Monday, April 3, 2017

Bahuchara Maa #AtoZChallenge‏ @AprilA2Z

"What makes one a woman?" Daya cried.

I looked into her wounded eyes and searched for an answer. Though I am the dadaguru of the family and have helped many find their own path in this dark world, each time I am asked this question, I fumble.

"Daya, have you heard the story of Bahuchara Maa?"

I stroked her hair and wiped her tears with my pallu. I pointed to the picture frame hung on my wall; the Goddess triumphantly sat on a rooster, trident in one hand and scripture in another.

"Bahuchara Maa was born in the Charan caste. 'Charan' like our family name! Like us, the family was known for its honour. One day, Bahuchara Maa was travelling in a caravan with her sisters when a bandit named Bapiya attacked them. He tried to molest her but she fought with every fibre of her being. Her sisters reminded her that for the sake of their family honour they should take their own lives rather than dying at the hands of someone else. But she refused. She instead took out a dagger and cut off her breasts, thus shedding off her femininity. She did this to save herself from any sexual harassment. This act led to her deification. She then cursed Bapiya with impotency. His only way to attain penance was to dress and behave like a woman, thus shedding off his masculinity."

Daya was standing across the room now; her fingers traced the shape of her body as I spoke.

"What I'm trying to say is, it is not our bodies that make us feel like a man or a woman. Bahuchara Maa stripped off her breasts, yet she is worshiped as a Goddess. Many devotees come to her, both men and women, seeking the boon of fertility"

I could see Daya was still plagued by doubts. I let the rustle of the wind fill the silence between us, and waited for her to speak.

"But, what should I do? What will make me a woman? Is it removing a body part, wearing a sari? Tell me, what should I do to..."

"To feel accepted?" I cut her bluntly. "Daya, it is you who has to accept yourself. I know you are asking me about nirvan. I am not castrated, neither did I opt for hormone therapy. It is wrong to believe that to feel a particular way from inside you need to change on the outside. Some of us go through physical and psychological transformation, some of us don't."

"We hijras are a proud family. You have to decide for yourself what path you want to take, but no matter what, we respect other's differences here. We accept."

Daya gave out a loud sigh. It was a lot to take in. Our world is a tiresome one; everyday one has to fight, and in between battling the insecurities and desires we celebrate our little joys.

I smiled at Daya warmly. "Go home, child. Sleep on it. You can come here anytime you want."

Daya took off the earrings and the bangles reluctantly, and placed them in my hand. I gave her hand a little squeeze before she walked back to the world where she was born a boy.


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If you want to read more of my short stories, click on the below image. 

These short stories were developed during the A-Z challenge in 2014. Each story is based on 26 colours which commence with every letter of the alphabet from A to Z. The themes developed in these stories range from marital despair to urban city-life blues, from love to loss, from child abuse to infidelity, divorce, and much more. 

Do read and share!


  1. Another really interesting post - you have such a different take on the A to Z and I'm enjoying your little stories.
    Leanne | cresting the hill

  2. What a wonderful narrative. I hadn't heard of Bahuchara Maa before this, and I loved the way you wove that story into Daya's story.

  3. In one stroke you have touched the sensitive issue of identity and acceptance amongst transgenders and have shared vital and interesting information about Bahuchara Maa. Very interesting!

  4. That's a very interesting story...hadn't heard of this. You have a very unique take on mythology Aditi.

  5. oh wow! This totally blew me away! Aditi - I am fan of your writing now. This is so beautifully & sensitively told!
    See you trow for C :)

    "*Ishieta @ Isheeria's*

    AtoZofHealing - B is Bach Flower Therapy"

  6. Woah, this was one captivating tale! I'd never heard the story of Bahuchara maa. Thanks for sharing.

  7. i enjoyed your story, but I don't agree - everyone should do what is right for them, and if changing their body to ho fit how they feel inside is their way, then they should do that - we cannot speak for others, or even know a fraction of the agony of those who feel revulsion at having breasts which they don't want - because they feel male, for example. Cutting off your breasts would not change your feelings of femininity if you are female - because you feel female!

    1. Of course, and this is what I intended to say. There are those who prefer to go through that physical transformation to feel complete and those that don't. They have to decide for themselves, and choose the path that feels right to them. Most importantly, they have to accept and embrace what they feel inside.

  8. LIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Darn, dunno how to hit LIKE when we're on different platforms.

    Keep on writing :)

  9. What a powerful post, Aditi! This is your strength and I recall this from your first A to Z! Your storytelling and the compelling social stigmas you address through them. That story of the deity gave me goosebumps.

    *B for Beautiful: Shailaja/The Moving Quill*

  10. I am enjoying your stories of the Gods and how you connect them to a real life story. So interesting and well written. This one was very intriguing about what defines our gender. Thought provoking.

  11. Powerful piece, loved it. I recently saw the Vicks ad and remembered it, its high time every one feels accepted !

  12. This was such an insightful story, Aditi! I didn't know about it at all! Thanks for writing!


  13. Wow! I'm blown away, Aditi. For one, I hadn't heard of Bahuchaara Maa, so it was interesting to learn about her. And I loved your sensitive portrayal of gender - it is about how one feels inside more than anything else, isn't it?

    <a herf=">Modern Gypsy<\a>

  14. Oh my! What a powerful piece of writing! The characters, the story, the narration, all wonderful! Loved it!

    Shubhangi @ The Little Princess

  15. I had goosebumps reading this one!! Love your narration.


  16. Ooh! That's some great storytelling here on a very delicate issue. Loved it!

  17. That's awesome Aditi. The best post I read today. Such an important issue dealt with so much sensitivity. Such a gem you are :)

  18. Though I've seen this goddess on the rooster, this is the first time I'm hearing her story. Like everyone else here said, what an awesome tale

  19. Well I hadn't heard of Bahuchara Maa before. It is necessary to find the acceptance withing one's own soul and then nothing else matters. A good piece indeed!

  20. Wow, Aditi my friend. What an amazing storyteller you are. Was hoping you would serve somthing like this for this years atoz too. LOVE it - keep it coming my dear. Biiiiiiiig hugs

  21. Your narration is superb Adi and what a wonderuflly heartwarming story to weave in a social tabboo into it. Loved it!

  22. What an awesome story. Powerful and thought provoking !

    Manisha @The Nimble Mime