The Accidental Life

Submitted into Contest #47 in response to: Suitcase in hand, you head to the station.... view prompt



You pack your bags and get ready to leave. 33 years after being uprooted from your roots, you force yourself to return to your origin. 

Isn't that the promise you made to yourself a decade back? In a thunderous eureka moment, blood pumping courage, pushing your thoughts towards that pinnacle called acceptance?

You were always driven by rage to push yourself and fight beyond your strengths. It wasn't entirely a desire to calmly and quietly achieve your goals with deep resolute. They weren't even your goals. They were goals set upon you as you lay buried in self pity, yet achieved through rage fuelled by every satirical statement thrown at you by society, that you attempted to crush under your feet in an effort to mute them.

What did you achieve instead? You muted yourself, shutting off your ears pretending as if society did not exist.

You believe you can always spit the words that hibernates in some corner in your head.

Saying it actually requires a higher level of resolve. Did you ever reach that level?

You believe, you'll cross the bridge when it is time. What if you actually burned it instead?

Whose fault is it?

Is it your fault that you were destined to be born in a country, precisely in that village and to the people you don't address as parents anymore? No!

Is it your fault that you had to be created the very same gender that still remains a stigma, covering your entire self as second skin, despite your achievements? No!

Is it your fault that a miniscule matter is blown out of proportion and is still a contentious issue in the country you've still not managed to escape? No!

Is it your fault that some people around you choose to mask their faces hiding their true opinions and thoughts about this issue under the pretence of societal pressures, yet expressing their full empathy towards you in a farcical attempt to portray that they're siding you? No!

Is it the fault of your creator that he possibly had a shut eye moment while sculpting you and flawed in his creation? Maybe. But that may never be answered for you’re as confused about his existence as you are with yours.

Is it your fault that the lady entrusted with the job, in a sudden moment of ennui decide not to proceed with it anymore? No! Not yours. But yes, her fault you say. For she's the reason for your existence. And all along you've wanted to know why!

What made her default on her duties the very same day you were born? Did she default on other days too? Did she have the kind heart you believe she does? Did she simply fill her mother’s shoes to take over her job when she died? Isn’t that the custom? Maybe she couldn’t fight the societal pressure, yet found a way to cheat people's eyes to satisfy her soul?

And in answering that, you seek your acceptance, a win over a fruitless war that you've been fighting all these years.

You always thought you'd win in a game where you were intentionally planted, stamped with the probability of only losing. When did winning ever strike you?

Was it when you felt the kind arms of the social worker who guided you to your success embrace you? No!

Was it when the childless couple, knowing your flaws decide to sponsor your education? No!

Was it when you saw yourself different from your own kind begging on the streets? No!

Was it when you got the coveted letters prefixed to your name, still a dream of many? No!

Was it when you believed that one day, when you crossed the bridge, you'll embrace her once more, the one who embraced you first? Your first and last stops at acceptance? Yes!

Will you really win? the answer lies at the end of your journey.

You look at the house you were born for the first time. You think, why did you ever have to trace your roots back to your origins when life had destined to take you afar?

Your thirst for acceptance.

You let your feet walk the land that shunned you, to the people who shunned you, who threw you away as an insignificant burnt match stick failing to notice it was still smouldering. You are still smouldering unaware of the fact that you're just a small step away from being extinguished forever.

Now that you've crossed the bridge and not burnt it, your resolve climbs a notch higher pushed by hope in your attempt to find the answer.

Hope I say for the first time ever, for rage doesn't exist anymore. You've been benumbed to an extent that rage has drowned itself to a point of no return. Even if it does, all wet and damp from the bottom of the abyss, the smouldering matchstick that you still are sometimes, would still fail to ignite it.

You go looking for her ignoring the queer looks of not only the people in the village but your very own as well, the ones who disowned you the moment their eyes saw not the beauty of life in you, but your flawed creation.

Have they recognised you? Has your face given you away? Will they accept you? It doesn’t matter. All you want now is the answer to the only question that's haunted you to the extent of bringing you to the land and the very same people who intended to bury you long ago, but for that one kind lady.

Hope now rules your emotions. You have a preconceived notion about the scenario about to unfold. Your well trained and highly educated brain has washed this issue plenty times and the only scenario you can think of is the one that’s playing inside you right now.

You finally find her. You smile with the expectation that she recognises you. First pit fall. She doesn’t. For a moment, you think, probably it’s high time you abandoned this assignment. Ah! How can you even expect a kind soul who's probably defaulted on countless days in her job possibly remember the one day you were born?

The question that’s been haunting you needs to be answered.

You give her a gentle reminder of the day you were born, letting your tongue utter the name of your procreators with disgust.

“Why did you default on your duties the day I was born?” you finally ask her, expecting the answer to bring closure to your question of acceptance. 

“Oh! the lady from the social service organization had come to visit our village that day. She was but a budding yeast with big dreams in her eyes, but now I hear has mushroomed as a political leader. She wanted to save a girl child waiting to be killed to publicize her noble deeds.” The lady said in an accent punctuated by sounds of tongue swirls in a toothless mouth.

“The irony was, I accidentally disturbed a bee hive on my way into the forest looking for the poison seed. I had to rush back and fell asleep. The social worker thought it a great idea to take you instead of a girl that day.” The old lady muttered.

You feel the oar of hope you’d been rowing your lifeboat of acceptance with all your life finally sink.

It was but a mere accident that you lived. It isn’t a kind lady's acceptance of your flawed creation, the reason behind your existence. 

You feel yourself abandoned in an island. The doctor that you became just to gratify the social worker's dream, took her closer to hers, but farther away from yours. Did you even ever dream?

You were shunned by your own clan for they believed you were destined for a higher life than what you deserved. But did that medical degree get you acceptance? The higher life as believed? No! Alas! Though they appreciated you for being a doctor, the degree couldn't peel off the stigma that glued onto you as second skin.

“I'm a doctor” you say proudly in a last ditch attempt to save your pride and maybe a chance at even acceptance.

“What’s the use? You were one of a kind. The first to be born as such in our village. They couldn't decide if they were to let you live accepting you as a boy or kill you as is the custom accepting you as a girl. You weren’t accepted as either and handed over to me to do as I wished. What would I have done with you other than kill you? You're still a 'Hijra' you see.” The old woman ranted.

You see your life boat starting to sink with water filling in through the many holes that acceptance has left puncturing through.

You decide to unlearn your entire life. You decide to join your clan. You decide to learn the art of begging the streets of the city with the typical 'Hijra' clap as a last resort towards acceptance.

Who's responsible for this?


P.S. Hijra – meaning transgender in hindi language.

India is a country where transgenders people though legally recognised, still live with the social stigma of not being accepted. They are considered as a curse, therefore shunned and looked down by society. In a country where customs and cultures transcend the law, acceptance of transgender people is still a far fetched dream. 

They are deprived of opportunities to education, employment and a decent life.

Most transgender people live in groups and make a living begging on the streets or working as prostitutes.

Though times have changed, there still are designated ladies in some remote villages in India who are assigned the task of doing away with female infants. A male child is most wanted and sought after in the belief that they carry the family lineage forward in a patriarchal society.

June 25, 2020 06:44

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