Photo credit- distinctdestinations.in
Saimon Wallace was getting his things packed for Kathmandu. He was originally from Melbourne, Australia and was the owner of a publication house. Round the year, he got busy working with the publication of different books, covering a wide range of genres. His publication house was considered to be a reputed one in Melbourne and that was the very reason for his clockwork schedule throughout the year. He had also published two books, which had hit the market. To be forthright, he was an emerging author as well.Hence,his fame was spread both as a publisher as well as writer. He had set up a very interesting routine, which he executed annually for a month. He used to take break from his hectic schedule and visit the places of his choice. This was particularly done because he wanted to enrich his writing capacity through the exploration of new places, people and their lifestyle. He had a strange habit of noting down anything that he found worth to be portrayed for his writing, either that was while walking, travelling or in course of doing any kind of work.
“And here, I’m done with the packing.”He locked his luggage as he said this. “But I think something has been forgotten.”
He looked around. After picking up and throwing things lying on his bed,the most sought thing was found.
“Here it is.”
It was a self-help book and kept it nearby his luggage so that it wouldn’t be forgotten. Books were important part of his life. When it came to making a long journey, he loved being immersed into the world of books as that had a different joy.
“How long are you going to stay there, Saimon?” asked his mom.
“As usual, for a month.”
“And what souvenir will you bring me?’ asked his sister, Elisha.
“I’ll bring you typical Nepali handicrafts and other gifts.”
Her face lit up on hearing this.
“Son, I can’t bear keeping you away from my sight since your dad passed away two years back. His memory always haunts me. Above that, when you’re also going,it makes me feel as if my life is a torturous package. The relief can be got only with your arrival.”
“Don’t worry, mom.I’ll be back with renewed vigorousness and an enriched brain, but the person will be the same.”
There was a headphone nearby and he kept it, too.The next day, the flight took off at 8 in the evening and that was scheduled to be transited through Thailand, Singapore and then to Nepal. In those transit points as well as plane, people were desperate searching for wifi signals while he was busy reading that book and listening to the podcasts of motivational speakers that were in his mobile. Nearly after eighteen hours of air travel, he landed in Kathmandu, the land of Mount Everest and Gautama Buddha. He went to a hotel directly, which was had been booked with the help of his Nepali friend, Suman Chhetri.In fact, Suman was there to receive and welcome him as well.Suman used to stay in a hostel in Kathmandu and was an employee in a travel agency. He didn’t have home there because of which Saimon was kept in a hotel. On Saimon’s arrival, Suman also stayed at the very hotel on the request of Saimon.
“Suman, what’s in your package for my entertainment and pleasant stay?”
“What’s the joy if everything is disclosed now? Have patience, buddy.I’ve fully managed everything for you.”
“I want to enjoy the night life of Kathmandu. It’s not that I’m a rookie in this matter, but I’m already acquainted with the night life of my country. I’ve heard a lot about Thamel and its night life. Take me to that place of celestial elegance and let me observe everything firsthand.”
Saimon’s request was a normal one as a foreigner’s stay in Kathmandu is useless if Thamel’s night life isn’t enjoyed. The very next day, Saimon was taken to visit different places in Kathmandu and even Thamel at the day time. Saimon had no idea that the Thamel at night would be completely different than the one at the day time. The sun covered itself behind the veil of the mountains and darkness overwhelmed Kathmandu valley. At about 10 at night, both of them came out to shower themselves in Thamel’s night life. As Thamel area started, people of different ages and gender could be seen on the street. The appearance of a foreigner at night gave those people searching for customers, a different joy. There were third genders too and the street seemed to be covered by them mostly.
“They look like boys, but they’re clad in a girl’s dress. Are they the same that I’m thinking them to be?” Saimon inquired.
“What have you thought them to be?”
“Third genders, to be straight forward.”
“You’ve nailed it.”
“That’s perfect! Time to cash my opportunity!”
“What? Are you going to enjoy with one of them tonight?”
“Be aware. They’ll rob you off everything. Give your belongings to me and go if you want.”
Since he was a novice in that area, he was scared to hear it and did as told by Suman.There was a tall and slim person, standing just a few steps ahead and Saimon moved forward.
“Are you willing to go with me?” he asked.
That person, a third gender, was expecting for a customer and the inquiry of a foreigner, knocking at the door, was more than a delightful matter.Though the person was a boy,the appearance was that of a girl.
“Yeah.I’ve my room a few distance away. Let’s go there.”
