I have nothing new to tell you. But do you know why it is YOU, that gets to hear my thoughts every day? Because you don’t complain. You don’t complain that I have been telling you the same thing over all these years and that nothing has changed. You don’t tell me that I bore you or you have had enough. I just need someone to let this surge of feelings out. Who else would listen to me rant?
Today was the same. I took the same train as I always do, at the same station and at the same time. I went to the bank like I always do, getting a bunch of 10 rupee notes in exchange for the hundred rupee ones. No one realizes the effort I put into making people’s life comfortable. I always make sure I get change for them. I smile to myself as I think of the philosophy, “Bring the change you want.”
Once on the train, I start my journey. Not the one that the train was taking me through. Do I ever bother where the train intends to take me anyway?
I am a free soul, and as long as the journey means more to me that the destination does, no railway announcement shall ever matter to me. I know the philosophy would make more sense if I was rich, or successful, or both. But the cult that I am a part of doesn’t lend itself well to being philosophical. I am not just poor. I am not just unsuccessful. I am a SHAME.
He was afraid again today – that boy with the headset. I know the boy that I saw yesterday wasn’t probably the same as I did today. But they all are same – the boys with headsets. They spot me from afar and the actor within surfaces. They pretend to be asleep. And as the sound of my claps gets loud and closer, they realize that their poor attempt at acting isn’t going to work. Then I spot them sneakily transferring a ten rupee note from their wallets into their shirt pockets. Why? Because they fear I’d snatch the whole wallet away if it is exposed to me. It doesn’t bother me. Doesn’t make me sad. I’ve never been sad for the last 2 years. I have learned to live with it.
And then there was the old Uncle Ji, who always refuses to pay. He has the right to do so, but I can’t afford to spare him and endanger my livelihood. I let him go once and the next day, the whole compartment will refuse to pay. I couldn’t open those floodgates. Cutting slack is a weakness, and in my line of work, I can’t afford to be weak. The world I live in is so harsh and unrelenting that I can no longer afford to be weak.
When I hear ten-year-olds abusing their friends and using my gender as a cuss word, I can’t afford to be weak. When I am laughed at wherever I go or when people consider me a bad omen, I can’t afford to be weak. If I, even once, succumb to that, I’ll have no will to be strong again, because this is what my life is every day. I can’t escape it.
Then there are those people – those dim-witted, poorly informed people – who tell me we have brought it on ourselves. They say that our way of providing for ourselves by exploiting fears has what brought this boycott upon us.
Have they ever stopped to wonder why we do what we do? Have they ever thought about why there are none of us in the schools their children study in? Has it crossed their mind that they never find us working in the company they do? Because we aren’t ALLOWED in their world.
They’ll be the first ones to raise their voices against us receiving a chance at a better life if it ever comes to that. If only they could live a day as we do, maybe they would be able to find some empathy. Maybe one day they will try to treat us like humans, not like freaks or a mystery! At least there are calls for women empowerment; empowerment for us seems like a distant dream.
Look what I’ve again! I tell myself every day that I shall not get myself into this mental state, but I end up doing the same.
I promise that tomorrow, I will end my entry on a happy note. Or at least, I will try…