And the doll house was shattered. It was a beautiful house and it took three hours for little Akshay to finally complete it. Akshay was accustomed to his father’s reactions. He slowly gathered the broken pieces of his creation and went inside. His once glittering eyes while admiring his beautiful doll house, were now dark again.
Eight-year-old Akshay always wanted to be like his mother. According to his father, she had gone somewhere far to bring back her little sister who had just disappeared from the hospital the day she was born. Even after so many years, he still remembered his mother’s lovely smile. Her smile, it was the prettiest thing Akshay had ever seen in his little life till now. Her smile, it used to double up as soon as Akshay ran up to her wide open arms. He still remembered her soft touch. He remembered how she used to wait for him in the verandah every day. Her black hair, shining under the afternoon sun, long enough to reach her waist. A few strands tucked carelessly behind her ears, which always used to get entangled with her big round golden earrings. And her saree! Oh! how Akshay loved them! That long pretty piece of cloth, in the brightest of colours, red, pink, orange and yellow, with beautiful patterns drawn on them. He used to jump with amazement every time he saw her wearing them. He always adored the way she used to wear it. Those perfect pleats carefully pinned on her shoulder and sometimes just left flowing carelessly. His favourite being the red one. The one she was wearing in the photograph kept in his room, with a garland of flowers drawn over it. Akshay could not understand the reason of decorating her photo with flowers, she was already too pretty. Every time he looked into her eyes, he knew he wanted to be like his mother.
Back in his room, Akshay stood in front of his mother’s photograph and went back into the times where she used to play with him and his dolls. The dolls, which she had secretly bought for him, hiding them from his father. Akshay never understood why his father never liked him playing with his dolls. But he did not care about it as long as his mother played with him. But now, he cared for his disapproval and missed his mother’s presence.
Not just his father, even his friends at school made fun of him. They laughed at how he preferred going for dance classes over cricket trainings. They mocked him for walking and talking like a girl.
14th December, 2006. It was the happiest day for Akshay. The school was about to have a drama for the Annual day. And today, the teacher would be taking auditions for the role of the female protagonist of the drama, a mother. He was eagerly waiting for the bell to ring for the last period. The last few minutes of the math period seemed like ages to him. Luckily the math sir left the class two minutes before the bell rang. Akshay got up from his seat, pulled out a big plastic bag from his backpack and very carefully tied and held it under his arms, making sure no one gets to see the precious contents inside. He tagged along with other girls of his class to the audition hall. Roars of laughter and mockery filled the corridor, but not loud enough to stop that little boy from living that one dream he always had.
“But Akshay, you will have to be a girl first to become a mother”, said the teacher mockingly.
Akshay stepped back and stood at the corner, clutching the plastic bag, with his mother’s red saree in it, close to his heart. Tears rolling down his cheeks, he now felt confused and angry.
Days passed by and his confusions got more entangled with his desires, with every passing day. Slowly, Akshay started noticing his chains. The chains which were pulling him back from doing what he wanted to do, chains which had stopped him to become what he always wanted to become, like his mother.
He tried talking to his friends, his teachers, but all he got were rebukes, jokes and suggestions to visit a psychiatrist. He even tried talking to his father, with whom he had developed a cold, silent relationship in all these years, only to end up being beaten brutally and asked to leave the house immediately. Not knowing that the world was more cruel outside the doors, he gathered up his things and went outside. He was happy that he was no more caged.
What followed were attacks, assaults and abuses hurled at him. In the name of acceptance in the society, all he could find were inappropriate touches and stares full of disgust. Thoughts of killing himself lingered in his mind all day long. But little did he know, he was too strong for all these, just like his mother.
14th December, 2017.
10 years and 10000 fights later…
It was the happiest day for Akshara. As the curtains were lifted, she saw her father from the stage, happily clapping for her with tears in his eyes. On the stage stood Akshara, the first Indian transgender author, with the prettiest smile in the world, wearing golden earrings and a beautiful red saree, looking just like her mother.
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