“Are you sure you want to tell your parents about Aabha? asked Dhiraj. Abhay was lost in his thoughts. Minal nudged him, leading to Abhay spilling his drink on the table.
Abhay recovered from his reverie, “Oops! Sorry. Huh, what were you saying Dhiraj?”
“I was asking you if you are really going ahead and telling your parents about Aabha?”
“Hmmm…. I guess so….. I think I don’t have a choice Dhiraj. It’s high time that they are told. You won’t believe mom has begun looking for proposals for me!!!
“Then you should take tips from bhaiyya who had dropped a similar bombshell at home a year ago,” laughed Minal.
“Don’t worry, I have been rehearsing the past week,” smiled Abhay.
Abhay realized that no amount of preparation was enough to broach the topic of Aabha with his parents. He cursed himself for boasting to Minal the previous night. Finally, he mustered some courage, “Mom, I wanted to tell you something.”
“Haan beta, bolo.”
“No mom, I wanted to talk to both you and dad together.”
Abhay’s dad looked above the newspaper he was reading, “What is it Abhay?”
“Kya hua Abhay? All fine in your office, right?” panicked his mom.
“Yes mom. Everything is fine. Why don’t you sit with dad here? It will be easier for me to speak to both of you together,” saying this he pulled a chair to sit in front of them.
“Is there any girl in your life??? Is that what you wanted to tell us?” prodded his mother.
“Sunita, just hold your horses. You are not letting him speak,” said his father.
“Mom…dad….., I wanted to tell you about Aabha.”
Abhay handed a photo of a girl to his mom, his dad just shot a glance sideways.
“Well, she is pleasant looking. She is……?” asked his mom.
“This is Aabha mom.”
“Aabha? Ohh! Do you love her? You want to marry her? Is she of our caste and religion?”
“I am Aabha, mom!”
Confusion and shock was written all over his parents’ face as the photo slipped out of his mom’s nimble fingers.
After a couple of seconds, which seemed like an eternity to Abhay, his father asked haltingly, “You are a transgender???”
“No dad, I am a cross-dresser. Well, you could call me a transvestite.”
Sunita let out a cry, “So, you are gay?!!”
Abhay took his mom’s hand into his, “Would you stop loving me if I was a gay? Though, to clear your confusion, I am not gay. As I said, I am a crossdresser. I love wearing clothing and accessories commonly associated with women.”
Abhay’s mom was mortified, “Hai Ram! Why would you do that? How come I never saw you wearing women’s clothing?”
“That’s because I don’t have to dress up like women always. I do it only when I want to.”
She turned towards her husband with tears in her eyes, “Why don’t you say something?”
Abhay father was still grappling with what his son had revealed, “I guess I will speak to Anuj. He is a doctor, I am sure he will surely know about the cure for this.”
“No, dad. There is no point in that. Crossdressing is not an illness, it is a state of being. That’s it.”
“Since, when have you been …… I mean…..,” Abhay’s father left his sentence midway.
“A crossdresser? I guess since I was small. But it was only during my eleventh grade I realized my strong fetish and likeness. Dad, I know this has come as a shock to both of you. But there are many like me. In fact, you know Dhiraj right? He is also a crossdresser. You will be surprised to know that there are festivals in India where we crossdressers get an opportunity to publically live the life of a woman!” (Abhay was referring to Chamayavillaku in Kerala, Ganga Jatre in Tirupati and Kulasai in Tamilnadu).”
Now, there was nothing holding Sunitaji from exuding copious tears. She dissected the years passed by looking for reasons for her son’s deviance.
“Mom, tell me something. Remember Roshni, Khanna uncle’s daughter? He proudly introduces her as his tomboy daughter. He claims that he doesn’t miss having a son at all. Have we seen her in anything other than pants or trousers? And of course, the hair cropped so small!!
So, when it is normal for a woman to wear pants and crop her hair real short, why is a man wearing a sari a sexual dysfunction? There are men who wear kilt or sarong in other parts of the world. They are not judged. So, why target an only certain type of clothing?”
“But Roshni’s case is different Abhay.”
“How is it different mom?”
His mother looked at her husband for some support, but he maintained a stony silence.
Abhay then added, “And just for your info, as far as my marriage is concerned, I love Minal and would like to get married to her. Yes, she knows about me and is ok with it. I guess I am one of the lucky ones!”
“What??!! But how can you marry? Will you be able to……” Sunitaji looked at her husband for support again. He completed the sentence reluctantly, “Your mom is asking if you would be able to satisfy her sexually.”
Abhay laughed, “Not just that dad, I would also be able to give you your grandchildren.”
The thought of grandchildren brought a hesitant smile on his parents’ face. Abhay knew it was not going to be easy for them to accept his other identity. They would need time, loads of it. But he was ready to wait. He was confident that they will accept his Aabha. If not today, tomorrow.
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