The drum beats went wild. A frantic cacophony filled the air. A slight slit on his throat and a pinch of joy powder went inside. He wouldn’t feel the pain. He wouldn’t feel the long sharp knife slashing off his penis. He wouldn’t feel like a man again. But there was happiness in him, he was finally going to be her. She. After the ceremony, The Goddess would accept him as he would die, and she would come alive. All in few seconds….

After 3 Years

Trivandrum express came to stop outside Hyderabad late in the evening. The college going girl got the window seat. The train picked up pace, as did the pages in the book, she held up to read. She wondered, and she smiled, asking the lines which spoke out to her, one very simple question. How wonderful was life, despite every pathos.  Resoundingly romantic and soulfully appealing. If only the journey never ended. The hazy trees and shapeless poles whizzed past outside and she immersed herself into the story that unfolded.

Just as she got lost in her thoughts, a stranger walked up to her and started clapping. She turned to look at the stranger. Whoever it was, the cropped curly hair with a red bindi on forehead and loose floral silk sari worn looked hideous. She cringed at the very sight. Just then, The clapping stopped and the stranger just as strangely just disappeared.
The girl anxiously looked around but couldn’t see anyone around. It was OK. She could get back to her book and probably complete it, before it reached Secunderabad, over two hours later.
Lakshmi sat there quietly. Near the toilets of general compartment. She was not this. Not someone to be afraid of. Not someone to be cringed about. The one legged kid sat beside her, asking her what the matter was. She nodded and said nothing. If only nothing included everything, and then it could stand for anything.
” You and I – It’s as though we have been taught to kiss in heaven… And sent down to Earth together , to see if we know what we were taught ” she spoke out her mind, as tears rolled down her pink shaded cheeks, as the kid fell asleep in her lap. The night had asked her infinite questions that he thought had been answered years back.

Sailaja had at least kept the book that he had bought for her. The only thing Ramesh had given her, even when he couldn’t give her anything else, before choosing to be Lakshmi.

– Siddharth Naidu

Read more of his works in our book – ‘Of Blood and Ink’

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