The darkness in their lives!Keeping late hours on a project and missing my regular morning walks I felt guilty at my bulging waistline waiting to wriggle out of the last hole of the ready-to snap belt. I have since changed my walk schedules to the evenings in the Rabindra Sarobar Lakes.
It was dark as I sweated to dissolve some flab and my heartbeat was cruising at a comfortable rate. The only difference between walks in the morning and evening was, I was always in the company of one or several in the mornings, and usually a loner in the evenings, the latter, which I despised.
As I sat at the end of my walk on a bench for a few minutes as usual, I saw three eunuchs sitting right behind my bench, one crying. I braved and asked the reason. Someone had hit the poor soul, snatching her bag and ran away.
My comforting words calmed them. They were a team of three and made a round after darkness set in, collecting some money from the romancing couples. They would not disturb any, sitting under lights, but target only those under the bushes in the darkness in different degrees of embrace.
They revealed that the police are a party with whom they have to share the spoils and hastened to add that they do not force poor couples to pay. “God has forgotten to give us vital organs, but did not forget to add a hungry stomach,” their lamenting sounded painful and miserable.
They have tried working for an NGO, without success. During the day they would collect details of childbirths to reach the homes dancing for alms, visit marriages for support and a few take to begging at traffic signals. They would be hauled up in the police stations as often, though charges are seldom filed against them, as they stay within a reasonable limit of law always.
“Time has been bad for us, babu, from the time we were born. We do not know who our parents are. Our community brought us up, but the realization of our vulnerability and defenselessness gets magnified when we grow up to this stage. There are a few bad elements among us, like in every society,” they were prophetic.
I asked them about the recent court judgments in their favour to be given a special status of reservation in jobs. Quick came the retort,” We are poor and who will care for us? It is limited to the educated among us, who live in flats.”
Suddenly they hid as two policemen on duty walked past. “They will always demand money from us, as we demand from others,” it was a matter of fact statement from one of the three. I took out my wallet and gave them the little cash I usually carried during my walks in the darkness.
Though a few states have made strides in including transgender for jobs, the overall disowning of the weak third gender by our indifferent society made my heart heavy as I saw them mingling in the shadows of darkness.
P.S: I could get no better example of their lives as this type of banana tree, devoid of colours, which does not flower and does not bear any fruits, merely to embellish and to die quietly!