Queer Self-Reflections - Smiley
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I’m 30 years old. When I look back now, I haven’t had a very pleasant life.
I lost my mother at a very young age. I didn’t have a very supportive home. My father would only constantly tell me to study and pressurise me.
He was a Hitler figure. You know how little children are carefree and just play? I didn’t have any of that.
I only had to study and there was nothing beyond it, that was how I grew up. As I grew up and questions about my gender identity arose, I didn’t have anyone to share them with, about how they’d make fun of me in school and college.
It took a long time for me to accept myself as transgender. More than accept, it took me so long to realize it.
After that, a lot of things happened and I went to Poona and for a few days there I begged and took loans.
But that was possibly the first time I was actually happy. Though I had to beg there and that’s a fact, that was where I realized I could live as a woman and be independent. I didn’t have to worry about any relatives seeing me, or saying anything. I was free and I could live, so that you could say, was a very happy moment.
But I couldn’t just spend my life begging and acquiring money so I came back to my hometown Trichy, then Madurai and Chennai and travelled to a few other places.
Then I got a job. As a transgender, I had to struggle hard to get a mainstream job.
But it wasn’t a great joy to get that job because I wasn’t interested in a monthly salaried regular life.
It didn’t mean much and you can’t say it was peace.
I came to Chennai after that and worked as assistant for a film under director Mysskin.
In this generation in the cinema field, to work under director Mysskin is a big opportunity. As a transgender, in the midst of such a challenging life, to get that opportunity was a big deal.
But it didn’t satisfy me because there are many beautiful moments in life. When I worked in the bank, I spent a lot of happy moments with my colleagues but on the whole that lifestyle didn’t make me happy.
In cinema too, I learnt a lot, understood a lot and acquired experiences as well as introductions, but it wasn’t a fulfilling life.
A sort of fulfilling life is the one that I lead right now in theatre. I have acted in the productions of many theatre personalities- Sreejit, Mangai, Muruga Bhoopthi, Karuna Prasad, M. Ramaswamy.
Everytime I get on stage it is a beautiful moment. This is a pleasant life for me.
Other than that, I’ve always thought there are advantages and disadvantages to having been born as a transgender now that it was written that I had to be born in India.
If you look at my father and relatives, we are Dalit and a struggling family. But if I’d been born a biological female, they’d have gotten me married off at 18 to some fellow who could have been a scoundrel or a drunkard.
I’d have had two children then and spent my life bringing them up and not led a productive life. The only productive thing I could have done was give birth to children.
Even though I’m transgender and have to struggle in my life, I can be independent, make my own choices and choose my lifestyle. In that way, I’m happy.
But the tragedy is, because I was born in India and though I’m an Indian citizen because of this thing called gender, everybody can ridicule me and hurt me.
I feel like I’ve been born in a barbarian country and that is upsetting.
Other than that, there is no one big moment that I’d want to celebrate. The day I had my castration is an important one, every time I get on stage it is a happy one, I’ve loved and there are a few moments like that.
But my gender identity didn’t allow the fulfilling life that I looked forward to. It was an obstacle to the life that I desired, a fulfilling one, and even so far I haven’t got it.
A song that connects to my life...there are many.
In fact, in my autobiography I’d have quoted a song, which is Raja Magal.
It’s an old song, one of Devika’s. I’m very bad at singing so I don’t want to sing and ruin the song because I love it that much.
It was sung by P. Leela. When I was very young and couldn’t really realize emotions like love, I’d love to dance to that song.
Every time they played the song on the radio, I’d wear my elder sister’s skirts and twirl around fast and then sit. The pleats of the skirt would be spread out when I sat and I enjoyed doing that. When nobody was home I’d always do it.
So that’s why I like the song so much, for no particular reason other than bringing back a moment from my childhood.
Now, after my surgery, return from Poona and job at Madurai, I met my boyfriend, my life partner. He introduced me to Bob Marley.
I got to know Bob Marley through him. He’s a guitarist and quite crazy about Bob Marley.
In all of his songs- I have two favourites. One is One Love One heart.
In fact, I wish to make an album- all transgenders and LGBT people leading a mainstream life, this is my idea. I’ve even written an article about this other song: (Sings) Get up, stand up. Stand up for your right.
So I called it Villithidu, Ezhunthe Porade Un Urimayke.