The three of them walked together. As the destination approached, Suman was to wait outside while the rest two of them entered the room. Saimon noticed that the room had very minimal possessions.There were only two low beds ,a closet and carpets on the floor.It was a spacious room.Most probably, it was rented only for the purpose of bringing clients, as reflected by its set up.The door was closed and that person began to have chitchats. She was in a mood to finish the work as soon as possible. She approached her closet and unlocked it.She took out something and increased the proximity with him.Right then Saimon said,
"It's a precaution.You must use it."
"But I don't need any such precaution."
"Why?Have you brought it already?"
She frowned at him as she said this, for she thought that he was a stubborn customer, like others, who insisted on not using the precaution.
“I’m here not for the purpose you’ve thought.”
Hearing this made her feel awkward and then she moved a bit away.
“Hello, Mr. Foreigner. What do you want, then? A party or a picnic? "
“I want to know your story.”
“Why the hell do you want to know my story? Are you going to write my biography?”
“Just like that.”
With this reply, the room was covered in utter wilderness. That was the most awkward situation she had ever faced.Pari was dwindled on hearing the strangest request ever as whoever she had met till now, every one of them did nothing, except quenching the physical desire. She didn’t know what to say and almost an hour passed this way.
“By the way, what’s your name?” Saimon broke the silence.
“You can call me Pari.It means ‘Fairy’ in Nepali.”
Really she was a fairy. One could hardly be revealed the truth about her gender unless and until it was told by herself. He felt that she was being uncomfortable.
Then after, he used Pari’s mobile to call Suman as his mobile was with Suman only.
“I’ll be back tomorrow. I’ve got your number and will give you a ring.”
Pari didn’t heed to what he said since she was assured that it was never going to happen. The most obvious reason why she didn’t heed was why someone would be interested in knowing the story of a person like her. Suman arrived and then they departed after giving the payment toPari.She hesitated to take it, but took it finally when requested by them and then they departed from there. The image of that strange customer, with strange request, got embossed in her memory. Saimon was doing this because he wanted to write something about the life of such people like Pari.Though he could have done that in his own country, there was the risk that someone might recognize him and he could be defamed.
“How was the meeting?” Suman asked.
“It went good.”
Even Suman didn’t know about Saimon’s plan and he didn’t inquire anything except this as he thought Saimon had full utilization of his money. He told Suman that he wanted to go to Thamel once again and meet the same person. On hearing this, Suman teased him saying that the fire was still alive, but Saimon didn’t speak a word. The next day as the clock hit 10 at night, the duo came out on a scooter,hunting for Pari in the same place. She wasn’t found and Saimon rang her. She received the call and shared her location, but he didn’t disclose his identity on the call. They reached the place as they were instructed.
“Hi, Pari,” Saimon opened his helmet.
Pari was dumb folded to see him again as she hadn’t expected that he would come back.
“Geez! Can’t believe that you’ve come today also.Are you freaking serious, man?”
“Yes. Be seated behind me.”
Suman drove the bike and Pari sat behind Saimon. They were taken to the same room as that of the previous night.
“Saimon, I’ll wait for you outside. Give me a call after you’re done.”
“No need to go out, Suman.Stay here,” Pari said. “I’m not going to share bed with him. I’m going to share my story.Hence, nothing is there to be ashamed of.”
Suman was bamboozled on hearing this, but with the gesture resentment from Saimon as well, he decided to stay there.
“”From where do you want to know my story?”
“Go from the beginning,” Saimon replied.
Then Pari began the long, untold story.
“My hometown is Lakeside, Pokhara.I was born as Prem Gurung.Being the dweller of Pokhara,my family was engaged in tourism sector. My dad had opened a hotel, targeting tourists, as soon as he got married. My mom helped him in his works and soon they were able to extend their property as well as business. I was their second child and the first one was Namita,my sister. There was no problem in our life as everything was fulfilled by God’s grace. The problem aroused when I reached teen age. I started gaining interest in boys and loved being dolled up like a girl. Though my biological gender was male, I realised that my social gender was that of a female. It bothered my parents at the pinnacle. It dates back to the year 2010.At that time, very few people had opened up, with the cases like that of mine, but I couldn’t suppress it for a long time. Then began the real series of tragedy. I was outcast from school, friends’ circle and even my own family. Though my sister understood my situation, it was still a wolf’s cry for my parents to understand me.I completed my bachelor’s degree somehow and flew here,Kathmandu.Making ends meet in Kathmandu is like chewing iron beaten rice. I applied for jobs in many places, but got rejected everywhere because of my appearance.”
