I have a great passion for writing fiction, articles especially writing for children.
In a café with my friend!
It so happened that one of my dearest colleagues, Lajo, and I caught up at a café for an ardent discussion after quite some time of our work-from-home fatigue. It was a casual meet-up and we were chilling on with a cappuccino. Among the heated up talks we had, the one that left me knocked for six is about a crossdresser or more rightly known to grandpa in women’s clothes, from Australia whom he met at the Mangalore Airport. That was truly a weird conversation that he himself had with the person. The old dude happened to be heading to Udupi, then to Gokarna and to Goa to find himself. It was really interesting.
My colleague and dear friend who is recalling the incident with me over the table narrated the incident with an expression of still not believing he met that person. He went like this: I was reading a Robin Sharma book in an airport and a strange-looking person stared at me for a while. Though I saw him staring at me I tried to ignore him pretending to be immersed in my book. After taking a moment of time the stranger recognized the cover of the book I was reading and came towards me. Robin Sharma was his favorite author. He said, “Hi, Looks like it’s going to be tiring and a boring journey. You grabbed my attention with that book”.
I probed, “What was he like?” He responded, “This guy was wearing a women’s summer dress. Him coming closer startled me. However, I tried to be calm and normal. He was a grown-ass guy...old dude and he was wearing a dress. I was friendly with him but he soon realized I was just being polite by not asking him about his attire. That's when he told me about how his British parents raised him like a normal kid who grew up like all the other boys of the countryside, fell in love with his high school sweetheart, and got married ... Got kids.”
I retorted, “Uhh what? He has kids!!
He nodded and went on, “He got a job as a farmer in his hometown, traveled the world a bit, and settled in Australia to follow farming.”
I was so immersed in the conversation that I slipped the handle of my cup to a slight tilt and held it upright in a chunk of a moment. Quickly I grabbed a tissue, wiped my finger, and held my cup with both hands to press on with the chat.
Lajo continued the conversation arousing my snooping, “This guy was telling me how even after all the adventures and travel still he felt empty and bitter. He felt as though something was mislaid.
He thought he was gay or bisexual so he experimented with guys to see if that was it. That wasn't it.
Then he tried different hobbies. He tried staying away from his family. By then he had grandkids and still felt empty or inclined towards something he didn't know.”
I looked at him with awe when he said the man got grandkids while he was still discovering himself even until becoming a grandpa. I retorted in high esteem, “It was quite an out-of-the-ordinary moment that you seemed to have had with the old dude.” After a moment of silence, he smiled and said “This man, named William finally figured out, it was crossdressing. That's what he wanted to do...dress in women's clothes.” I nodded and raised my eyebrows with a naïve smile”.
Lajo went on, “He felt inclined towards it but always thought it was taboo. His wife found him wearing her undergarments and trying on makeup someday and he got liberated from the family
This man who almost had everything....world knowledge, money, family, children, grandchildren, friends, society, who is alone at the moment, lost everything but yet was so cheerfully talking to me and so lively with a white aura around him. The man’s ability to fill the emptiness no matter at what age or period of time with an ‘I don’t give a damn attitude’ is hilarious.”
I replied, “He is truly bizarre and out of the world, undoubtedly. Did he tell you more about his expedition?”
My friend blazed with a smile and took a sip of the cappuccino and said, “The old man stated he was on his voyage in exploring India for some time. So, then I told him he's going to get himself killed dressed like that. He lit his face with a gullible smile and parted ways with me.”
I was awestruck and deep inside me there was a pinch in my heart. I said, “This is so incredible, Lajju.
He snapped, “This man was so peculiar Shams. He is out of the world” So I countered, “For an individual to fulfill his emptiness, he/she has to be out of the world and I chuckled”. And then, he laughed his heart out with me with the outright agreement. Then he responded, “He was so cheeky, he was more than my dad’s age and was calling me brother telling me his life story. And so brave to just face the world by not covering up his feelings and emotions. And he was quite spiritual...”
And I said, “I’m sure there are plenty in our country too of similar kind but then they are narrowed down by the conservative ideas and thoughts suppressed on them. I feel so enlightened to hear this story but at the same time feel clouded by the fact that how we are murky fallen prey to the conservative society which has manipulated and clogged our emotions to think without margins and boundaries.”
Lajo replied, “So true, Shams! Of course, we have been. It's a terrible mix of cultures...we live through Indian traditions while being influenced by Western cultures”. I said, only those who break these chains can find fullness in their lives”. Then, he said, “But Shams...it comes at a cost.”
I said, “I agree, it comes with a price tag. We might even have to be abandoned by our families.”
He then, “Yes, Shams absolutely no doubt! In order to find ourselves will have to forget the world around us. So that was an experience. Grandpa in a summer dress! I sort of learned from him that we need to experiment with everyone and everything with our spiritual eyes opened. “
Then, after an hour of chilling, we parted ways and I went back home by recalling our conversation. How brave and adamant that man was to find his purpose even after aging so much. I always had anxiety in me that I’m aging faster and I’m nowhere to be seen with a purpose. But after that day a storm of emotions swept across from my heart flushing out the haunted feelings in me. I’m all set to go the extra mile so as to progress the search for the purpose I’m born to excel at and fulfill the emptiness that is leading to bitterness.
As my friend said it comes at a cost. I’d rather pay for it once and for all than suffering a grudging and resentful life all my life. When we do not know why we are sailing on the sea and how we are to sail, aren’t we likely to get drowned? Can we be sure we won’t be hit by storms and giant waves? If at all we get drowned, are we sure there is a lifeboat to save us? If there is no lifeboat, at least do we know how to swim and get to the shores?
Life is a jigsaw puzzle. You can’t find the solution however you want. As rightly put forth by an American Author, Deepak Chopra,” “There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle”. Wow!! Solve your puzzle by filling the emptiness. No matter what, it’s always the small pieces that make the big picture.