He used it for the liberation of Jamaica,
I look at it as for queer people and everyone else in society who are bound by gender. Sometimes when I’m depressed or down, this song energizes me. That’s why this song is important to me.
The happiest moment in my life...there are a couple poems right now I dont remember.
But the one that comes to mind is my castration. The happiest moment in my life...I could tell you a couple. But the most important to me is the sex change operation because I’d experienced so much suffering and shame before that. Physically, my body didn’t fit me.
Every day when I had bath, I’d look at it and cringe with shame. To now think that it was no longer a part of my body was a big freedom.
After that, I could face any of life’s problems or disappointments and handle them. Castration gave me that new strong energy and that’s why it is the most emotional and happiest.
In a transgender’s life every second lived could have been a tragic one, so there’s that many, embarrassments and the like.
For example, I acted in Bhupathi annan’s play.
The organizers, husband and wife both, were writers. They’re great people and they respect me a lot
After the play was over their daughters and their relatives congratulated me on my performance
Whenever I act in a play, I don’t play the role of a transgender but that of a woman because I don’t want to be tagged and typecast.
After the play while everybody was congratulating and praising me for my performance,
The organizing couple’s little son, not ten years old yet, This was in the midst of everybody who was praising me saying I’d acted very naturally and pulled off my part very well told me that another little boy wanted to know if I was male or female, pointing to another little boy.
To be asked if I were male or female in front of everyone was terribly humiliating. He didn’t mean to hurt me and just like that asked but it really affected me.
Similarly, once when I was begging on a train, there were four or five men who are like buffallos travelling.
The traditional occupations for the thirunangai, the hijra or the transwoman are sex work and begging. It is with great difficulty that a transwoman can find other ways of sustaining herself. This interviewee began begging but incidents of violence and humiliation pushed her to find other occupations. Now she is a well known theatre actress and director, she has been an assistant film director and various other jobs along the way.
One of the most often talked about aspect in all these interviews are the love stories of people - how they found love, overcome obstacles or were defeated by them, people they left behind or others they longed for. As one of the interview subjects says about his journey as a transman and his tale of finding love - it was like a film story. Many of the stories are dramatic, funny and life-changing and here the interviewee shares one such incident from her life about her many loves.
I asked one of them to give me five rupees instead of the two he’d just given and someone else came forward and slapped me right across my face.
As soon as he’d slapped me many men from the compartment came forward and started beating me black and blue.
They kicked me off the train like a football onto the platform of a local station, where the train would hardly stop for a couple of minutes, and a man actually got off to continue beating me.
They wouldn’t let me get back on the train. Then, with all the bruises and beatings, I ran and got into another compartment of the moving train.
It was the unreserved compartment. Though at least fifteen grown men beat me up that day, I stood up to them. I used profanity even as they lashed with belts on my face.
I even have a scar because of those dogs.
Once I got into the unreserved compartment, I just couldn’t compose myself. It was only because I was transgender.
I begged in the same train everyday and I knew all the vendors and catering staff on it.
They’d all talk and laugh with me but that day nobody stood up for me or ask them to stop.
The whole train just looked on and nobody raised a voice.
Once I got into the unreserved compartment, I just couldn’t compose myself because anybody could beat me up for no rhyme or reason and I was like an artifact to be watched with nobody to come to my rescue. I wondered if humanity was dead in this nation.
I suppose some of the people in that compartment too had watched me get beaten up. I didn’t even realize that my nose was bleeding until one old woman pointed it out to me.
She cursed the men who beat me. Once she spoke up, I couldn’t keep myself from crying. I cried like actresses in films do- completely ignoring my surroundings, I wailed and bawled. I screamed out all my rage.
That’s a very embarrassing and humiliating event in my life.
Where do such people get their courage from? I can’t do it, I’m female, and my circumstance is such that I come to you and ask for money having to leave behind all my education, the M.A degree and all my talent.
I debase myself and beg you for money and for 15 to 18 men to beat someone like that up, where’s the masculinity or femininity or transgender-ity or whatever-ity in that.
That’s why I hate Indian beurocracy or whatever.
A memory of my childhood that’s silly or funny is...there are many such incidents.
I’d wait impatiently for my parents to leave the house and then lock the doors and windows.
The windows in my house weren’t wooden or grilled, it was a wall like this that missed a brick. I’d hang a cloth to cover it from the roof and use a stone to suspend it, cover it with cardboard and even stuff the littlest holes and the keyhole with paper so nobody would see.
