Anshuman*, 24, is a transvestite (a person who dresses in the clothes of the opposite sex) and lives in Delhi.
Farewell – my way
It was the season of farewells and goodbyes at my college. As the time to leave college drew near, I became emotional. It was my learning space that I respected a lot. I wanted to bid adieu, with a bang – at least physically. So, I decided to do what I loved the most – wear a saree.
I am born a male and identify as a man. I love to dress up and had been experimenting with my appearance – wearing a nose ring, putting nail polish and stuff like that. My friends and teachers at the college knew and I was a part of a close group that respected my choices. Even so wearing a saree in public was giving me butterflies in the tummy.
The D-day excitement
On the day of the farewell, my friends came over to help me wear the saree. It was a beautiful, olive-green saree and belonged to a close friend's mother.
I must say I looked quite stellar and was extremely happy with everything. My friends and I couldn't contain our excitement to get to the farewell and have the time of our lives. After all, it was the same place where I had learned so much.
We decided to take a cab to college. The 15-minute cab ride turned into a very awkward exchange between us and the cab driver. He was extremely inquisitive, almost bordering on policing us and telling us what I was doing was 'wrong' or 'unnatural'.
We decided not to pursue the conversation further else it would have ruined our mood for the farewell.
Walk of shame
Little did we know that the next hurdle would be at the crowded college gate. For the first time in my three years of attending college, I was asked for an ID card. The guard stared at me for a good five minutes.
Then came the walk from the main gate to the venue, which was at the other end of the campus. I bore the glances, the stares, the grins, the outright laughs and even the faint screams of 'chakka' from somewhere down the corridor.
I quickened my pace for the fear of physical assault, though people were constantly assaulting me with their eyes.
I finally reached the venue – my department, safe space, my comfort zone.
I was finally at ease with myself and enjoyed the afternoon with my friends and professors who showered praises on me for the saree.
That farewell is now etched in my memory. It was one of the best I have ever attended. Yet, it still pinches me to have these painful memories associated with it. I can never forget how ashamed I was made to feel and the word chakka still rings loud in my ear.
*To protect the identity, names have been changed and the person/s in the picture is/are models.