The Padmanabha Swamy temple bells resounded the morning airs jolting the city wide awake. It was the Brahma Muhurtam hour at the temple city of Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, India. The dark night skies were beginning to lace with glimpses of tangerine strokes trying to add myriad shades and meaning upon the canvas to welcome the brand new day.
The ‘Namboodiri Mansion’ stood in ginormous style in ethnic splendour with its three storey structure and wide expansive pathway with lush foliage casting a royal look to its onlookers against the dawning skies. Deep in the chambers of the mansion, upon a majestic cot in a cosy room, Chechi tossed and turned; feeling restless. Chechi finally sat herself on the cushiony mattress to feel trickling beads of sweat upon her glabella. This was despite the cool breeze of the December skies that cooled the airs after the rains to cast dews to form upon tiny leaves. Sleep had evaded her and her heart was pounding in a restless rhythm. She could not come to terms with what she had discovered. She felt restless… Anxious… Nervous…
She recalled the scenes of the last few months. She had been observing unusual changes to the contents of her room. Her clothes sometimes lay misaligned, other times her metal bangles strewn across on the bed or even her kajal and bindi seemed to have moved away to relocate to another place in her room. She remembered these tiny, insignificant details because of the hidden perfectionist in her.
Chechi was assured that none of the items were stolen or missing. This was definitely not an act of theft. She was confident! Absolutely sure. Assured. Besides, all the other ladies in the house had their own share of bangles, matching lipstick shades and bindis to call their own. Then why were only her things disarrayed? Or was it only her things? She had spent time and kept a sharp vigil fathoming the possibilities until, the previous evening when she stumbled upon the grey truth.
(The previous afternoon)
Chechi stood at the railway station bidding farewell to the entire family who were on their way to attend a wedding in a nearby town. They wouldn’t be home for a few days.
Amma had called Chechi over, “Chechi, just take care of the house and your little brother, Pradeep. He is in class ten. He wanted to be home alone but you know how restless he is, don’t you? He doesn’t know you will be back home again. He might even get upset. Just handle him with love.”
“Yes Amma, I know. Don’t worry.”
“I am leaving you with the hope that you will be there to care for Pradeep and also to supervise the operations of the mansion in our absence. The house maids will come over every morning on time for the routine jobs.”
“Amma, the house and your doting son will be well cared for in your absence. Be rest assured.”
Amma bid farewell and had boarded the train along with the other two dozen family members. She had laughed at how an entire first class bogie was reserved for the Namboodiri family.
She had to rush back home for her younger brother, Pradeep would have returned back from school by now. It would take her at least an hour more to reach home. The traffic in the city was surely mounting. Phew! Wonder when the city traffic would get organised?
Pradeep was lean, fragile and timid for a fifteen year old. Yet, he was much taller than other boys in his class. His buttered chocolate eyes felt like two dark brown pebbles perfectly arranged upon a vanilla cream base smoothed slowly by a ridge of thick, black lashes. There was a natural feminine charm emitting from his aura. He was a graceful dancer and his moves could put any woman to shame. Also, his body hormones had hardly shown any signs of masculinity. No facial hair, meagre body hair, still a squeaky child-like voice…
Pradeep should have felt insecure amidst the other boys in his class, shouldn’t he? But Pradeep was his doting mother’s boy; everyone’s favourite little one. Everyone drooled over his chocolate hero looks. He was securely brought up under the protective umbrella of a matriarchal influence headed by Amma, Chechi, his aunt, sisters, cousins and other females in the house. He never felt out of place.
But things at school were different. The other boys used to discuss naked women, hot bodies, pornographic sites and magazines and even masturbation. Pradeep instantly felt a sense of disgust wash over him. Afterall, he respected the women in his household. How could he think wrong about women?
“Shouldn’t we all be respecting women?” he had questioned on hearing the boys talk.
One of them responded, “Oooooh! Feeling shy, my sexy girl. Wish to try me? I will give you all the pleasure you seek, darling.”
Pradeep had sensed repugnance and walked away.
But today, Pradeep was ecstatic. Over the moon. On cloud nine. He had been desirous of unfurling his long anticipated hopes and dreams. This was the day he had been waiting for. The family had left for the wedding. The entire family. The whole lot.
‘Yippee! I’m going to be home alone,’ he screamed heart in heart.
‘I will skip dance lessons today! Today, I need to live my dreams. I wish to discover myself. Explore my fantasies,’ he thought to himself.
On his way back, he stopped at a roadside flower seller and announced hesitantly, “Three cubits of Jasmine flower please.”
