Transport Tales: On the Bus

Group of ladies
On their way to work
Or heading out for an afternoon
Of fun, who knows?

Pay for their tickets
Get back their change
A smooth transaction
“All too familiar,” someone sniggers

Scattered through the bus
Yet unbothered by the distance
Calling out to each other
Chatting, joking,
One of them in splits of
Uncontrollable giggles

They get a few looks,
This group of friends
But seem unfazed
Perhaps accustomed to it
Merely enjoying their ride
Looking forward to the day ahead

Until someone gets on
Notices, stiffens
With a toss of her hair,
“Why is… it sitting here?”

Image result for hijras on a bus


For context: The transgender community in India, constituted by a majority of Hijras, are not well accepted by society. Although legally recognised as the third gender within the country, they generally face much discrimination and do not get jobs easily. They live in hijra communities, generally headed by a guru, and live their lives according to certain social norms or mores.

Hijras are regarded with a sense of fear by a large number of the population, which can be attributed both to societal stereotypes and biases, as well as to their form of livelihood, which for many includes begging and extortion. Yet sometimes, even when there is no fear of being asked to give them anything and they are merely coexisting peacefully, such biases and fears remain evident.

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