Trapped

‘Peep Peep!!’, the notification calls out, ‘The Bad Boy is on’. Rapidly turning the laptop on ‘Marble Martha’ came online. Let’s play a combat! Marble Martha collects her weapons, bombs, a crossbow and few arrows. This is anti-climax, instead of attacking ‘Bad Boy’ showered her with flowers and send across and concord note. Marble Martha and Bad boy are now buddies, they form a team. What an amazing Alliance Day!!

“Mandar, can you hear me?” shouted a furious Bhavna. Bhavna was Mandar’s sister and had been beating the door for slight short of an era. He immediately turned off the laptop, took off the sister’s T-Shirt (ouch they were really body-hugging), rubbed away all makeup and came out garbed in what they are used to see him.

“Why don’t you go down and play a bit with the boys? Kids your age shouldn’t spend so many hours indoor.” Insisted his mom. Indeed! He wanted to be outdoor, but not with these boys. They were too rough for him to handle. He would rather cycle around and reflect alone. Bang! A fast pace ball hit him hard on the back. “Pass it back softie!” called out the bully number three, after the he aimed the ball right on his soft part. “It a ball, not a flower, you can be a bit harsher on it.” Mocked bully number 2 as he gently threw back the ball.  Abuses and bullying were an everyday event in Martha’s life. Martha was the feminine side of Mandar trapped inside the body of a man, with a hope of breaking free someday. 

A red T Shirt, hefty hips, flat stomach and heavy bosom, a pair of glares and heaps of makeup, here comes the Avatar for Marble Martha. The Avatar did, said, robed and behaved all that Martha might never dream of doing unless she could escape Mandar’s body. It talked, trifled, got proposed and even caressed. Bad boy nevertheless continuously topped her priority, he deceptively spoke what she yearned to catch. “You look wanted! you are the best thing that happened to me!” while Mandar was the black sheep of the household, Martha was the most desirable Avatar in the cyber space. Mandar Martha the inventor of the avatar, felt like a proud mom.

Web declaration day of Avatar contest, and Marble Martha it is, winner of the Avatar contest 2019. Calls for a celebration, certainly! Locked in her room, Martha celebrated with the piece of pastry she picked up on her way home. She patted herself on her back gently.

Martha.marble@myemail.com received a surprise mail that day. It was from Bred Lamington from the Ted games company. The Poland based company owned the Battle of love game. The game that’s home for Martha Marble, Bad boy and many such avatars.

Dear Martha,

We hold the Avatar tournament each year, and we have declared many winners up to now. However, no avatar was ever as soulful as Marble Martha. We converted her to be a paid avatar some days back and it didn’t stop its acceptance. We already made lots out of payment for the avatar.

You are entitled for a royalty of $1000. Kindly share your bank account details so that we can transfer you the prize money.

Also, we request you to attend our Annual Thanksgiving meet this December, we would like to felicitate you in person.

 Regards,
Bren Lamington
Chief marketing officer
Ted Games Inc.

Three reads later Martha can still not believe what she just read.  Marble Martha had to be soulful, it was the trapped soul of Martha, that spoke through Marble Martha. Virtually taking of her innermost existence gave accomplishment on the primary step. ‘Being out and true to what you classify is indispensable for inner concord’, she comprehended, as she decided to confront her people with her fact. The air of courage she was carrying got busted on sight of strangers accompanying her parents in the living room.

“Mr. Mehta is the Dean of boys college at Panchgani, we have decided to send you to the boys hostel the coming year”, declared the majestic father, who always commanded what Mandar did in life. Tired of his son’s weakness, he decided to keep him out of comfort zone, which would aid in shaping his personality. 

Her nerve took few steps down; however, she still held the bravery to declare her win at a gaming contest, the prize money and the invitation to Poland. However, Martha still stayed concealed, she couldn’t develop the courage to appear. Pleased by the first boast able success by their son, both the folks agreed for his Poland trip, however they convinced him to move to a boy’s hostel. That marked the beginning of another series of hardship.

From one bully land to other, the earlier one was time bound, however this was an all-day worry. Abuses and ridicule were an ignorable act by now, while he was still dealing with rats in pants, or being hit or rubbed at wrong places, as he couldn’t anticipate what boys that age think. With a scared body and soul, he decided to end his life. Just as the thought crossed his mind, he received a notification for a new game from Bad boy. The laptop, he gifted himself from the prize money managed to sway him away from all such negative thoughts into a virtual world of self-acceptance. Martha came alive at the break of midnight giving mandar the courage to face the trauma throughout the day.

Three months and twelve days later finally it was time to live her much awaited Polish dream.

She quietly picked that red T shirt from Bhavna’s closet, stole her make-up kit and glares and packed them all in her bag. The nervous youngster was travelling outside the country for the first time. The travel was relaxing and peaceful than he imagined. Surrounded by strangers who cared the least about what he did. He let aside the strain in her body and placed her legs elegantly one next to the other, curved her hands and fanned herself, and floated around the airport unbounded. After a long and nervous flight, she finally reached her destination.