I’d listen for anyone coming. After all the preparation I’d take my sister’s or mother’s or aunt’s sarees and skirts, wear them and dance.
I’d dance to the song like the one I told you earlier about. It was okay to do it when I was younger,
but I’d be upto such mischief even when I was studying my UG and PG courses.
To think of all that now is a that funny. When I was in Plus 2, I was quite madly in love with someone.
When we lived in the Somarsom area, there was a stream near my house.
Ilango was a milkman, he had a milk can.
He’d come to take bath or clean the can in that stream and to get there he had to pass our house.
Every time I saw him heading there, I’d quickly get there before him and pretend to be bathing. I behaved just as a woman, I’d dress provocatively to incite some emotion in him and do lots of things like that.
It was like a fever, I was so crazily in love with that man. I didn’t know if a young boy, as the world saw me, could be in love with a useless milkman.
He was manly and looked quite nice when he smiled. I was upto so much mischief then, like the bathing in the stream.
He stayed in this little rented house that I’d frequent and what was terrible was that he was in love with a girl, and he’d always talk about her.
Whenever I got a chance I’d slip in something negative about her so he’d hate he. I’ve done so many silly things like that.
I’d brush myself against him, I’d fervently wait for him to change after bath, when he only had a towel wrapped around him.
I’d hope for him to see me as a woman one day.
Till the end nothing happened between us. He didn’t even get it that I was in love with him.
I’d wait, feverish with excitement, every day from the time I woke up till around 8 when he’d come for a bath. I’d keep looking at the street, waiting for him.
But later, as my life went down different paths I completely forgot about him.
Only when i was writing my autobiography, did I think about him and all that again and realize how crazy I’d been for him.
I didn’t even know what had become of him. After many years, about three years earlier, I saw him at somarsom are and that was when I even remembered him again.
Now he’s older. I was so crazy about him that I was ready to die and now I didn’t know where those feelings were. I saw him and it had no effect. I’ve been really silly.
A very sad event in my life was at a very young age, in my fourth standard when my mother passed away.
I was very innocent then. My father who only told me to study was distant, my relatives were coddling me and there were so many things happening.
Though I knew she’d died, I didn’t realize what pain that loss meant.
Only after they’d carried my mother till the edge of the street did it strike that I wouldn’t have a mother in my life anymore.
I screamed then, the way I did in the train. I cried. They say time heals all wounds, but for me time only carried me forward as I grew up.
But not having my mother is still a sorrow I can’t find an answer for or judge.
But I had my sister, the eldest called Radha who was like a mother to me. My father would beat me. She gave me what a father must- discipline and responsibility with love,
a mother’s love and in addition a sister’s love. So she was a sister, mother and father figure to me.
It’s possible that I’m alive today only because of the strength of having her beside me. That’s a sorrow I can’t get over.
When you say tragic, another humiliating experience comes to mind.
After going to Poona, the first time I begged, I was aware that I’d studied M.A and acted in plays and was growing differently.
If I’d finished Ph.D after my M.A, I’d have become a professor in the university I studied in. In fact, I’d even got my Ph.D seat, it was a good topic.
I was respected in my university because I’d secured a rank. I threw all that away and went to Poona to beg. I knew if I went to Poona,
I’d have to beg and only if I did this could I have my castration surgery. I knew all of that and I’d readied myself. When asked why I was like this and why I didn’t take a job, besides the fact that nobody offered me a job,
I knew what I had to do and was confident. I only looked at the positive outcome of it, I was going to look like a girl and I went there with dreams of the future.
But when I actually stood at the shop, and Sathya my Gurubhai or elder sister.
She yelled to ask why I wasn’t begging but just standing there, was when I...just couldn’t extend my arm out to ask.
It was like my hand was stuck. Even I was surprised because I knew what I’d come there for but it was in that second that I realized the seriousness and true weight of my decision.
I just stood there like my life was void, the world had stopped and she was egging me on to beg.
She told me my education was of no use here and I’d better beg.
After that, I feigned and asked a couple of people for money without extending my hand but it didn’t work.
Some didn’t understand me, so they I asked in Hindi but nobody would buy it and give me money.
It was like I was useless even at begging and they knew it. She then scolded me and sort of trained me.
But the pain of this was less than the pain of waiting for my castration. It drove me and kept me afloat during all of this.
I adapted. It was only because I’m transgender that I had to beg and this society directly or indirectly was the cause of that.
