I still remember the very 1st time I saw someone from the 3rd gender.. it was in the local train in Mumbai, they were a group of 4 and the train was not too crowded. They started walking around, chanting in hindi about how they bless us and we need to give them money. I wasnt very familiar and I guess that is where the fear stemmed from. I hesitantly pulled out a Rs10 from my wallet upon seeing the lady across from me do the same and handed it over to one of them in the group.
A few days later, while in a cab at a traffic junction, one of them put his/her hand through the window and demanded I give them money… I parted with a Rs50 since I dint have any other lower change. The taxi driver mumbled about how they do no work, but make easy money like this.
And then, cut to Chennai, I was getting out of a client’s office walking down the road [ around 3pm] near Valluvar Kottam when 2 of them sitting on the side walk stood up and came over appealing for some money. I commented that I was just coming out of a class and dint have any money on me. They said, no worries, give whatever you have… And then asked me about what I was doing and if I was from Chennai or elsewhere.. We actually had a 2 min convo, I parted with Rs50 and carried on…
I ignored them, rather did not bother too much. But over the past few years, have noticed the numbers increasing and they have begun harrasing people for money. A friend of mine [who is into events] was getting back home late one evening when a group of transgenders literally surrounded her car and wouldnt let go till she parted with all the money in her wallet, nearly Rs2500.. Another friend was getting back to her car after some shopping at pazhamudir in Anna nagar was halted, and let to proceed after they took Rs1000 from her wallet.. She called me and was in shock about what had just happened.
And these are not the only incidents.. These men/women have begun to physically abuse people, they start lifting up their clothes, showing off their body, talking about needing money for a sex change operation or start feeling up their victims!! I know they are also human beings, but such acts make us wish they would go away.. or be given a separate area where they can work and get on with their lives..
Last year, when I moved to T-Nagar I was in for a surprise. Giri Road was filled with hookers and transvestites who dress up and block a section of the road from 8pm onwards… You will see them emerge out of the darkness once a bike or car pulls into the street. Infact, one evening while walking back home I chit chatted with one of them. It was a guy, who worked in a call center and who dressed up in fine saree and make up with hairdo every night and took on a few customers. He made anywhere between 10-20k and most of his clients were men he said!! Woah………………..
Within a few weeks, I noticed the road had cleared up and they had all gone missing. Well, wishful thinking- they cropped up soon after near my home.. Both on the same side as my apartment and across the road as well. The roads are well lit but the stretch between my apartment and Residency hotel, it is fairly dark and hidden away under the flyover.
Anyways, about a week ago, I was out with friends and we were heading to Residency for dinner when suddenly I spotted not one or two but nearly 10 of them literally blocking the road and stopping the cars passing by. Told my friend to take the flyover and we did a small roundabout to get back to Residency. Friend insisted on dropping me back home after dinner.
Last night, again I walk home from Residency and one of them walks up to me, full shaking her hips and boobs asking for money.. Luckily I had nothing in my hands and managed to escape…
Again, I do know they are human beings, but why do they accost? Who gave them the right to harass people and loot money? Why cant companies/coffee shops/restaurants start hiring them, giving them training and helping them earn steady incomes? The one thing I did love is the Seatbelt crew and the video they came up with encouraging people to wear seat belts…