By Yusra Husain
Lucknow: It is almost Iftar time and Fizza has started bringing in sumptuous food to the room where the seven transgenders, including her break their fast. Following in line, is the light tinkle from Radhika’s anklet, as she stoops over the floor to place the sherbet glasses categorically. Four Muslims in the group and three being born as Hindus, these seven transgenders who live together in the locality behind Clarks’ Awadh, have been following one another’s religious traditions and festivals as one.
“Three years back I realised that we live together not just as the transgender community, but also as one, irrespective of what religion we belong to. The Muslims amidst us celebrated Holi and Diwali like we did, and so I decided to start keeping rozas,” said Payal, who is fondly called ‘Guru’ and is the leader of the troop.
Following the religious connotations attached with a roza, the transgender group shuns heavy makeup, bares all their extra jewelry, sticks to lesser drama and keeps away from the claps, all of which are an eminent part of their professional lives. “Ever since I came to Lucknow which was 15 years back, I have been observing the rozas more religiously than when I was in Delhi. When we fast together, not as Hindu or Muslims, we give each other strength,” shared Sajan, while another known as ‘Hari Bhari’ plated food for the rest of the party.
Amid the voices saying ‘get the dates’ to ‘pour the sherbet’, Radhika talks about her ‘strength’. “It is my first Ramzan this year. It was form my heart that I wanted to keep the roza. Now I know how difficult it is and this is how I am gaining more courage for life,” she said. Payal, for whom it is the third year, rozas have become a habit. “First time it was very difficult. The day would not pass. When you assign traditions and religions with tags like ‘theirs’ and ‘ours’, it becomes even more difficult to adapt. But once you take it as your own, it becomes a habit,” she says.
Adapting to all religions, sans gender and communal biases, the group follows all traditions and festivities equally. “There is no difference for us between religions. When a stranger can adapt to the language and mannerisms of a place he lives in, then all of us being one, leaves no scope for differences,” said Payal.
Making preparations for the Iftar together, the group then also prostrates in unison, offering the obligatory namaz. If time allows after roza, they put on some make up and paint their nails with matching colour, and head out for some work, before its sehri time again.
Courtesy:The Times of India