Zarine tried hard to open her eyes. Her eyelids were glued together. Was she still alive?
She moved her toes and fingers, which was a great relief. She brushed her fingers across her face reaching her eyes, rubbed off the white sticky mucus and opened her eyes slowly.
Zarine breathed a sigh of relief. She was still at the hospital. Dr Varde walked into the room.
“Hi! How are you feeling? Any pain or nausea?”
“Just tired. No pain so far,” she smiled flirtatiously, “Doc! So, what is the outcome?” Zarine starred anxiously at Dr Varde.
He came closer, held her hand assuringly and said, “Your wish is granted.”
Shiva felt breathless. Huffing and puffing, he bent down and held his knees, exhaling through his mouth. They were nearing, and he could hear their murmurs.
He had to run into a crowded place or just a housing complex. At this time of crisis too, all Shiva could think about was his dignity and not his life.
He reached a slum and knocked at a random door. As the door opened, Shiva collapsed in their arms.
“Maa, It’s his birthday,” Rahul tapped Shiva’s shoulder.
“So, where is the big party?”
“At home aunty. My father has planned something since it’s my eighteenth,” Shiva smiled excitedly, “Only a few close friends and relatives,” Shiva winked at Rahul.
Little did they know that their world would turn upside down.
“Shivaaaa,” his father roared as he opened the terrace door, “What on Earth are you up to?” turning to Rahul, “I will kill you. So you are the culprit.” And he grabbed Rahul’s shirt.
“No Uncleji, you are getting it all wrong. I told Shiva, but he would not listen.”
Shiva looked at Rahul with a broken heart and smirked, “Till death do us part?”
Shiva’s father punched a fist and marched furiously towards him. That was his cue, and Shiva ran. He ran from the people who would never understand him. He ran from people who will judge him. He ran from the pseudo-love of his people.
Shiva opened his eyes in her arms.
“Son, are you fine?” She caressed his forehead, “I shooed the monsters away. If you wish, you can stay with me. Call me Maa like the others.”
Shiva hugged her tightly. He looked up at her with welled up eyes, “Maa, I am like you. I wish I were a girl.”
Zarine walked across to the bathroom. She looked at herself in the mirror.
She held Maa tight, “Maa, I came out of the closet long back. I yearned for others to accept me, love me the way I am. But with the heart of a girl, I could never look at Shiva in the mirror. I felt caged. Today is the day I truly came out of my closet. This surgery has helped me find myself. Today my wish to transform into Zarine from Shiva is fulfilled.”
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