ஒரு ஆணுக்கு மாதவிடாய் வருமா? விஞ்ஞானரீதியாக வாய்ப்பில்லை. பெண்களுக்கு மட்டுமே வரும் ஒன்றை ஏன் ஆங்கிலத்தில் ‘menstruation’ என்று சொல்கிறார்கள் என்று தெரியவில்லை. Womensturation என்றுதானே சொல்லியிருக்கவேண்டும்?! இருக்கட்டும். ஆங்கிலமே இப்படித்தான்.
ஆனால் மானிட கற்பனைக்கு எல்லைகள் இல்லை. ஒரு பெண்ணின் பிரச்சனைகளை ஒரு ஆண் சரியாகப் புரிந்துகொள்ளவேண்டுமானால் அவனுக்கும் அவளுக்கு ஏற்படும் அதே அனுபவங்கள் ஏற்பட்டாகவேண்டும். அப்போதுதான் பெண்ணின் மனநிலை ஆணுக்குப் புரியும். சமீபத்தில் ஈரானில் ஒரு பெண்ணை, தன்னைக் கற்பழிக்க வந்த ஒரு ஆண் பிசாசைக் கொன்றார் என்று சொல்லி, அதற்காக தூக்கிலிட்ட காட்டுமிராண்டி வரலாறு உலகறியும். மதங்களெல்லாம் ஒருபுறம் இருக்கட்டும். மனம் என்ன சொல்கிறது? அந்த பெண்ணுக்காக அழுகிறது. அதுதான் இயற்கை. இந்த கதைகூட ஒருவகையில் பெண்ணுக்காக சிந்தப்பட்ட ஒரு ஆணின் கண்ணீர்தான். பெண்களின் அன்றாடப் பிரச்சனைகளில் ஒன்றை எடுத்து வைத்துக்கொண்டு அதே பிரச்சனை ஒரு ஆணுக்கு வந்தால் என்னாகும் என்ற கற்பனையில் எழுதப்பட்டது. முதன் முதலாக ஆங்கிலத்தில் வெளியாகும் என் சிறுகதையும் இதுதான். Muse India 2 என்பது ஒரு ஆங்கில இலக்கிய ஆராய்ச்சி இதழ். இரண்டு மாதங்களுக்கு ஒரு முறை வெளிவருவது. அதில் என் கதை தேர்ந்தெடுக்கப்பட்டு பிரசுரிக்கப்பட்டதில் எனக்கும் சந்தோஷமே. கதையில் முடிவில் திரு ஆத்ரேயா ஷர்மா எனக்கெழுதிய கதை பற்றிய குறிப்பையும் சேர்த்துள்ளேன். படித்துவிட்டு எனக்கு எழுதுங்கள். மேற்கொண்டு எழுதவோ அல்லது எழுதுவதை நிறுத்தவோ எனக்கு அது உதவும்.
Three days have passed in a kind of isolation or ‘house-arrest’ for Sivanesan since the onset of that bloody episode.
The thought of what happened on the first day was still in his mind, moist and sticky. He was preparing to go to office. It happened exactly when he tried to lift his lungi and insert his right leg into the right leg hollow of his trousers taken from the hanger on which the trousers were thrown the previous day.
A sudden thunder in the abdomen.
He could not understand anything at that moment. He did not even know that the paining area was his abdomen. He thought that there was some sudden pain in the right side of his waist.
He sat down immediately with the unconscious cry, “Amma”. What has happened to me? Appendicitis? Could it have burst inside? He couldn’t understand anything. But he felt that something has burst out from inside. He had never had such a severe pain in his life before. It felt like the discomfort of an alien planet.
He pressed his stomach with his hands and sat down on the floor with the half inserted leg into his trousers.
His cry, the “amma”, was so new and deafening that his wife Parvathi sensed intuitively that something serious has happened to someone and came running from the kitchen towards the direction of that strange noise.
“What is this? Tell me, what has happened to you? Why are you shouting like this?” She asked him with confusion and affection. She had never seen him sit like that on the floor. She was a little shocked too.
“You stupid sucker, don’t irritate me”. He answered her in his usual way, all the while holding his abdomen. And that attracted her attention.
She noticed that there were blood stains all over the abdominal region of his lungi, especially above ‘that’ spot.
“Oh my dear, what is this?” She turned his attention to that spot with the question. Has he contracted some deadly disease?
“Did you get hurt somewhere?”
He looked at that spot only then. He also could not understand head or tail of it.
“You blighter, I don’t know what it is. Please don’t bother me with silly questions. Nothing of that sort happened. Just see what is this”.
She took him to the bathroom and probed into the suspected areas of his body.
Yes, it was that. Beyond doubt!
There were white patches and dregs with blood clots. The doubt was confirmed now. But both of them could not understand or even believe the mystery of its occurrence. Shock and silence could be seen settling down on their faces and eyes. Sivanesan perspired profusely. Oh my God, is it gender transformation? Something like impersonation? Without going to Mumbai, without having any injection or operation! What is this? Is it really true? He had his own doubts. He simply could not believe that such a thing has happened to him. We should ask only Paramahamsa who is said to have menstruated when he tried to live like women! But even he is no more! Nothing remained but confusion, irritation and profusion of blood.
