Mehak was still feeling sleepy. The weather kept calling her to the bed.

“Was it the monsoon?” she wondered.

Mehak woke up from a good dream, reminiscing it as she looked at herself in the mirror. It was 7:37 AM already. Mehak wished it was a Sunday just so that she could continue sleeping peacefully. But it was a Thursday. That meant she had to be present at the college in another one and a half an hour.


Mehak put on her periwinkle-coloured jacket on top of her blue kurti and tried to adjust her bindi, but then she suddenly remembered something. That something was actually that she had to make chapati to eat along with jam. Her mother, Neerja was not home that day since she had a business meeting in Mysore. And that meant Mehak had to make her lunch for that day at college. She rushed to the kitchen and saw that, luckily, there were chapatis in the fridge. “Love you, Ma!” she thought, at her mother who had made lunch ready for Mehak, knowing her needs perfectly. She adjusted her jacket hoping it’d be her lucky one this time too. It was lucky the last time she wore it, by making her pass the exams with flying marks. Luck was desperately needed this time since she was on her period. The cramps were excruciating. She cursed God for creating something called periods. Why couldn’t women ovulate without it?

“Ugh! I hate it!” she thought.

She smiled at herself in the mirror and wanted to say, “Put your game face on, bitch!” She almost said it out loud; and thanked God that she didn’t say it. It was a cheesy thing to say. She then looked at her watch. She automatically stopped smiling. “Shit!”

Mehak had been raised by her mother alone. Neerja, in her late forties, was a strong woman. Mehak admired her mother very much. But she doesn't remember seeing her dad. Her mother wouldn't talk about him much. She would say that they had different interests. That's why they parted. Her mother was always vague about why they split.

Sometimes, she'd start crying. So, Mehak eventually stopped asking anything about her father.

Mehak usually got the bus. But today, it was later than usual. So, she concluded that she’ll just get an Uber.

Photo by Tim Samuel: pexels

With her tiny fingers, she managed to book a cab within a minute. It took another, for the Uber to arrive.

But as she stepped in, the driver shouted in his impeccable Bihari accent, 'Madam, you are fine with waiting for a couple of minutes na? Another customer is just a few miles from here.’

‘What? Why?’

‘, if you book an Uber pool, you…’ Great! More humans.

‘... also, she drops right after your stop. So…’

A woman? Better than a thirty-year-old techie who can't afford deodorant. Way better.

Mehak had always been an asocial personality. She couldn't tolerate people. Especially chatty ones. She hated small talk. In simple terms, she was an introvert.

'Ugh, I feel dead without my earphones!’ she cried. ‘My chances of avoiding a conversation are destroyed.’ The car came to a halt.

A drop-dead gorgeous woman got in. Mehak wasn’t gay at all, but when she looked at the woman, she almost got infatuated with her. Her caramel curls were tied in a messy bun. She wore a blue saree with a bubble-gum-coloured blouse. Her make-up looked like it was done by a professional. The woman wasn't surprised the driver was checking her out. But she was struck seeing Mehak’s face. Like she had seen Mehak before. The silence in the cab made it more awkward to handle.

‘Mehak’, she introduced herself finally.

The woman, still in awe, spoke in a smoky voice, ‘Aaliyah’.

'Brijesh!’, the driver shouted.

‘Anna, can you please go fast? I can't afford to miss my classes.’ Aaliyah kept staring at Mehak for about half of the journey. She finally started a conversation, asking about Mehak's day.


‘Just, ‘okay’? Honey, you should be enjoying your time. Get in a relationship. Get some perspective.’ Okay, stranger!

‘I'll try’ Mehak replied.

Aaliyah was a forty-three-year-old journalist. She's divorced. She had a pet cat named Bubbles. Bubbles ran away from her house when it was two. And Aaliyah is single.

Aaliyah began to ask some personal questions about Mehak's life. But she avoided them coyly.

As the ride ended, Mehak got down hastily.

‘Bye, Mehak.’ Aaliyah's eyes glistened.



Mehak started to run. She was already late.

‘Thank you, Anna!’, Anup said.

As he walked into his office, he teared up. He met a special person. After seventeen years. Someone whom he never thought he'd meet. He wiped his tears from his cheek and put on his badge with a smile.

It read,

Aaliyah. A


Age: 43

Sex: Transgender 

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