Say it with Pride and Love
18th of August 2019 was a landmark day in my life when it just got upended. That was the day when I, along with my two daughters, met Laxmi Narayan Tripathi aka ‘Lakshmi Ma’. Till this day, I have not come across a person more powerful and more confident in her skin. I was at my friend's place where she was also supposed to join straight from the airport. The moment she stepped inside, it hummed in my heart, ‘Here cometh a force of nature.’ WHAT AN AURA ! Grand !, and Great! The room housed five people, but it echoed with the sound of only one.
Her powerful voice pervaded the room and held everyone mesmerized. It was my maiden encounter with a personality of her ilk. My curiosity to know about her, from her, was killing me. I guess my face exposed that feeling and she began to narrate her story. Early in life, she realized that her predictions were different. But what helped her to build a strong edifice of her life were her parents. Her mother played a pivotal role in as much as she [mother] stood like a rock for Laxmi. Her father in an interview to BBC was asked as to how he came to terms with his son's gender identity His riposte silenced the self-proclaimed moralists of the society. He had said, ‘if my child was handicapped would you even ask me whether I would have asked him to leave home? And just because his gender identity is different?’ Not the one to feel any less for what her life choices were, she bolstered her career with a degree from Mithibai college, Mumbai, and a postgraduate degree in Bharatanatyam. Crusading against the evils of society came naturally to her. Taking pride in who she is as she is, she had filed a petition demanding equal rights for the other gender. The famous case of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and others vs UOI, where Lakshmi Ma was also a petitioner, the Apex Court legally recognized the identity of transgender.
Back to 18th August 2019: effervescing like vintage wine, she regaled us with some anecdotes from her UN visit in 2008. Having a mention of a female, a transgender and eunuch on her passport was the culmination of another eventful meeting of hers with the government officials. She narrated the same in her quintessential style, packaged in the most hilarious manner and peppered with piquant details. This rendezvous with her remains a milestone in my life, putting an extra layer of respect for her. Every minute spent with Lakshmi Ma is etched vividly in my mind. What also happened that day was a surprise rewiring of my brain. I learnt potent lessons in parenting. How many of us remember our parents as ‘always there’ for us? How many of us are ‘always there’ for our children? The answers sure will make us ruminate.
Let us all expand our mindspace and our heartspace to create enough room to fill it with pride and love for all human beings irrespective of whom they choose to love.
LLB 3 year course 6th Sem