Back to the Past

Transgender activist Laxmi Tripathi talks about a painful childhood and her recent fame in the book, Mee Hijra, Mee Laxmi

She sits in front of a mirror, careful not to disturb the folds of her sari. Keeping her eyes fixed on her image, she picks up a maroon lipstick and applies it generously on her mouth. She twists her hair into a bun and adds a gajra made of fresh jasmines. Taking a last look at herself, Laxmi Tripathi, a Mumbai-based eunuch, says that she is now ready to share her journey.

Tripathi, now a well-known face on television due to her stint on reality show Bigg Boss, has recently released her biography, Mee Hijra, Mee Laxmi (Manovikas, Rs 200). Written by journalist Vaishali Rode over two-and-a-half years, the book recounts Tripathi's story — from her childhood to her current phase in life.

Written in Marathi, the book will be published in Hindi in the next few months. "We are looking for someone who will translate the book into English as well. We want the book to be read by as many people as possible," says Tripathi.

"One of the most difficult things when writing a book is to make sure that it is authentic. I hope that my experiences, struggles and challenges will be helpful to children and their parents," says Tripathi, a post-graduate in Bharatanatyam and a social activist working with the LGBT community. Confessing that talking about her childhood was the most difficult and painful part, the 33-year-old says, "Fame is very easy to talk about. The things that I went through when I was a child, my discomfort with my sexuality, were more challenging to discuss."

The book talks about "the compulsion of wearing masks" in a chapter. "We all wear masks. In my case, it's the extensive make-up I use and the clothes I wear. People don't want to see me in plain clothes and without make-up. They have a mental image in their mind and I am under the constant pressure of living upto it," says Tripathi. Perhaps that explains her words in the book, "Sometimes when you use a mask for too long, it becomes your face."

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