Pervin Saket: Exactly the Same

A transformation story from the Duckbill Workshop in Chennai.

Before she could change her mind, Maithili gulped down the frothy, stinking liquid. She stared in the mirror. The old woman had told her that the transformation would take a few minutes but Maithili squinted closer. She tapped her foot on the floor and glanced at the clock. In just a little while, she would be transformed into whoever she wanted. Though the change would last for only a day, Maithili knew that her life would change forever.

Whoever she wanted! And Maithili wanted nothing more than to become the burly, hairy bus conductor of bus 123 that cruised from Tardeo to Colaba. What power that man had! Many of her teachers, her friends and their parents also took this route to school. And he would command, “Give change! What you want to block the whole passage?” Once he had even demanded from Miss Kirti “Sutta dya! All these big notes won’t do!” And the way he kept shouting “Chala pudhe, pudhe, move ahead!”

Every single parent, every teacher obeyed. What fun!

Carefully, Maithili studied the mirror. Sure enough, her hair had started turning coarse and short. Her stomach was thick and wide, her arms long and dark. Her feet, her knees, her cheeks, her ears, they had all transformed. Everything except… what was that? Her nose! It looked exactly the same.

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