A blue collared worker in the train bullied a hijra while a couple of others were laughing at his “jokes”. I watched like a mute spectator waiting for once, for someone to raise a voice of dissent; none did. Most of them who were offended, turned to the hijra with a sympathetic eye. I waited for the crowd to respond, and the crowd waited for the crowd to respond. All this while, the hijra who was hanging by the footboard symbolically, (half of hir body hanging in the sky, half on the train) kept a poker face oblivious to the jibes directed at hir. I waited for another couple of stations like a mute fucker in a colony of impotent spectators. The jibes intensified, the look on the hijra’s face got even more intense. I always wanted people to fight for their own rights. I waited for a response as another couple of stations went by. Then the nice blue collared man went up to the hijra and started prodding hir. Too close for comfort, the hijra person pushed hirself to the corner of the footboard to give the Lord of Fuckland more space. Again, kind hearted and sensitive people watched with a sympathetic eye. I waited for them to respond; they waited for someone to respond. So, in effect no one responded, as a couple of more stations passed by.
Time had kind of stopped to watch the man stoop to new lows of disgrace. It was Vadala road, I had just two more stations to alight. I decided to speak up. I gathered all my pent up anger, and screamed “BAHUT MARDH BANTA HAI. What the fuck did the hijra do to you, why are you troubling the hijra”. There was pin drop silence in the otherwise chaotic train. The Hijra was still poker faced, acted as if ze didnt hear a single word of support. The asshole charged at me with rage, and his friends held on to him to prevent him from doing any drama. He went ” what the hell is your problem you homo”. At this point, the silent empathizers spoke up, not for me but also for the hijra, “Dude, behave yourself else you will be thrown on the tracks with your two friends, dare you fucking speak to THEM like that. APOLOGIZE. APOLOGIZE NOW.” In the meantime, the hijra alighted the train, silently, oblivious to all that was happening around hir, not a word of thanks, not a word of hatred, not a pinch of any emotion on hir poker face. The asshole was silent now, guess he was overwhelmed by the crowd that joined as the chorus against him. He rendered an apology to me. “Sorry boss, said what I said in anger”. In the meantime, there were some phone cameras that were out clicking pictures. (Who doesn’t like some good drama, yeah?). In the meantime, it was time for me to alight too, guess the asshole went further to VT.
I alighted, and my first reaction at Cotton Green station was of anger at the hijra, “Why can’t they fight for their rights”, I thought. But soon, it changed to that of empathy and evaluation – DO WE REALLY GIVE HIJRAS A VOICE? or rather DO WE REALLY HEAR THE HIJRA VOICE?