So the rascals, whomever my eyes fell on, may as well pay a penalty for pushing me into begging- that’s what I’d think.
Some people at the shops would talk too much when I begged and to all of them this is what I’d say- you all are the reason my life is in ruins and now that I’ve seen you, pay up the penalty or I’ll curse you that you and any of your endeavours will never prosper;
If I curse you with all this pent up vengeance you really won’t prosper. I’d say things like that and threaten them.
In fact, as a single person in 2006 I earned 1300 per day.
That’s how ferocious I was, I wouldn’t let go of a single creature I saw. I begged however I could, in standing trains and even in unreserved compartments.
In Pune’s history, I was the first transgender to teach others to beg in the unreserved compartments.
Till then it was that only after the train had left the platform, that they’d take a one rupee coin, throw it into the river and only then would they clap their hands and ask for money.
But me, I’d start in the five minutes that the train stood in the platform at the unreserved compartments and within that 5 minutes have gotten a hundred rupees.
I didn’t observe any sentiments like worshipping god, whether the train moved or not, I’d keep moving.
It would stop in the Lonavala station and I’d get off, I’d start at one corner till the Lonavala station and then get into the unreserved compartment at the other end.
I’d threaten everybody into giving me money. Everyday it was about 4 trains, so each day I’d earn about 1300 to 1500. My earning record for a day is 1800.
In 2006, think of the value that sum had. Today, you could say it’d be equivalent to 2000.
I begged like this but it was because I didn’t want this wretched thing as a part of me, just cut it off.
As far as I know, at the time in Poona, it was at the end of December. I went there and after two days, no, it might be ten days, the Tsunami struck.
I started begging in 2006, and on April 26th, only after four months I’d collected enough money and had my castration done.
After that I came back to our town.
The first time I begged it was a very challenging and difficult moment but I adapted.
I understood that I didn’t have to feel shy to beg in front of this world only later.
Now I don’t even feel bad that I begged, in fact I’m quite happy about it.
In a day we meet a thousand people, we tease so many people. It was good.
Gender means, it is a very difficult question. I dont know what definition to give to it.
According to me gender is just another identity male or female and so on.
In Indian patriarchal society gender is given a lot of importance.
Gender means it is some special qualities. Talents, skill is there to all human beings and it is not restricted to any one gender.
In a patriarchal society man has supreme power women should be subodinates etc... These are quiet boring to tell as everyone knows these. It is a cliche and sterotypical.
When you say gender bias for example in my own house, my father also earned and my mother also earned.
My father worked as an office assistant in a government office and mother worked as a corporation worker as a person who sweeps the streets.
Both earned almost the same amount.
Apart from this my mother worked as a domestic worker in two houses plus she would also collect waste plastic and glass and sell as her duty time was in morning 5 to 10 and 3 to 6 in the evening.
In a particular season we could get a kind of neem fruit and she would make a mixture of it and sell.
In this way she would try and earn in many possible ways.
So by that way she would earn more than my father.
If you look at who spends maximum for the family it was my mother because she spent all that she earned on the family.
But my father if he earned 3000, he would spend 2000 in drinking and give just 1000 per month to home.
Later he would ask back from my mother to drink and to spend with relatives to drink and spend exuberantly. There is no big contribution from him to our family. But the way he spoke with the power being man.
Instead my mother works all through the day and is tired, she looked after us and also our father. She contributed monetarily and also physically.
My father who contributed very less in all these would rule the family just because he was man. With all these if he called her "Adiye" (a way of calling wife) even before a fly could go across she had to be standingin front of him.
If she would not come then he would beat her black and blue for not obeying and fight for a week.
So I am asking who gave my father that arrogance and power to harass my mother and who taught my mother this foolishness of not questioning back.
Who taught my mother to take all that shit and endure him after working all the time and all the day, who taught her to be obedient to him.
Then in this context what do you actually mean gender. How do you understand democracy here and rights here.
My parents lived in such violent situations and moments and like fools we as children could not even question anything.
So I hate saying this is gender this is man and this is woman.
Transgender in this would mean that it is further marginalised.
If you are asking the journey of my gender. When it comes to me I feel there is no journery whether physical or otherwise.
I have always seen it as how many days i have fooled my self and and how many days I have believed it and this I see as a journey.
For example I was in a state when I could not think about gender or identity.
