An Atonement For You

Short Story by Risvana Rafi (Entry No. 9)

“Ladies and gentleman, put your hands together. Next we are going to announce the prestigious award of this event ,The woman of the year 2021.I invite our honourable D G P Sushmita Malhotra to announce the winner “.The entire auditorium filled with the echo of great applause .”Good morning everybody and it is very pleasure to announce the winner in this moment and I’m very happy to say this name in front of you. Because the paths she had passed and the struggles she had suffered were really travail and completely filled with adversities. But she didn’t go back but fought for her rights as well as other’s and I’m not keeping you in suspense. The award goes to Mrs. Sharmila Patel, the roaring lion of LGBT community”.

Once again the auditorium witnessed a great round of applause . Many ladies from the nook and corner of the hall came and hugged her with love and pleasure. The rays of ecstasy and elation enclosed her. one lady among the audience kissed her cheeks and burst out with tears of joy. “ Arei beta thum rani hei hamari rani “. She again kissed her and prayed to the almighty for her success.Sharmila entered to the stage and received the award . She was very gorgeous in her blue printed silk saree and the blue glass bangles bespangled her hands. While walking to the podium old memories came to her mind as a flashlight. The pain of separation ,scorn ,contempt and mockery everything
pierced into her heart. Her red coloured cheeks turned more red and black tears roll down through her cheeks. Words stucked in her throat and a deep sigh came out through the mike. After a while she cleared her throat and took the mike and came out of the stage .she opened the door of her harsh memories in front of the audience. “Dear friends I’m really happy and very contented to receive this award on the behalf of LGBT community. LGBT is merely 4 letters to the world. But the pains and sorrows they are suffering daily are tremendous and baffling. There is nobody in this world to understand their feelings and suffocations. They are struggling to lead a dignified life. Everywhere they are scorned and contempted with bad words and misbehaviours. I’m working for LGBT community since 1998 . As you all know for every initiative or every deed there will be a reason. In my case also I had a definite and heart breaking reason. An experience which wounded my heart and soul. An incident which shuddered my life.

I am taking all of you to that shocking incident and I know you may also have such a dreary and dark experiences in your life. May be more cruel and harsh than this. When I was studying in 10th standard, I had a friend . He was a boy in appearance but his mind, his soul and his heart was a girl’s. He wished to play with me and other girls but all of them will mock and ridicule him. He was called“88”,”chakka”, “hijra” and many such derogatory terms were attributed to him. But I was really moved by him and I always tried to gave him a space to share his all feelings and thoughts. When my parents came to know about my company with a transgender boy they also scolded me and threatened me. I don’t know why this community is showing such a disrespectful behaviour to this people. God created them differently. So what they can do? The most painful thing is that even their parents are also torturing this people with the society. In my friend’s case also the family was not different. They forced him to be a boy . But he was out of control and he couldn’t hide his femininity. He started to wear churidar and sarees .For that he wanted to pay a lot. He was cruelly tortured by his parents and other family members. He was beaten , thrashed and locked in his home for two months . When I went to visit him, his mother and father stopped me in front of the door. I insisted them to see him but they didn’t allow me to enter the house. Moreover they scolded and cursed me. “you dirty witch, whore, devil. You are supporting my kid to be a hijra. Go away from our home. We don’t want to see your face little ghost”. They slammed the door at me .But I didn’t give up. I just went around the house. I don’t know why I did such an attempt.
otherwise I would have simply returned to my home . But I walked around the house and found an opened window. I just peeped through it . There I saw the most soring scene in my life. I saw the most harrowing sight in my life. I was shocked and shuddered.
(she wiped her tears with issue and her words shivered with agony )
He was lying in the bed as like a dead body his face and body was swollen. Lips were broken and blood was oozing out from it. I thought he was dead. He was that much mutilated and tortured. I wanted to talk him but he was not in his state even to lift his single finger. I ran to my home and begged my father to help him. But they rejected me and they were not interested to took part in others life. Then I thought that I should complaint in the police station . So next day when I’m going to school I planned to complaint in the police station.
(Sharmila stop for a while ,tears again rolled down. She took the bottle from the podium and drank some water . She wiped the tears and took the Mike again with shivering hands).
But it was too late before I’m helping him . He……….(She couldn’t complete the words).
The whole hall was in pin drop silence. Many of the audience were struggling to handle the tears. But it rolled down as like water from a dam. The sounds of sobbing broke the silence and the entire event went to a sorrow mood.

“From that incident I pledged that I will work for this people. Those who are neglected by the parents and society. I affirmed that I will spend my entire life for this community. Then with help of my friends and many other good hearted people I started a small group for awareness programs against the violence towards LGBT community. And later this group flourished and became a powerful and protective shelter for them and we named it “Suraksha”. Now with God’s blessing we are making lot of opportunities and we are addressing the problems of LGBT people and giving lot of support to them. I’m very glad to be the part of this event and I hope my friend who lost his life for being a transgender will be smiling from the heaven by watching this award ceremony. And I dedicate all my efforts and endeavours to him . I’m sorry for you that I couldn’t save your life . Please forgive me . But for you, I will save many other lives. And this award and all my achievements are atonement for you. Thank you every body thank you so much.

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