Tiny Story : What Is The Big Deal?

It was a regular summer morning in Chennai. The clock said 8:15 AM in the Courier service office in Tambaram. Employees were walking in one by one to start their day.

Lakshmi signed the register at the entrance and walked inside the office. She got to her desk, left her handbag at the table, and wiped away the sweat from her face with her handkerchief.
Across from her desk were the desks of Accountant Mr.Paramasivam and Steno Mrs.Susheela.

“Good morning” smiled Paramasivam.
“Good morning Ma’am! How are you?” Lakshmi smiled back.

Paramsivam was little confused and taken aback by Lakshmi’s reply. At the same time, Susheela who was immersed in her book, lifted her head and looked at Lakshmi.
“Oh! I didn’t see you arrive.  I was so involved with my book. Sorry. Good morning Lakshmi, How are you today?”

“That’s okay. I am doing well Sir” replied Lakshmi.

Now Susheela got confused. She assumed that Lakshmi was talking to Paramsivam and slowly nodded her head. At the same time, Reshma and Raghu entered the office. Those two are the same age and on the same team as Lakshmi.  Lakshmi, Reshma and Raghu are in fact close buddies.

“Hey!” Raghu waved his hand like a politician, as he made his grand entrance.
“Hello people!” Reshma followed him, with a big smile.
“Hello Dude! What’s up? You look so happy today.” Lakshmi asked Reshma.
“Nothing!” blushed Reshma.
“Don’t let her go that easily. Ask her exactly why she is happy.” Raghu intervened.
“Yes Girlfriend! I will” Lakshmi said looking at Raghu.
” What? Girlfriend? Are you kidding me? That’s not funny”. Raghu was obviously offended.

Already confused Susheela, who was watching this exchange, almost fainted!
Throughout the day Lakshmi swapped “Sir” with “Ma’am”, “Dude” with “Girlfriend”,”Him” with “Her”. By the afternoon, everyone got tired of this and surrounded Lakshmi, in an attempt to clear their confusion.

“What’s the big deal?” smiled Lakshmi. “I started transitioning six months ago. You guys are my close friends and are very supportive. I really appreciate that, but in the last six months, I have told you all a million times that I am a woman and not a man. I am not Lakshmi Narayan anymore, I am Lakshmi. But you still keep referring to me as “Dude,” “He,” “Sir,” “Him” etc..If I correct you, you ask me, what’s the big deal!  If it is not a big deal to use incorrect pronouns, and refer to a man as a woman and vice-versa, why is it bothering you all today? Hmm?”

The crowd was stunned.

“What’s the big deal, Susheela Sir?” Lakshmi lifted her eyebrows and looked at Susheela.
Next day. Lakshmi got in and walked to her desk.
“Good morning Laksmi ma’am!” smiled Paramasivam “Sir”.

Read Tamil Version of the Story at Orinam.net here.

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South Indian, Sambar lover,Subramanya Bharathi fan, Rebel, Bleeding heart liberal, Writer, Dreamer, Die-hard romantic and Queer. Twitter: @shrisadasivan

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