I looked at my wife who was feeding our little boy Adarsh. She looked up and caught me watching her. She smiled her dazzling smile and I grinned back watching the two people who mean the world to me. I kept looking at my wife, as my mind clouded with memories. Mrs. Venkatraman. That was her name the first time I met her. I was 26, Bachelor with a master’s degree and a wonderful job. I had everything in life except a wife and I was spending my time in other indulging habits like boozing and jerking. It was on such an occasion I had the fortune of meeting my darling wife. It was my friend Krishna’s birth day and to celebrate it he had taken us all to the UmraoJaan recreational club. It was the hub, where there were artists who served men with mental and physical pleasure. We entered there at late night, just in time to watch a kathak dance performance, from one Mrs. Venkatraman. Mrs. Venkatraman? A married whore? My interest was piqued. We sat ourselves comfortably as the curtains lifted gracefully. I was stunned by the young woman who stood there. She had a beautiful poise. A magnificent body, perfect wheat complexion and a mesmerizing face. But, something about her was different, something unique, something… I quite couldn't grasp. In the end of all the performances there is always a lot pick, where we get to pick our whore for the night. I was transfixed looking at the name written on my paper. Mrs. Venkatraman.
“You will have to walk in to room 119”. The waitress with the harlot red lipstick called out me. I've never done this in my life, and I was half mind to run away from the place. But something about the whore drew me towards her and I found myself turning the door knob of room 119. There in middle of the white lacy bed, sat Mrs. Venkatraman, deeply engrossed in “Electrical and Electronic Measurements and Instrumentation” by A.K. Sawhney.
“mhmm” I cleared my throat to announce my arrival.
She looked up and smiled what I think was her professional smile.
“Interesting choice of book“, I said as I sat at the edge of my bed.
“I love Instrumentation. I've always wanted to be an engineer", was the reply.
I was shocked beyond belief. I was completely taken aback. Did I hear it right?
“You like Engineering?” I asked hoping I could hear the voice again. Just to clarify my sanity.
“Yes, you have any problems with that?” The male voice startled me and I was stunned. She looked like a woman but, the voice, for that matter her entire stance. What? She is… He is? I was confused.
“You are a transgender” I couldn't recognize whether it was a statement or a question.
“Yes I am”, she answered and moved away from the bed.
“How would you like me to start? “She asked, “Would you like a massage followed by a blow job?” she asked as if she was a steward announcing the menu, “Or something like a musical Interlude?”
I gawked at her, too stunned to talk.
“Well come on man, I haven’t got all day, The sooner you fuck me the sooner I can go back to Landline Telemetry system “. She talked in her male voice, oozing impatience.
“Or we could talk about the Telemetry system", I volunteered “I could help you understand the circuit that is if you need my help”.
Her entire demeanor changed and she gaped at me, shocked. Then she smiled her full megawatt smile and I was completely lost in the passion for engineering I saw in her eyes.
“You’ll help me?”, She asked her voice hopeful. The maleness in her voice didn't seem to bother me much after first five minutes.
“But you‘ll be charged based on hours here” she dragged, looking uncomfortable all of a sudden.
“I don’t mind” I said smiling at her. “So what is that you want to know?”
We kept talking the whole night, and I was amazed by her genuine interest and quick intelligence. She had the talent of a brilliant engineering student and she had the audacity to think different from text books.
“Where did you learn so much?” I asked her, after our short four hours discussion.
“I educated myself”, she said with a small smile. “I used to borrow books from the second hand book shop at Ritchie Street when I was in Chennai”.
“Why didn't you go to college?” I asked her genuinely interested. “How did you end up here?”
“College?” she scoffed, “I was kicked out by my parents when I was studying my eighth. “And even if I had the money to go to college, I had problems right from the application form” There was bitterness in her voice.
“How did you meet your husband?” I asked desperate to change the bitter topic.
“Husband?” She looked like I've grown two horns. “Who said I am married?” “Who is insane enough to marry our kind?” She asked with a scorn.
“But your name … I said, “It says Mrs. Venkatraman. I thought you were married to a Mr. Venkatraman who for some reason still lets you stay in this horrible place.“, I finished passionately.
She laughed for the first time, a carefree laugh that somehow lifted my spirits.
“Oh … that!” She said and laughed a little more.
“That is the most logical conclusion", I said my pride slightly wounded.
“Am sorry!” she said between her smile, It’s just that am not used to such conversation”.
I settled myself more comfortably on the bed. “So why is your name Mrs. Venkatraman?” I asked looking at her intently.
She fidgeted a little and I could see indecision portrayed in her expressive face. She calmed herself with a deep breath and rolled up her shoulders, her clear grey eyes meeting mine.
