I was neither too old nor too young, at my first encounter with “third gender”. At that time third gender was not considered ‘third’. It was the time when a group of people, all singing and dancing, used to enter into our houses just after any holy ceremony. So as a custom, this group came to my house too to welcome my new-born nephew. Their attitude seemed to be more inclined toward threating than beseeching. They were threating us again and again that they will undo their dresses if we denied their demand. On the second occasion with them I was returning home on the vacation from my first job. I was woken up by the loud thumping sounds of clapping, the train just stopped at Jhansi station, a person came to me and said,” Oh! My dear Shahrukh, it’s time to come out of your dreams. “ And saying that he shook me up. Then they started asking me money. The amount they asked was even much higher than my to and fro journey. Failing which they again threatened us of undoing their single hooked attire. But under pressure of my co-travellers I, gave the money and promised myself always to book my ticket on upper birth from next time.
For people like me, our introduction with third gender is limited to these kinds of encounters only. This and other words like these always leave a sourness of some kind in our mind. I don’t know why, but somehow I don’t like the word ‘third’. It appears to hold a kind of bitterness in it. Third class, third division, third degree, third world, third front and then this third gender, something really sounds so weird in all of these, because words not only transmit our views but also invoke the feeling associated with it.
Another example is that some people call some ‘special’ type of children, crazy. Some call them- thick-headed, mentally challenged, mentally disturbed, etc. But with the changing time some wise people call them ‘differently enabled’. So it is clear that our choice of words shows our thinking about a person. Like initially those who were called amputee, handicapped, physically challenged or disabled are now called differently enabled. This kind of perception shows our respect instead of pity toward those people. The list of these examples is endless. Not very long ago, we used to hear the phrase- reporter (so and so) with cameraman (so and so) (from news channel so and so), then the word ‘cameraman’ got replaced by ‘cameraperson’ and now we hear reporter (so and so) with ‘video journalist’ (so and so). Same work, some people but this reflects the change that has occurred in our perception regarding them. Similarly, we become very particular while selecting our life partner. We think that he/she should be fair, tall, professionally qualified, etc etc, but have you ever thought if it was possible to be so much selective in process of making a child.
That means we see every person by our individual perception and then we name them accordingly. This habit of us reflects our way of looking at others and also tells what kind of person we actually are. Before mocking someone or developing a prejudice about someone we should give it a thought that our physical appearance is not controlled by us. Should we be arrogant if we are physically or mentally stronger than someone? It could have happened to anyone. So we should always respect and be thankful for whatever the Almighty has bestowed upon us. I always appreciate whatever He has given me. Most of the time I see different words of a same person makes a world of difference in feelings. Have you ever noticed it?
Although we never want to hurt anyone intentionally, but if we give a small thought before taking out a word from our mouth, we can win many hearts. Often we see someone telling,” Hey! You are too old to be able to lift it.” But imagine what if we would have just said,” Sir, I see you are not able to lift it on your own. May I help you?” Imagine how nice that man would feel. Not only he will like it but also he will be proud of you too. Others, who would be listening to you, might also see you respectfully.
So my dear friends I will like you request you all to always choose right words because they convey a lot of important things. Right words are indeed “Password to Happiness.”
(Disclaimer: Transcription of an inspiring article from Hindi newspaper daily. No copyright infringement intended)