“What young boy, planning to gift it to your girlfriend, is it? Too young for a moustache, but old enough for a girlfriend,” she questioned mockingly as she measured the Jasmine flowers threaded in a thin cotton strand.
Pradeep felt a rush of heat floating through his ears as they turned red with guilt and shame.
He managed to dig out the desired sum from his pocket and fumbled, “Oh! Sister, this is for God. My Amma asked me to buy it.”
He felt satisfied as he saw a convincing look upon the flower seller’s face.
He hid the flowers in his school bag and rushed back home with full zest. The main gate was not locked. He flung open the gates and used his set of keys to unlock the main door.
He had the entire plan replaying like a video upon his mind. He had replayed it so many times in his dreams. It felt surreal.
He carefully placed the school bag in his room, freshened up and went to his most favourite place of exploration, his Chechi’s room.
Pradeep had already collected his aunt’s bright orange petticoat with frills, his sister-in-law’s fuchsia pink padded and laced brassiere, his mother’s hair wig, his Chechi’s bangles, kajal, lipstick and bindi. And of course, not forgetting those cubits of Jasmine he had just purchased a while ago under the pretext of offering them to the Gods. Well, he was not fully wrong, was he? Today, he felt like the Heavens had cascaded their blessings upon him to feel and experience the freedom that he seemed and yearned for. His parched soul pined to uncover the truth that would occur through this ‘Trans’formation.
He carefully shed all his clothes and stacked them consciously in a pile in the corner. He then started cross dressing to transform his male form to become a female and experience femininity.
He took great care and caution as he wore the petticoat and brassiere. He admired his newly discovered form in the full length ornate mirror. Something felt missing; so he reached out to the drawer and filled the empty sockets of the brasserie with cotton until they felt enlarged, full and voluptuous. Pradeep positioned his chest to align with the newly formed artificial breasts. He deliberately took time to comb his hair to secure his Amma’s wig, adorned them with the Jasmine flowers and then went on to spread a liberal portion of liquid red lipstick upon his tender lips. He placed the stone embellished bindi on the centre of his forehead and finished off the looks with a thick application of Kajal to line his chocolate brown eyes and a dash of mascara he had newly discovered in his Chechi’s drawer to highlight his already luxuriant lashes.
He was even tempted to try one of the new ladies panties lying in the drawer but fearing any damage, he decided against it.
With the looks thus complete, he stood in front of the mirror and said to the image peeking from the mirror, “Hey Paramsundari! Wasn’t this the person I was waiting to discover? Today, I feel complete— because I found ‘You’. I look deep into the abyss of your Soulful eyes and drown in the beauty of discovering the Self!”
He then turned on the television to play some groovy music videos on MTV. It was Bollywood music time and the song “Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai, Choli Ke Peeche…”, was playing on the channel. Pradeep felt sexy and beautiful; hot and titillated. He once again admired his form in the full length mirror and felt like a nubile and tender woman.
He lost himself in the bliss of this newfound self and started grooving sensuously to the loud music.
Chechi returned home and heard the loud music of some random Bollywood song playing within the mansion. She assumed it must be Pradeep who must have returned back from school. Of course, he committed to stay back home and not attend the wedding with a promise to spend his time studying seriously but only his Chechi knows the wavering temptations of the fictitious mind. She smiled to herself as she entered the main door. She searched for the keys but it wasn’t needed; that silly boy had left it casually open for any stranger to venture upon.
It was another story that no one ever dared to enter their Mansion fearing their ‘Acchan’ who possessed and owned huge farm lands in different cities and towns in Kerala. The fear of royalty was casually felt by the inmates of the ‘Namboodiri Mansion’.
As she shut the main door behind her, she freshened up and then traced her way up to the room from where the music was playing. She was surprised that Pradeep’s room was empty and that the sounds were emerging from her room on the same floor.
She knocked at the door but the music was too loud. She carefully tried to open the door to realise that Pradeep had not locked the door. She entered only to discover the most shocking revelation of her life. With their back facing her, someone was fully clad in an erotic woman’s garb, grooving seductively to the music and moving their butts up and down to the rhythmic beats of the fast music.
Chechi stepped in carefully and placed her hand on this person’s shoulder.
They turned around in a state of absolute shock only for the final reveal that this stranger was none other than Pradeep.
They both stood dumbstruck and horrified at discovering each other.
Chechi gathered herself emotionally and in an unperturbed manner, went to turn off the television. She was also shocked to see the computer screen turned on with some nude pictures of handsome, well sculpted, chiselled men.
Being sharp and observant, she also realised that despite these sexual moves, Pradeep’s organ stood limp and flaccid; yet there was a heavy secretion that had left the petticoat stained.
