha was an affluent man with affluent tastes. He used to buy me foreign soaps and lotions which I could use on myself.
“To keep clean and not catch any diseases like AIDS,” he would say.
The first time when he interlocked his hand in mine one night while we were walking down the empty road at Vasai, I felt a thrill running up and down my spine. The smell of his after shave lotion tantalized me and his fair cheeks made me want to kiss him . . . I never let go of that hand . . . I’ve still not let go of it even after all these years.
My Guru was the only one who was upset with my relationship with Kasha. She used to warn me that he was a fair-weather friend and would return one day to his own family and marry a girl . . . A NORMAL GIRL of his father’s choice who would be able to bear him children──not like me, who could only give him my love.
One day, Kasha brought a bouquet of lilies for me at the brothel. In the middle of one lily was a fake red rose.
“Open it Lily,” he said.
When I touched the false red rose, I realised it was a velvet box and when I opened it──I was shocked to find a ruby ring in it.
I cried . . . I cried bitterly . . . .
“What you don’t like it or something?” he asked innocently.
That was the day I for the first time hugged him . . . and he hugged me back. I cried in his strong arms recalling the time when I was thrown out of my home when I was twelve years old because I was a boy acting like a girl; I remembered the many times men at the brothel used to hug men sensuously for a while after which they would grab at my breasts or the hooks of my sari blouse to undress me. . . but not Kasha . . . Kasha just held me in his arms and for the first time in my life, I realised that I was in love.
However, my Guru’s words echoed through the recesses of my brain reminding me of impending doom but in Kasha’s arms, the whole world fell to pieces. All the norms of society were broken in that one single act of love . . . PURE LOVE . . . in which gender had nothing to do with it being formed.
I felt secure in his arms. His lips were kissing my forehead constantly as I bitterly wept on his branded shirt.
It was ten days after that hug when Kasha told me that he wanted to marry me. He brought out a yellow and black beaded mangalsutra (Hindu wedding chain) from his shirt pocket and placed it in my hands.
“This is for you Lily, my fragrant flower.”
I was so touched that I fell at his feet but he lifted me up and then with promises of returning the next day with his family to the brothel to meet me, he left. I waited for him the next day . . . I’m still waiting for him today even after three years have passed.
My Guru hit the back of my head and scolded me for not listening to her advice:
“Haven’t I told you Lily that we are only a ‘timepass’ for men and gays? We are not their true wives in society. The normal females with a uterus and menstruation are their true wives. We are the ‘in between’ folk who have been cursed on this earth to sell our lives to our deformed gender. What you thought? He would come back? Remember one thing Lily, men today are raping and molesting their own females . . . even their own sisters and daughters. If they don’t respect the natural order of women that they believe in, how will they ever respect us?”
I listened with sadness to my Guru as I stared at the ruby ring on my finger . . . Kasha’s ruby ring, my one and only memory of him along with his mangalsutra; he was the man who treated me like a woman . . . more than a woman. . . he treated me like a flower──a lily.
As I have said, it has been three years now since he last left me. Since then I’ve had sexual relations with several men . . . but now they don’t enjoy me that much; they feel that I’ve lost that sexual zest for proper lovemaking. I guess that is why they say love is a disease; it is such a horrible disease that it sent one holy man upon a cross. How can I make love to other men when my heart is somewhere far away in the arms of a man I once called my own?
So now I go about only begging and have stopped my work at the brothel. My Hijra comrades mocked at me when I told them my decision not to be part of the brothel anymore, but my Guru understood . . . she too had been in love before. I wear my mangalsutra and my ruby ring and go out every day to beg. On cold December nights, I peep out of the window of our shanty to feel the nippy wind caress me and in it, I still feel the touch of Kasha . . . Kasha not the only man I love but . . . the only man I will ever love.
I’m sharing this, my story with you to announce to the world that we Hijras too are humans and have feelings. Oh yes and we too can love . . . just the way Kasha loved me and I loved Kasha.
Maybe today Kasha is married with two children or maybe he is in America in the LGBT parade. Wherever he is or wherever he will be . . . I will be there with him in spirit, for we Hijras too sometimes fall in love.
Copyright © 2014 by Fiza Pathan
Image courtesy: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/713822