“People would stare at me as if I were an alien. Then I came in contact with an organization that welcomes people like me.I was rejuvenated to see and meet people like me as I was welcomed there. It was after a long time that the good times of my life were restored. I was engaged in some works there, but still sustenance wasn’t good enough. Then I was told about Thamel area, where people like me could earn some extra bucks, being engaged as sexual workers. It shocked me as I couldn’t believe that even third genders were accepted in the flesh market of Thamel.Initially,the feeling of hatred for myself was aroused as I couldn’t think of doing such work.However,when it comes to the matter of joining hands to mouth, specially for a newbie like me, in a city like Kathmandu, one has to see love even in a disgusting situation and work. One of my friends got me involved in it. Slowly and gradually, I got used to of it. You’ll be surprised to know that many of my customers are the high profiled people. In the darkness of night, they enjoy with me and in the daylights, they hate to see me.”
“A few years back, I stood face to face with one of my customers at a super-market. Even at the sight of my face, he started sweating and trembling.Perhaps,he was afraid that his reputation was at stake as he thought I would disclose everything. Some days later, when he met me at night, he told the same thing as I had guessed and spent the night with me.The very person, who had refused to recognize even my shadow at day lights, spilled that same reputation on the floor, at night, with me. Very rarely I get such customers who are polite and good mannered. Sometimes I hear only cuss words and I find such people terribly irritating.Hence,I get rid of them and try my best to avoid encounter with such people.None has the right to demoralize me. And now I’ve reached here.”
Pari stopped story with a long sigh and Suman and Saimon kept on looking at her.
“Is there anything you want to hear or know?”
Saimon shrugged, but then again he opened his mouth.
“Do you take this as a desire or compulsion?”
“If you call it a desire, I don’t wish to sleep with every Tom,Dick and Harry walking on the road. And if you call it a compulsion, I don’t like going with someone who doesn’t digest me.”
“If you know that the field you’re involved in, is a hell, why don’t you try doing some respectable job?”
“What do you call a respectable job? Sitting in an AC cabin, having a car, a handsome salary and a grand life style? I’ve laid down these respectable people so many times, here, in my room. People like me are curse for the society while those people are the respectable ones. Let me ask you one thing. Will you take a photo with me and upload it saying that I’m your friend?”
Saimon and Suman were zipped. The hue of the face changed and droplets of sweat appeared on the forehead.
“Here,you’re.See how you’ve sweated.Mr.Interviewer,taking practical stand isn’t as easy as barking.When it comes to practicality, everyone’s principle and morality get punctured.Now,shall I go for my next customer or will you accompany me the whole night?”
The trio stood up. Suman and Simon thanked Pari and the first one took out the payment.
“No need of payment.”
“But why?” Saimon asked in surprise.
“Because I charge people only for sharing bed, not my story. It’s once in a blue moon that I get to meet people like you.Moreover, I’ve found human beings in this world of disguised monsters after a long time. It’s my duty to take this opportunity to thank these human beings.”
That day, Saimon and Suman saw as well as learnt a different perspective of a third gender in Thamel, which rest of the world wasn’t acquainted with. Most probably, none was going to know it as it couldn’t be fore grounded with the existing beliefs and perspectives about them. They were about to leave when Pari called them.
“I think you’ve forgotten something.”
She handed him the purse and the mobile that had been left. He didn’t notice that they had fallen down from his pocket. Having got those things, Saimon thanked Pari. Then he gazed at Suman as he had told to be careful with the stuffs since he could be robbed. Suman knew the reason behind the gaze, but didn’t say a word.
“Pari, today you’ve shown me that part of life about which I had no idea. You’ve removed my misunderstanding. Thank you so much.”
“And you’ve made me feel that human beings and humanity exist not only in words, but in reality as well. My faith in human beings and humanity has been restored. Thanks man.”
Saimon hugged her and so did Suman. Then they went straight to the hotel room. It was already midnight. Saimon’s mind kept on playing the series of events of that night and in between that time, he fell asleep. In the morning, he woke up at 6 while Sumans’s eyes were still closed. He decided to go for a walk to reenergize the body. While going on the way, he saw Pari also and called her.
She recognized him instantly. They shook hands and then he offered her having a cup of tea. Though she felt odd at the moment, she accepted the request and they went to a nearby café. People were looking at them with awkwardness, but that made them no difference. Then a selfie was taken with her and uploaded, with the caption, “A refreshing cup of tea after an energising morning walk with my Nepali friend, Pari.”
Thereafter, the duo walked their own way. On reaching room, he saw that Suman was still sleeping and he woke him up.
“Saimon, you should let me sleep for a while. It’s Saturday today. By the way, how long will you be staying?”
“I think I’ll be staying two months this time. I’ve more stories in my mind. How about meeting and exploring more people and places to concretize those stories?”
“Let’s do one thing.Yesterday night, you met Pari (Fairy) and now let’s meet devil. Maybe that will be a new spice for you.”
Saying this, he covered his face with blanket once again.
“Yes, that’s a great idea.”
Saimon replied with a glow in his face.