She composed herself and questioned Pradeep, “What am I witnessing, Pradeep? How long has this been going on?”
Pradeep being shy and timid, felt overwhelmed with guilt and began to sob.
Chechi calmed him and said, “There is nothing to be scared about. I’m not sure what you are doing is right or wrong, but I don’t want to judge it. Let’s go and see our gynaecologist tomorrow. I’m sure she will be able to sort this out.”
Pradeep responded in a shivering voice, “Chechi, I feel scared. What if others discover this? Will I be mocked? The boys at school already treat me like a girl. Frankly, I even like their attention sometimes.”
“I understand you Pradeep. I will stand by you by thick or thin. Your feelings are real. For now, stop this nonsense, gather yourself and get everything washed. You are in a mess!” said Chechi, and her shrilling laughter filled the corridors of the mansion.
The next day, Chechi decided to take Pradeep to the gynaecologist. The family was still at the wedding and she wanted to keep this matter as discreet as possible. She had already called up the doctor and fixed an appointment for the next morning. Deepak took leave from school and the brother- sister duo hopped off to visit doctor Dr. Jaya at her clinic.
Dr. Jaya’s clinic was elegantly designed in a simplistic style with not much exhibit. She had not taken other appointments at this hour knowing the depth and seriousness of the issue while also keeping the Namboodiri house repute in mind.
Chechi knocked on the door, “May we come in?”
“Good morning doctor. This is my brother Pradeep. I had spoken to you yesterday about his unique experience.”
“Come over Pradeep. Let’s get some checks done. Don’t feel shy or scared. We are here to support you.”
After the initial check-up, the doctor observed that Pradeep was a well grown male teenager and yet, there were no prominent changes in his hormones and physical development. She suggested a few blood tests to be done at the clinic where they also had a haematology lab. She promised that the tests would be conducted discreetly to avoid public shaming or gossiping.
The reports came and the results were shocking. They revealed that the primary hormones involved in the functioning of the male reproductive and developmental system were negligible and not produced in enough quantity by the body. Now, this was a matter of grave concern.
Dr. Jaya called Chechi and informed, “Chechi, Pradeep’s hormonal changes are haphazard. The male hormones are not being produced in the right amount. So, this is a long process and we may need to include therapists, counsellors and some detailed procedures for coping with these challenges.”
Chechi grasped the seriousness of the situation, “Dr. Jaya, I thank you for your concern and support. I cannot take this call on my own. I will have to talk to Pradeep and then the family to handle this situation better. I hope to connect with you soon for a positive change.”
After the call, Chechi discussed the doctor’s report with Pradeep and asked him, “Though I probably know what you desire, I still wish to hear your needs. Do you aspire to be a man or do you see yourself as a woman already? Based on your answer, I will suggest further actions.”
“Chechi, you have already seen that my personal choice is to be a woman; but I have my apprehensions about family and society acceptance.”
“Don’t worry about that. I will talk to the family and take this further.”
“Chechi, you are a saviour! I would have rather ended my life, if not for you. Can’t thank you enough,” mentioned an overwhelmed Pradeep.
Chechi waited until the wedding ceremony and called the family back home urgently.
She spoke to family and offered a detailed insight on the developments and the test reports.
She then announced, “I understand that this is tough for the family. But Pradeep has already taken his calling; and I wish to support him in this ‘Trans’formation journey.”
Acchan was furious. He roared, “How dare does anyone imagine undergoing this nonsensical procedure. It doesn’t even make sense. Besides, who would accept a man as a woman? Imagine spending money to degrade oneself! Everyone is out of their senses.”
Amma remained mute but Chechi spoke, “Acchan, it’s a medical condition; that which is beyond our control. How can we be judgemental about it?”
“I don’t care what you all do. But don’t expect me to spare my hard earned money for this foolishness. I will simply disown Pradeep.”
“So that you can accept him as ‘Pradeepa’. She will be the guiding beacon of hope and inspiration for those who wish to wear their identity up their sleeves. Acchan, the truth cannot be long hidden. We need to accept change as the only constant,” concluded Chechi.
With that, she held Pradeep’s hand at his wrist, and after seeking the blessings of a mute Amma and their furious Acchan, left to the doctor’s clinic towards a new life.
- Brahma Muhurtam- Auspicious time that starts ninety six minutes before sunrise and lasts for forty eight minutes
- Chechi- Elder sister in Malayalam
- Kajal- Kohl for the eyes
- Bindi- vermillion dot on the forehead used for adorning the self (generally used by females- nowadays available in fancy varieties)
- Amma- Mother in Malayalam
- Paramsundari- Divine beauty
- Acchan- Father in Malayalam
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