The Phoenix

The Phoenix

“Mayur, you will get late for the office. Hurry up!”  Mrs. Shukla was shouting on the top of her lungs, it was his first day at job. Mrs.Shukla was a professor and a single mother who had raised her sons in the small town of Jaunpur with  great struggles and obstacles.The boys always held their mother above everything.

Mrs. Shukla packed the lunchbox, wished Mayur luck and left for her school along with Mayank, her younger one. She was glad that Mayur’s focus would now shift from theatre group to his career. Mayur was passionate about the theatre. In fact, he was one of the most sought after actors. His performance always touched hearts and won accolades. He was happy in his own world, until one day.

Mrs. Shukla got the shock of her life, when a relative of hers unveiled the truth that Mayur was interested in female characters. He had donned a female costume for his recent act and also performed a belly-dance. She was shell-shocked. The ghosts of her past seemed ready to engulf her present too.

Her husband was also a drama artist,he often dressed up like females, applied cosmetics and performed various dance forms. People would often make fun of him. She could clearly reminisce the abuses hurled upon them, the various names by which they were addressed. All this resulted in daily fights and irreconcilable differences between the two. Mrs. Shukla was the breadwinner for the family as her husband had a meagre income to support them. This played a major role in parting their ways. He just left one day and never turned back and Mrs. Shukla never showed any eagerness to look out for him. She had created a small new world for herself. Sometimes, her children seeked answers about their father’s whereabouts but she always stood strong.

Oh! No, she had to do something to divert Mayur’s energy  and quickly. She can’t afford to loose him. She desperately tried to find him a respectable job, confronted him, narrated him the pros and cons of his passion. Mayur’s pleas and reasons  that there was a dearth of females in this field fell on deaf ears. She was bent on extracting this from Mayur’s mind and yes today, she had succeeded. She felt relieved, her son won’t be facing the harshness of the society which labelled him, questioning his orientation.

Mayur had accepted this half-heartedly. These lucrative jobs never attracted him. He was a staunch worshipper of art, that knew no boundaries. Mayur bowed his head to the ‘Ardhnarishwar’ that adorned the wall of his room and seeked blessings. Just then his phone rang.His director, whom he referred as Guruji was calling up. It was the final rehearsal for the play “ Menaka and Vishvamitra”. Mayur was playing Menaka’s part. The reason being the same, he didn’t feel ashamed and the local people didn’t want the girls to perform. This acted as a catalyst. Mayur oggled at the red lipstick that seemed questioning,  “Hello, is it me you are looking for?”                      

He picked up his Odhni and dress and left for the rehearsal, but not before writing a note for his mother, “Art has no gender and what society feels, doesn’t matter!” He rose like the Phoenix and left his room.
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Rashim Brutta
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