“Back then, when I was still a boy, my name was Venkatraman. I didn't want to change my name, because it reminds me of the time, when all was normal, when I had parents, friends and love”. She closed her eyes as tears kissed her cheeks.
I don’t know why I did that, but I couldn't watch her breaking down in front of me. I held her to me, gently kissing the tears away from her cheeks. The simple gesture broke her dam, and she started crying her heart out, trying to drain all her sorrows out of her system. For my part, I held her, gently stroking her shoulder, trying to soothe her. We did not realize when we slept, but the next morning found us cuddling in bed.
“You've spent eight hours here” Mrs.Venkatraman smiled at me.
“I definitely have some explanations to do", I winked and she looked at me confused.
“Friends” I mouthed at her and rolled my eyes. She smiled, her eyes sparkling with mischief. “Do you want me to help with some steamy description?” She asked.
I smirked at her and reached for my wallet. “How much should I pay?”
Her face fell and she faced the floor, when she looked up, she was much more composed, her business facade back.
“No Charge!” she said
“But ... I” I looked at her confused.
“I charge for physical services. No charge for friendship and warm company!”
Before I could talk further she turned and marched towards the bathroom.
Following days, found me as a regular customer at Umrao Jaan, and my friends were intrigued about this particular person who has unleashed the sexual beast in me. I went to meet Mrs. Venkatraman and I never thought she would become such a close friend to me. It was one such night, when I was with her; I received a call from my home.
“We have a surprise for you!” My mom gushed over the phone, “We want you to come to our home immediately”.
“Mom I have lots of work to do. I can’t take leave.” I whined.
“This is a big thing Eashwar I want you home tomorrow morning. “ My father’s voice barked over the phone. I sighed and switched off my mobile.
“Mmmm? What happened?” She asked with raised eyebrows.
“Parents want me to visit them. Something urgent it seems. It means I cannot see you for a couple of days Venky ma” I looked at her gloomily.
“What’s the big deal Esh ?” she smiled “You have the keys to Room 119, I am not running anywhere .”
I kissed her forehead and walked away. How can she mean so much to me, in such short span of time? The next morning found me knocking at the door step of my native house, trying to stifle a yawn. The door opened and I was stunned to see the gala happening at my place. There were decorations everywhere, flowers, lamps and what not. It looked like a typical marriage set up and for once I was right. But never in this world or in any other universe, did I imagine it was the preparation for my marriage.
“How can you decide my marriage, without telling a word about it to me?” I seethed with anger and slashed my mom with words.
“It was decided when you were kids” my mother said, Mr.Dhirub and your papa had been friends forever, I don’t want you to ruin the prestige of your family and their friendship, my mother thrust the Kurta in my hands and closed the door behind me. I dressed myself and went in to the grand hall, but inside my heart I was running towards my Venky. What the hell. Why am I thinking about her? Arushi is a good girl, I tried to convince myself, but somehow it didn’t work. The ceremony went on and I watched it like a spectator, struggling to blend with the surroundings. Suddenly someone handed over the engagement ring and I looked at Arushi smiling at me, extending her hand to me. It hit me then, my head, heart and soul shouted one name. I clasped the ring in my hand and started running towards my car like a madman. I drove with a devilish speed towards Umroa Jaan and walked into room 119.
She looked at my costume with surprise and for a minute she looked confused. I started sinking down in front of her, bent on one knee, and the surprise in her face turned into horror.
“What are you doing? She breathed. She tried to move back from me.
“Mrs. Venkatraman “I said calmly. “Will you marry me?”
She was stunned and couldn't believe her eyes. Then she erupted. “What foolish thing are you doing? Can’t you understand the consequences? You would be rejected from the society, you cannot go out with your friends, you cannot live with your family, and you cannot have children. I am not a woman. I am a transgender. Did you forget that?” Her voice was rising to a crescendo “I love you too much to let that happen to you“, she cried sinking down to the floor so that we were facing each other. I grabbed her and kissed her softly, looked into her eyes and whispered gently
“Didn't you tell me, that people like you are genuine women by heart and soul? I know who and what you are and I don’t care about anybody’s opinion. I know we cannot have children of our own, but there are so many kids out there without parents. The world is a large place to live darling. We can always survive. And what more we can help your kind to come out and see the world, we’ll break the locks of room 119.”
“Really?” she asked her voice brimming with hope.
“I promise” I smiled and slipped the ring in her finger.
There began the life of the two great people, Mrs and Mr. Eashwar founders of Let’s Transcend the organization that’s the fore runner of Transgender welfare in the country. Love is eternal. It is the only powerful force that can break the barrier of caste, creed, race and sex.