Sunday, June 25, 2006

from the fringes of society . . .

"Where do you live?"

"In the fringes of society."

"Never heard of it. Where is that?"

"Oh, that's just about everywhere. I've been all around this place."

"Well then, how is it that I've never seen you?"

"We only see what we want to see."

"If that is so, I should've chanced upon you quite a few times. I wouldn't have minded meeting you, really."

"Thats correct but thats not how you would've seen me,you know. You never would've wanted to run into a transvestite."

"You mean one who cross-dresses?"

"Well yes, that, and a lot other things."

"Like what?"

"Like one with a pair of tits to go alongwith a dick."

"What! You can't be serious!"

"I can't be kidding. You see, my silicon has somewhat dropped off and I haven't put my lipstick and mascara on. I can't blame you for not noticing it."

"It's a bit difficult to digest, frankly. Still, how have you been doing?"

"I've been busy, for sure. And I've been doing a lot many things. At first, after my operation, I tried regular jobs but then I just wasn't a sight for sore eyes, you know. I tried waitressing but the patrons didn't like the food, I was a salesman but the customers didn't want the goods. I wanted to teach but the kids just wouldn't stop staring at me."

"And then?"

"So I became what they wanted me to be."

"What? A preacher? A nun?"

"Hell, no. I became a lover, kindof."

"You fell in love? With who?"

"With whoever wanted it. With husbands tired of the smell of their wives, with old men and women who had forgotten what it used to feel like when they were young, with teenagers who wanted a forbidden sip, with people afraid of commitment and with those too committed to be free."

"You call this love?"

"Why not? In fact, my love is unconditional. Well, almost. I give away myself and all I ask in return is a little dough. Which is, I'm sure you'll admit, much lesser a price to pay than attention or love.

My clients tell me their untold secrets, and I help take loads off their weary chests. When with me, they keep aside their responsibilities and worries which have been like, what, millstones? They become who they really are, and sometimes they surprise themselves by how much they open up to a stranger."

"You mean satisfying the whims of debauched men and women is unconditional love?"

"If you choose to call them so. Some live out their fantasies with me but most are just regular folk with their jumbled-up lives. You can club them together in a clan but you'll be astounded by the variety you'll end up with."

"And you claim to put their pieces together?"

"I claim nothing.

I drive a streecar named desire and my passengers just hop along the way. During the journey I'm a lover, a whore, a friend, a confidant(e) or whoever they want me to be. They enjoy the ride and get down happy."

"Haven't you ever been, like, kind of roughed up?"

"Not just kindof. Every once in a while I get those macho, sadist types who have to see blood to feel a throb. But over the years I've learned how to handle such scum. I call it an occupational hazard.

You know, once I had got my nose done and it had cost me a fortune and then I had got thumped the next day. I let it stay that way and came to be known as 'the crooked one' since then. It has increased my clientele - this name, you know. Funny how you much you sweat making yourself look perfect and then you're wanted all the more because of an imperfection."

"What about your social life? Friends?"

"My whole life is social, really. Actually its the underbelly of social.

I've made a lot of associations at my job. Friends I can call them although they don't recognise me on the streets. They've shared their most personal moments with me and they know it.

But I do have friends. You know, mostly people like me, making a living on the streets. And our friendship is that much stronger because we've nothing to hide, really."

"So how long will you go on like this? What do you want to do next?"

"My body can't keep up with the demands of the job. These days I just bank on my old clients. And I don't want another surgery, for sure. So, very soon I've to hang up my boots, er, my stilettos, rather.

And I'll just live off my hard-earned money. Write, maybe. You see I don't need what they call 'expansion of imagination'.

People's imagination has been my reality, pretty much."

P.S: Overheard conversation between a transvestite and a bystander somewhere on the streets. The bystander starts the conversation and then it follows in sequence.


shantanu said...

awesome dude..those comments abt street car named desire..were from the movie ?? neway i started writing..or rather wrote today..hope i'll be able to continue..although on total arbit current mood ...seems so far removed from the one i had while writing..

satyajit said...

ya i knew abt the movie to be able to put it although its just used as a metaphor here and the lines arent from the movie... somehow i felt it fitted like a glove to what i wanted to say

emeraldpond said...

Yet another brilliant piece. From my point of view, you have achieved two goals through the article. One- a fresh,or rather alternative insight on the lives of the residents of Darkness. And two- ably capturing the flow of the conversation. Its almost theatrical, but brutally true. Impressive.