I would always wear my sister's dress though I would get pant shirt which was quite fancy.
I would be more attracted to the midi that my sister would get. There would always be a question as to why only these people get this dress to wear and not us in a foolish manner.
In one stage of my life while studying UG and graduation my dress would be like unisex.
I would generally buy Kurtas and would never buy the pants that men would wear like colours of dark green, black, brown and maroon. Instead I would buy very fancy colours.
In fact that was the time I bought the underwear. Only during festivals we would get the dresses.
I did not know about myself and would always buy ladies panties. These would be sold on the street foot path 3 for 10 Rs. It had flowers and butterfly print in many colours on it.
First time when I bought it people in my family laughed at me saying you have bought ladies panties and spread it all over our village.
So when you think is it in dress that we locate gender then it is not.
Then while growing up around the age of maturation I would behave like women and people would ridicule me.
Then to prove myself I have tried acting masculinity which failed miserably. I could never flirt with women as I would be in awe of them and wanted to be like them.
I have often lied to my friends about my relationships with women to prove myself. I used to struggle to prove that I was a man.
Then I started realising about myself when I got the chance to speak to transgenders.
In fact before that I dont remember properly I have ridiculed transgenders along with other men. Because if you keep quiet and not laugh along with men I had the fear that they would also term me transgender and so i have definitely laughed about being transgender.
I still feel hurt that I have laughed at transgenders myself.
In an NGO I spoke to a transperson Sajan and realised that this is what I needed, this is how I wanted to live, this is what i have struggled hard for and so on.
Then I started thinking am I too this transgender? Am I too this Ombothu? (number nine which is given to transpeople by Society), Am I too an Ali (another name of ridicule).
Then there will be a rush of thoughts that what will happen to the dignity of our family, what will my father say and so on. I am not this trans and I start negating the truth. Focus Focus I AM MAN and I have to remain a man. I have waged a war inside my mind.
To accept that I am a transperson from within for myself I took lot of time.
Even if I accepted how will I handle. And if I am transgender what will be my future, how will this society accept an Ali, how will family accept? what will be my life future what will i become?
My passions about acting, about being professor and so many things.
But on the other hand in my childhood I have behaved like heroines talking like them and so on and I think about it now.
But when you think about all that today as adult 21 years what will be my future, then i was deciding that I will never express my gender.
But at the same time I will also not get married. I would live as it is. I would work outside have a separate house and in that house I will dress up the way I want.
But as you grow old you can never hide love affair, pregnancy and gender I feel.
I am a woman. I have never believed or taken the identity of being man or a transgender. I believe that I am a woman only.
It took enough time to take that identity. I had to convince myself to take a decision and spend enough to act upon my decision.
When I could not fool myself anymore and could not take a definite decision I even tried to commit suicide.
Then I thought why should I die being a man. It is okay if i die after I become a woman. During that time I spoke to someone for solace.
In this life journey when I had to face the milestones of gender there were many friends who have helped me.
Many people understood me or even put an effort to understand me. All of them liked me a lot and to help me out.
One of the friends took me to Chennai to NGOs. In fact in the community of Aravanis no body helped me.
Arunama the aravani guru made me chela (took me as daughter), and my Nani (grandmother in aravani community) and got the surgery done to me. This was the biggest help.
Otherwise as a transwoman another transwoman has never helped me.
As a friend I have Priya, Priya, Pratiksha, Titanic, Shambugam and many others in Poona who supporteed me.
After that when I decided that I should get back to mainstream job and not end up in an NGO or doing sex work or begging as aravani and live according to the dignity of my family.
For that many friends helped me. Bhoopathi Anna, Amudan, Ashok, Manager Anand Kumar, MD Uday Kumar if they had not supported then I would not have survived.
In a small town like Madurai these friends though I am transgender they let me stay in their houses and supported me in my work. Initially they just gave me space to stay and gave food later I started living as paying guest.
After coming to Chennai, Senthil, Swayam Uma, helped me. To join cinema Shiva Kumar helped me. Eshwari, I did not know her, she read about me in a blog and met me and started helping by introducing me to Myssikin. Then he took me as assistant director in cinema.
Like this many poeple have come into my life like gods and help me out. I could nto have survived if they were not there.
If you ask if the society has changed "quite a little bit” There hasn’t been a very substantial or big change.
Say, for example… around 5-6 years back, if a transgender is seen anywhere people would normally laugh and tease openly.
