Nusrat Jahan Progga
When Kajol was born, her parents were the happiest couple in the village. Everyone came to see her, and Hijras went to their little house to dance around and give her “blessings”. However, her parents believed little Kajol was the biggest blessing God could have given them.
Kajol was the youngest and she grew up being loved and adored by everyone. She had an elder sister named Parul who always loved braiding her little sister’s hair. All the local kids were her friends, all the women were jealous of how lucky Kajol’s mother was to have such a beautiful daughter, and the owner of the small tea stall would always give her a biscuit or a packet of chanachur when she passed by.
When Kajol was six years old, a renowned NGO came to their village, conducted a survey, and later on, and awareness program to make everyone understand the importance of education. Kajol’s mother heard the speeches made by the educated and well-dressed girl from the city, and looked at her daughters, wondering if it is possible for them to grow up and become the same. After a week, Kajol and Parul were both attending school.
A month after Kajol turned seven, their family decided to go on a trip to Dhaka, to attend the wedding of a relative. However, Kajol’s mother was pregnant, and Parul had to stay behind to look after her. So, it was just Kajol and her dad. After a four hour bus ride, they reached Dhaka safely. Kajol’s dad had to go buy some things and go to the washroom, and so he left Kajol at the bus stand with the luggage and asked her to stay put until he comes back. Twenty minutes went by and there was no sign of her dad. Apprehension took over her little body and she started running around looking for him. “Abba! Koi gela abba” Kajol screamed as tears ran down her eyes. Just when she was beginning to sit down and start crying out loud, her dad appeared in front of her and picked her up in his arms. He then gave her the packet of juice he bought for her, and proceeded to hire a rickshaw to take them to their relatives place. At that moment, Kajol felt something she never felt before: a sense of security, and recognizing the fact that her dad will never leave her.
Kajol enjoyed her weeklong stay at Dhaka very much. It is one of her best memories and she plans to write about it in her S.S.C Bengali exam, which is going to take place within a week. She is a studious person; no wonder she stayed up until 2 at night to study. She goes to sleep, unfortunately to see nightmares of her father never coming back with that packet of Junior Juice in his hands, nightmares of being left alone on the streets of an unknown city.
Kajol woke up from her sleep with the sound of her friend Ratna’s voice. She sat up and looked around the room, almost as if it was an unfamiliar place. She smiled at Ratna and politely asked her to leave the room so that she could change. Kajol took a cold shower and stood infront of the mirror wearing her bright red saree, wondering how she could present herself today. She decided to go simple with kohl on her eyes and rouge lips. She did all her daily activities like fetching the water, doing nothing while people pointed their fingers at her and laughed, and not even lgiving a glare when the men whistled. She silently went back to her “home” and waited in her room… for her first customer, and then the next, and then four more after that.
At this point, you might be wondering what I am talking about. Well, the thing is, Kajol’s nightmare was her reality and what I went on about for so long was nothing but the life she wished she had. Hijras did not come to bless her; they came to take her away. She was not the beautiful daughter but a son with an odd body who was like a curse to his family. She had no friends, and her sister pulled her hair instead of braiding it. The owner of the tea stall threw things at her, and she was never sent to school. The women of the village whispered when she walked by and felt lucky that their children did not turn out like her. Kajol’s dad never came back that day. She slept on the streets until the leader of a local Hijra gang saw her and took her in. Since then, Kajol did many things like begging on the streets when she was little, and eventually going out to scare people stuck at traffic for money. Now her daily job is to fetch water during the day, and please monstrous men at night.
Kajol is a Hijra. Although by law, she has rights, neither society nor her parents, ever allowed her to enjoy them.