“Abbe saale kutte do it properly, nahi to kaat ke haath me de doonga”. “Chal yahan se baag saale ullu ka ….”. Such are the voices that you hear from the Mardana village in Uttar Pradesh where one can find only men. Strange enough, there are no women in the village. A few years back, all the women went to the women’s fair in the village and all of them got burnt and charred except one girl child who was left behind by the mother on stairs of the temple.
She is a grown up young and beautiful girl today. Her name is Gulab. She was adopted by the eunuch named Santram. After that incident, no more girls were born because there were no women in the village to give birth and to get married to. Every man had an option of getting married again, but none of them wanted to hurt the souls of their dead wives. They had a superstition that the souls of dead women are roaming around and would kill them if they try to marry again. The belief was triggered when a man tried to get married and died due to the fire lit by the humble earthen lamp in front of her dead wives photograph.
She was the darling of the village and brought up like a boy so that no one ever places a bad eye on her due to lack of women in the village. She was a protected child, only the village priest and the eunuch knew that she was a girl, everyone else had an impression that Gulab is a gay boy because of his lady like body language. Her guardian is careful enough not to let do any girly things like growing up long hair, threading, using kaajal and other cosmetics. Because, she fears that once anyone knows that there is a woman in the house they will rape her or sell her for money.
As Gulab was growing up, her beauty and womanhood was becoming more and more obvious. It became very difficult for the Eunuch to hide it from the villagers; hence she decided to send her to the city for higher studies.
On a foggy morning, when the dawn is about to break out, eunuch stands near the road with a small hand bag and holding a fragile wrist in another hand. She kisses her forehead and blesses her with eyes full of tears and hands over the bag in her sleek girly hands. She steps into the bus which moves away friskily. Gulab was all charged up for her City journey where she would be spending her most of the formative years of adulthood. She sleeps with the handbag on her lap and is woken up by the bus conductor when she reaches the city of dreams and the capital of India – Delhi.
Delhi was a big city with so many people, and who they are...wearing something different than a pant, She has never seen them in the village. She has only seen women on TV and in the films. All this while when she is wandering around the bus stop, a finely dressed lady calls her name in a very polite voice, “Gulab…are you Santrams daughter?” And she said in a very coarse and rough manner,”Yes, I am, maa told me a woman will come to take me to the hostel, are you a woman”?
The woman replies with a little disturbed voice, “Yes, I am a woman, can’t you see…and by the way my name is Sarita Ben”.
Gulab was in awe of Sarita Ben when she noticed her from tip to toe. She was wearing a yellow Gorgette saree, with a long braid dancing along with her hips, her hands were so delicate and beautiful looking with red nail paint, and she was wearing earrings that dazzled like diamonds when they shone in the Sun Shine.
Gulab was watching her very carefully and liked her so much that she stared asking her wearied questions that no one ever answered her before in the village. She comes closer to Sarita Ben and asks her, “Are all Women dressed up like you, how do you look like a woman, I know I am a woman, but I do not look like it at all