But these days, there isn’t much laughter. Out of 10, 3 may turn around to look, but the other 7 just go about their way. So it has only been at that level…and I wouldn’t call that change.
When there comes a time when a transgender man or woman could exist and be, just as a biological man/woman are, amidst a group of say a 100 people, THAT is what I would call change.. true social change.
What’s more important is access and opportunity for education and employment.
Take any marginalized community, say the dalits or women. Look at how things have changed over the last 100 years for these communities.
The state of members of the dalit community then and now.. Ofcourse, I wouldn’t deem it a complete transformation, but there certainly has been a change.
They have the opportunity to apply and be employed at Government sector jobs or the fact that we can say that there isn’t any sector devoid of women employees now..the fact that women can be employed anywhere/take up any job.
All of this has come from education and employment opportunities, without which none of these changes would’ve been possible.
So I’d say that it’s absolutely necessary to include reservation for transgenders , as it’s the only way to bring about change.
Regarding reservation, we aren’t faced with much physical challenges, and mentally, “we’re good enough” (although the reservation doesn’t compensate for the psychological issues that may have gotten in the way of one’s education, it addresses and increases access to opportunities that may have been lost on account of these psychological challenges).
For instance, when I took my 10th standard exams, I scored a 418 on 500. That’s equivalent to scoring a 480 on 500 these days.
When it came to my 12th exams, my scores dropped (I got an 875 on 1000) It was in those teenage years that my internal crisis with gender and my gender identity came up..
it was psychological changes that took place in response to all the teasing, and my depression that caused my academic scores to severely drop.
I feel that most transgenders drop out of school for these same/similar reasons.
This is why I emphasize that these contexts need to be considered, and reservation made possible.
We also need to revise our syllabus, we say biology, science sociology and all, to include an understanding of transgenders.
Who are transgenders, what are the transformations they go through – biologically what happens to them in science should be taught. psychologically a way to accept that they are equal to the rest of us.
Subjects like the social sciences must teach how the community has been oppressed and side-lined when it comes to their rights. The syllabus must be designed to educate the public about these things.
In addition to this, it’s important that cinema and the media in general stop representing transgender men and women in a lowly fashion. Media tends to portray and report news about lesbian couples and transgender couples in such a disrespectful way.
It is critical that these be censored. That should be aware to media people. Syllabus should include information about transgenders, there should be reservation in education and employment.
More fundamentally, individuals who are going through the transformation or have gone through the transformation need support and understanding from their families. The government has a role to play in bringing about such awareness and understanding.
There exists so many campaigns and drives oriented towards social improvement/upliftment/maintenance that are initiated and encouraged by the government – like the careful use of water, electricity, conserving and protecting our environment.
Similarly, the government needs to ensure that people know about transgenders, their lives, the relationship between gay and lesbian couples, sexual orientations and identities and all the associated problems that arise. They must take the responsibility to communicate these things to the public.
All of these constituent changes will bring about true social transformation. As I said earlier, such a day will be characterized by people truly accepting transgender men and women as (a composite part of society, their lives, and shared physical spaces) as equal and normal.
Given that, the small improvements are still far too minor in comparison.
I must say that there are changes amongst members of the transgender community. Much radical thinking has emerged from these people… especially the young trans men and women.
Many have broken out of the ___ of begging or prostitution. Many seek to be part of the mainstream – they seek education, gain employment (as doctors, IT professionals, just regular jobs!) and development immense confidence and strength to boldly face challenges. So I think there are definitely changes in the LGBT community.
Edhai izhakkirom endra mayakatthil
(In that trance of “what are we losing?”)
arutthu kodharum nodiyilum,
(in that moment when it rips and shreds)
(with self-respect under soles of shoes)
oru malam-indri midhitthapadi,
kai neetti kevalapattu nindra naatkazhilum,
(even in the days when we stood, insulted, begging)
Vanmatthudan nuzhaiyum kuriyaal moocchu mutta,
(breathless and choking from the arrow of spite?)
Nurai-eeral thinari nirkum nilaiyilum
(even in the stage when one’s liver sputters and struggles)
(not even understanding what for)
engal meedhu thuppapadum
(that which is being spat on us..)
veecham adikkum echizhgalai kaetkiren
(the ____, I ask)
veecham adikkum echizhgalai kaetkiren
(the ___, I ask)
maranam mattuma maranam?
(Is dying the only death?)