Parvathi kept the room door closed so that the children did not see their father. But the kids were also surprised why daddy did not go to office. They could not understand the secret behind the father’s ‘sitting’ at home.
“Shall I apply [for] medical leave for you?”, asked Parvathi in a whisper.
“Tell Santhanam to apply on my behalf for some bloody leave”. ”
She gave him a soft cotton cloth to press against the bloody spot. Grandmother’s age-old treatment. He also obeyed her instructions when she went to call his friend, without knowing what else to do. But he felt shy and a little abashed. What the hell is this? How can one work normally with this? He could not understand anything.
Parvathi returned and covered the moist and bloodstained spot properly with the cloth.
He felt very tired. And his legs started aching. It was as though somebody has beaten him black and blue all over. Unconsciously he started massaging his legs. He remembered Parvathi at that moment. She also used to massage herself, as he did, during her period times, all the five or seven days.
“You devil, always massaging? Is it something happening only for you? Do not all the women of the world get it? Do they also waste time like you? Go and get me a cup of coffee”.
To such rebukes, Parvathi has never reacted but always kept silent and obedient.
Suddenly, there was thunder again.
He pressed his stomach region with the cry, “Amma” again and rolled in his bed. No, the pain was unbearable. When Parvathi entered the room again, he was still turning in his bed out of pain. But she had brought some pills and capsules with foreknowledge, expecting this.
“Oh Amma, it is paining”, he cried. The pain was intermittent.
“Please take this. You will be relieved from the pain after some time”. She said and administered the capsule to him like an experienced gynecologist with some water from a tumbler.
He simply accepted it without answering her. It was the same spasmo proxyvon capsule prescribed by Dr.Vasantha for her when she suffered from unbearable pain during periods. Red capsule. Should the capsule also be in red? But without telling her anything, he simply swallowed it. It was the same capsule which, despite Parvathi’s repeated requests and reminders, he always forgot to buy for her during her periods.
He could not go to office the next day also. The pain had increased. And the bleeding too. To add to it, the pain which lasted for a few minutes before, now asserted its existence by extending its presence for a few hours. He feared that in a week or so, he was going to become Parvathi and she to Sivanesan. A kind of surprise and expectation also began to grow in him.
On the third day, he became a little accustomed to it. And that capsule did seem to work. The pain seemed to have subsided a little. On the fifth day, the bleeding had become less intense. The thunder has also stopped and it became a drizzle now.
When nobody saw, he lifted his lungi and looked into the spot often. But for the abdominal thunder and drizzle, all seemed right and normal, as usual. Only ‘that’ was new to him. His surprise increased. Come what may, he was prepared to see and accept it now!
For both the husband and the wife, only one question remained. Will this continue? If it does, they could not even imagine its consequences. How to solve it? Should we ‘show it’ to a doctor? And then? TV channels, dailies and weeklies will have photos and articles about him. He may become the cover page hero or heroine of famous magazines like India Today! And they may give it a caption like, “The Gender Wonder: She-Male”. What will happen after that? How to go to office? Leave alone the office. How to go out? How to face the children daily? How to meet friends and relatives?
To all such questions, the answer was only one. One cannot continue one’s life in this condition. What to do if the bloody situation and the drizzle continue even after a week, or if it repeats itself next month also? He racked his brain with this question but could not come to any answer or conclusion. There was only one solution: commit suicide.
“What the hell is this?” Sivanesan loathed himself. The ‘hell’, the ‘sucker’ and such similar terms were born with him. They were his dear devils. And they never leave him.
But the eighth day erased all such questions and doubts. The drizzle stopped completely. The field was cooled.
After taking bath, Sivanesan saw himself in the mirror as if investigating himself. He felt that once again he has become a man, spotless. There was no sign of those ‘seven days’. He felt very happy. At the same time, he was a little afraid also. But he started to his office, as usual with the attitude of ‘come, what may’. But the days that followed showed that his fear was baseless.
He noticed Parvathi when she gave him a cup of coffee.
“Para, are you not well dear?”
Parvathi’s brows went up in amazement. Para! It had been years since he called her ‘Para’ along with ‘dear’! Those were the words of their honey-moon days! Again the same care and affection! With the same tone of love!
“What Para, you are not answering me”.
“Yes, only today…”, she could not continue and complete her sentence out of her happiness.
“Take rest dear, don’t strain yourself in the kitchen and don’t cook anything today. When I come back from the office, I shall buy you Spasmo Proxyvon”.
He caressed her cheeks romantically and left for office.
Dear ‘Nagore Rumi’,
Your story has been selected and will appear in the Nov-Dec issue. Though the issue is to release on the 1st Nov, there could be a delay by a few days.
I was wowed by your story, for its unexpected turns and twists. With a stroke of creativity, you’ve shown how when man fails, Nature has her way of forcing him into empathising.
Taking the editorial liberty, I effected a few minor “corrections” which I hope you would find seamless. In case you have reservation over any change, please let me know.
Thanks & regards.
AtreyaSarma Uppaluri / Poet, Freelance Editor-Writer-Translator
- Editor (Fiction & Reviews) / Muse India the literary ejournal
http://museindia.com/team.asp / 2. Official Critic, Metverse Muse
3. Vice President, Social Cause-AP / (Regd. No.614/2003)