She initially decided to dress as Marble Martha to the event. Though, she changed her mind of hearing that the event will be recorded and might be available through community channels. She was not yet ready to be out. Dressed in T-shirt and a pair of Jeans Mandar headed towards the event. He met Bren and some other competitors too. It was a charming event. Out of inquisitiveness he queried around the inventor of Bad Boy, and to his astonishment Bren replied, “It me, Bad Boy and girl, both are bots designed by me. They play and chat with players to appreciate their personality and we design and adapt our game accordingly.” Martha was eager to know about the various facets of the gaming world. ‘This is where I want to be!’ avowed Martha subtly without anyone hearing it.

“Was that you?” called out an unfamiliar voice. “pardon me!” responded a surprised Martha as the stranger walked towards her. “Marble Martha! Isn’t that you?” he repeated himself. “Yes, I shaped that avatar, you are correct.” She answered awkwardly. “I didn’t mean that, Martha is you, you are the personality behind Martha.” Stated the stranger, as Martha stood baffled. Before she could hold herself, he introduced himself. “Hi, I am Chetan, I am the Data engineer at Ted’s. I studied your chat log with Bad boy, and you are certainly Martha.” He claimed, as Martha was still in tremor.

“Is he scaring you kid?” Bren interrupted the conversation. “He is brutally honest, that’s why I love him.” Bren stated placing a peck on Chetan’s lips. Now Martha felt absolutely awkward. Before he could say anything, Chetan clarified, “Yes, we are partners, in the company as well as in life.” “Does that mean…” Martha was hesitant to complete, and Chetan did that for her. “Yes, this means we are gay, out and proud.” ‘Wow! Out and proud, can I say that someday.’ Martha was relieved to learn that his feelings were not unnatural or strange, there are more people across the globe who can relate to him.

Chetan payed a surprise visit to Martha the night before his flight. “I can feel you kid, I have been through this myself, when I was your age.” Chetan said as he was reassuring Marta. “Accept yourself and progress, there is no exit kid.” He continued. “I accept myself totally sir, though I can’t let my parents know about this, they can’t handle it!” she sobbed. “You can’t live this way child, you family is your innermost circle, they should be the first to know about you. Once you cross that hurdle, all the others are just small bumps.” Chetan settled as he bid him farewell and a safe trip. Martha sat alone and reflected the whole conversation.

That marked the beginning of the “Journey of Marble Martha” series. The first episode was shot right there in the hotel room. Dressed as Martha, Mandar came out to the world starting with Bhavna, then ma, dad, people at college, the community, all got exposed to the journey that Martha toured to come out of Mandars personality.

The journey was not easy. It started with the family disowning him, followed by being ousted by community. The mocking and bullying now leaked out of his inner self to his inner circle. All of those died their natural death with the flow of time. Gradually the family developed resilience to the situation, followed by tolerance and finally acceptance.

A decade later, a well-paid creative designer at Ted Games is finally going under the knife for the change surgery. The parents were upset they will no longer see their son, but relieved that they are not losing the kid overall. Charming, poised and successful Martha was an improved bargain over the bothered and devastated Mandar. She packed her finest attires, a bag full of gifts and heart full of grace, as she planned her travel to India, to attend Bhavna’s wedding. Bhavna gracefully introduced her sister to her new family. They were all aware of her journey and by now were in acceptance of the fact. Martha was glad to be a change maker in her own small way.

‘Kids’ education, job, marriage and then their kids, they sound like innocent dreams which parents hold in their heart. Many a times we fail to see the pressure and stress that the child undergoes in pursuit of fulfilling the dreams which are not even theirs.’ These were few lines of the latest book released by Martha. There was no looking back from there, mentor, motivational speaker, LGBT flag bearer, were few other roles he played. Connecting to people with similar struggles and helping them the way out, was her path to Nirvana.

“Martha, did you see this new avatar?” called out Chetan as they were reviewing entries for the latest Avatar contest. ‘Doodle Diana!!’ “Isn’t she beautiful and soulful, just like Marble Martha. Guess what! she too is from India” The whole journey crossed Martha’s mind, the street bullies, boy’s hostel, locking up at home, avatar contest, first trip to Poland, conversion surgery and finally and new and confident personality today.

Martha immediately took out her laptop, and send an email to Doodle Diana, announcing her victory and also inviting her for the event. Before she sent her the letter, she decided to move a bit ahead, she send her the link to the video series and also her personally reachable number and added a note. “Don’t choke, come out, be out with your inner circle.”

“What if she is not in the same boat as we were?” enquired Chetan, as he read the note she sent to Diana. “Well! If she is not, she’ll ignore the note, it won’t make any sense to her. And if she is, she’ll call me back.” By the time she finished speaking, she received a call from a mellow sounding husky voice. “Hi, this is Diana, can I speak with Martha?”

The ray of hope finds a new route!!

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