Thursday, 5 September 2019

For Him, who lives up there.

Roopa smiled as she caressed the sticker on the car's rear windshield - a baby with a little red bow on her bald pate; her arm waving out, announcing to the other motorists that she travelled in the car; a smiling mouth and two tiny dots for eyes, that watched in fascination as the world passed her by.

How Roopa yearned for a daughter. Someone to call her own; her reflection, her shadow, her own flesh and blood. She would never ask for anything if only she could have this one thing in her entire life.

The honking of the vehicles snapped Roopa out of her thoughts and brought her back into the present, reminding her what she was here for.

She stood on the pavement looking at the cars that zoomed by, and in no time, she was gazing longingly at the sticker again, lost in her little dream world, holding a baby in her arms, singing her a lullaby.

"If only God really existed, I wouldn't have been here!" Roopa winced at her fate.

A life so miserable, her own family had disowned her years ago, leaving her alone to deal with whatever came her way. She had a different kind of family now, and she was no longer alone like earlier.  But, she longed for more. "I am just another human being; of course, I have my needs!" she reasoned.

A taxi came to a screeching halt waking her out of her ruminations. A window slid open and a face came into view.

"Aye, chal, aa, baith jaldi." "Hey, come in, quick," spoke a gruff voice as Roopa stood there, surveying the person the voice belonged to.

Pockmarked face, blood-shot eyes, and breath that reeked of alcohol. Roopa could smell the stench even at the few feet distance where she stood. Mishra, the cabbie with too many mouths to feed to afford him a visit to a prostitute for his carnal needs. The one who favoured her over the others for her fair skin and agility.

She cringed at what lay in store for her and cursed her destiny, bitterly.

If only...

"Aye, aati hai ki nahi?" "Hey, are you coming in, or not?" Mishra snapped at her, getting her to move towards him.

Taking in a deep breath as if submitting herself to her destiny, Roopa put on a smile on her painted face.

She started moving towards the car, hips swaying raunchily, arms swinging by her side, her pallu fluttering in the breeze, slowly sliding down her shoulder, exposing the bulge of her breasts through a tight-fitting blouse.

"Kya Seth, aaj bahut din baad Roopa ki yaad aayi!" "What brings you to me after so long, big man?" Roopa quizzed the man, coquettishly.

In no mood for small talk, the man spat at her feet and replied in as gruff a manner as when he had arrived, "Tu baithti hai, ki main jaun? Badi heroine banti hai!" "Are you getting in, or should I leave? Stop being a drama queen!"

Men! Roopa felt the disgust rising within her for the male species. How low she had to stoop to fill her hungry stomach! How she hated herself for all she did, but what choice did she have? she sighed deep down.

Smiling wider now, she neared the cab. Placing her arm on the roof, she tried getting closer to the man through the window.

 "Kya Seth, bahut jaldi hai aaj?" "You seem to be in a hurry, big guy!" she winked and laughed, suggestively.

"Zyada natak mat kar, kutti. Jaldi baith!" "Don't waste my time, bitch. Get in quick!" Mishra roared at her, his spit spraying Roopa's fair face and making her wince in revulsion.

Still, she lingered by the window, refraining from moving towards the passenger door. She was really sick of it all and yearned to get out of the muck that her life was, not that she had any hopes from this beast.

Patting her face carefully with her pallu, now, Roopa wet her lips, suggestively. Smiling a lop-sided smile, she bent closer to the man's face and whispered in his ear, "Aye Seth, itni pasand hoon main tujhe, toh shaadi kyun nahi banata mere saath?" "Hey, big man, if you like me so much, why don't you marry me?"

Her unusual proposal jolted the man out of his stupor. He glared at her with all the loathing he could summon and muttered, "Hijra hai tu, saali, ghar grihasti ke sapne tere liye nahi, samjhi?"  "A eunuch has no right to dream about married life, you hear that?"

Watching the colour drain from Roopa's face, Mishra spat at her again, and shoving her away, he zoomed off.

Roopa staggered towards the pavement as she watched the cab disappear into the distance.

That word. That word that had become her identity. And, to be reminded day in day out that she was born cursed...

She turned her head up to stare at the sky...at the God who apparently resided up there.

Her heart thudded inside her chest, the bile rose in her throat,  anger gripping her entire being. And, yet, she didn't find the will for an angry outburst.

What could she possibly complain about, and to whom? There really wasn't any God sitting up there to give her a patient ear or change her life.

There were only the dark clouds that threatened to burst any moment now.

And, they did.

The raindrops came down at her in full force, but she stood still, her face turned up to face the onslaught, the way she had always faced life. Stoically.

Today, though, something stirred within her and the tears came in full force, unbeknownst to her. Whimpering softly despite the deluge, Roopa let the tears flow. She didn't want to be seen like this by the world, not that the world or its denizens mattered to her. But, she just didn't wish to show her tears.

