KOCHI: Along the road to transformation, a Manjeswaram, Kasargod, boy might have to deal with snarky remarks and curious eyes. But confidence was the biggest ally when Kiran decided to change gender and become a woman. On September 12, 2013, Kiran became Thripthi Shetty. Hurdling past the struggles, she now works as a cashier in a city restaurant.
“I may be the first of our kind (transwoman) in the state to be employed in such a job,” the 29-year-old Thripthi said.
But the metamorphosis was not easy. Kiran, the lone child of parents, had to fight against a fragile financial background and stopped studies after Class VIII. For a living, Kiran had to travel to Mangalore, Chennai and Mumbai in the early part of this millennium
“I had to beg in the streets for several months in Pune. I thought my life is over. But I was adamant on having a dignified life,” she said while narrating the duel between her male body and female self.
As her name denotes, Thripthi is a contended person now. But she carries a grief. “I wish to act in films. I had a chance to act in a Kannada movie.
But I was attacked a few months back when I was walking near Ravipuram. I was admitted to Thrissur Medical College and Ernakulam General Hospital and the call came during this period,” she said. But there are rays of hope. “Any transgender would be happy to lead a decent life than begging on the streets or being a sex worker. The news of Kochi Metro giving employment to transgenders is really encouraging. as many of us are well qualified,” she said.
“If families accept their children with different sexual orientation, the society too will accept them and they can live a decent life,” she said. “Here, I am having a family life, which I missed,” she said about her workplace.
“It was Jijo Kuriakose of Querala who introduced me to Thripthi. She’s now one month into the job. She’s hardworking, though a wee bit emotional and sensitive than normal women. Though she has limited education, she handles the cash counter efficiently and politely,” said Minu Pauline the owner of Parrippuvada restaurant where Thripthi is employed.
Now, her father’s relatives have accepted Thripthi, who has lost both her parents, in her new life. However, she is not worried about the reaction of her relatives. “It’s my life. Now, I am living as once I’d longed and struggled to become,” she said. Shades of Bon Jovi!