October 1, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Essay: My encounter with completeness By Harshada Shankar Budhe

2 min read

Harshada Shankar Budhe shares an eye-opening experience that changes the way she looks at life and everything around including herself.

“Next station Dadar”. The announcement jolted me out of my reverie. I looked out of the train window to see the crowd at Mumbai’s busiest local train station. The mob swarmed the train in those 30 seconds like a swarm of bees. While watching the mob squabble, my gaze was drawn to a pair of lovely aqua-colored polished fingertips gripping the side rod of a seat. I raised my eyes to see who it was. Our gazes met, she smiled at me, and I returned the smile; she was a trans lady. She approached me. To bless me, she clapped her hands and placed her palms on my head. “Sister, God has made you complete,” she added and signalled me to give her money. This wasn’t the first time I’d encountered trans individuals on local trains. But that was the first time I had ever heard the word “complete.” I had a flashback. Like Harry and Ron in Harry Potter, I re-entered this wonderful realm through the 9 3/4 gate. I was waiting for a slow local train to CST  at Bandra station a few years ago.

The train was already running late. I was desperate to board the local at this point. I checked the arrival time of the local train on the display board once more. Meanwhile, a little drizzle had faded in the background, and I noticed a silhouette coming towards me. 5 feet 7 inches, long shiny silky hair, an orange-color skirt all woven together in grace. She was full of happiness. Her demeanour exuded confidence, and she walked with majesty and radiance. She had a goddess-like quality to her that made me feel like I was witnessing a divinity. She approached me and took a position next to me, waiting for the train to arrive. Her demeanour and aura made me ponder why, despite having a fantastic life, I am not as happy as she is. What does it take to be me without a care in the world? My destination arrived and I came out of this magical world in a few minutes. 

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