 That's why she loved the rains. Loved getting drenched in the rain. For, when it rained, it swept her tears away and not a soul discovered the truth.





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*I am participating in the #WordsMatter Blog Hop. 
Today's prompt: 'When it rains'.

I received the tag from Shilpa Garg.
It's my pleasure to pass on the tag to Sunita Saldanha.

There are 42 of us participating in this Blog Hop which is spread over 3 days - 6,7,8 of September. 
Do follow the #WordsMatter Blog Hop and prepare to be surprised!


35 comments:

  1. Woah Shilpa what a hard hitting piece. My heart went out to Roopa. For a moment I almost hoped the cabbie would turn out to have a heart of gold. But real life isn't like that. I hated leaving Roopa like that, crying in the rain.

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    1. Yeah, Tulika. Real life is all about heartbreaks and sadness that we have to live with. My heart too went out to Roopa.

      Thank you for reading! <3

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    2. Then again, that cabbie was no prize; she's probably safer and better off without him, eh?

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  2. Poor Roopa. Maybe someone should see her crying the rain and help her in some way.

    You have a wonderful flair for fiction, Shilpa. You should do more of it.

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    1. Thank you, Soumya! I too enjoyed writing this piece. So, yes, I am definitely going to do more of fiction. :)

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  3. Your story hits us all in the face and how! Amazed at your writing, Shilpa! You've brought out the dark reality faced by hundreds and thousands of such Roopas every day on the streets of every Metropolis in the country, with no one to spare a thought for them. I think you should write fiction more often because like Soumya I too think you have a natural flair for it.

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    1. It's a sad reality that we the "blessed ones" turn a blind eye to. I based this piece on a transgendered person I saw at a traffic signal.
      Thank you Esha!

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  4. Oh man what a story Shilpa - you hvae such a flair for this. I loved the total twist in the tale and how well you used the prompt to drill the message home. Absolutely loved this piece of writing - you should write fiction more often :-)

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    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement Shalz!

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  5. This is such a hard-hitting and engaging story, Shilpa. You portrayed the sad reality of Roopa so evocatively and beautifully. Loved reading your take on the prompt ♥

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  6. You should really develop this story further. It has a lot of potential. Would love to read more of it.

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    1. It does have potential, Sunita. But right now, i am just beginning to write fiction, so I am not sure I will be able to manage an entire story!
      Thank you for reading!

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  7. That was a gripping tale Shilpa. I really admire the courage of these poor women who have to sell their self respect for a square meal. It is heartbreaking to see women reduced to such helplessness. But am intrigued by the end. Is Roopa really a transvestite?

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    1. Aren't hijra transgendered, not transvestite?

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    2. Yes, Holly, they are transgendered.

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    3. Sunita, yes, Roopa is a transgendered person.
      Thank you for reading, Sunita!

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  8. Wow! This is so beautiful, Shilpa. I was engaged from the word go and loved that twist in the tale. You should write more fiction. Thanks for joining the blog hop again. Hope you have fun :)

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    1. Thank you, Shalini! I can't express how much I am enjoying this blog hop and writing fiction!

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  9. Ohh Shilpa, this was such a poignant write. I could feel the pain of heartbroken Roopa through your words. A longing for a life that is almost impossible with the way our society works.

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    1. Sad, isn't it, how some people are destined to live?
      Thank you for reading, Raj!

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  10. Wow. That was like too good. Evocative, emotional, bittersweet ending because though she lost the cabbie, he might not have been a catch anyway. Super.

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  11. My heart goes to Roopa! The bittersweet ending made it look very real. Very emotional indeed.

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  12. See, this is why I tell you that you should write fiction more often. You have a wonderful flair for it, Shilpa.
    Poor Roopa. How I wish things were different for her! We usually judge people after one look, but the truth they have to live with is nowhere close to what we could imagine, right? You brought out the reality in such heartbreaking manner, Shilpa,

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    1. Yes,Vini. Rarely do we pause to think what must be the story of people whom we put a label on with our judgements. We will never know the battles they fight every day.

      Thank you so much, dear!

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  13. This is a hard reality indeed. I was moved to the core by the end of it. I lack words to express how i feel right now...

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    1. Thank you, Keerthi!
      It's a reality we choose to ignore, just like so many others which could do with some love and caring, right? :)

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  14. Wow, its such a hard hitting piece which ofcourse is the reality of these days. It touched my heart really

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  15. This is so well written. This is one of your best fiction pieces. It had me in disgust, sadness and looking for the dictionary to find the meaning of some of the words :D

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    1. Hehehe. Anamika!!!
      Thanks so much! I enjoyed writing it.
      Zara bata dena which words you didn't get :P

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  16. This was brilliant. The way you brought out the characters - I loved reading it. You should write more of fiction. Thank you, Shilpa for joining #WordsMatter. This was a great way to respond to the prompt.

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    1. Thank you, Parul! I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. :)

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