KATHMANDU, Feb 23: I believe every individual is born special but the almighty sometimes makes mistakes while attaching your body organs. There is no way you can change your soul, your inner self--and I would never want to change my soul even if it was possible.
But thankfully, with the advancement of modern science, you can correct even divine mistakes.
Life can be beautiful for someone whose body and soul match, but it becomes an ordeal for people like us, who have the body of a male but the soul of a female, or vice-versa. I felt lifeless for years, 40 to be precise, as a woman forced to live in the body of a man, until I finally had my male organs replaced with female ones six years ago.
I learnt very early into my childhood that something was wrong. Children of my age used to roam around naked and I had two brothers who were comfortable in their bodies, but I was not. I felt uneasy in the company of boys, and mingling of boys and girls was taboo then. I did not like to play boy´s games nor could I join the girls. With no sisters in my family, I was essentially a loner during my childhood.
As with every other kid, I believed in the omnipotence of adults and assumed that I could fix things after I grew up. But reality dawned as I gradually grew older, and the problem became compounded when I attained puberty.
I wanted to dress gracefully like a girl but I had the body of a man. I talked to very few people in school or at home, but I was good in my studies and eventually passed the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exams in second division. Because of depression I did not even join college after SLC. I completed a diploma in economics as a private student.
I come from a typical orthodox family in Kathmandu and I was married off early enough at 20. I was apprehensive about ruining the life of an innocent woman but I could not explain all that to my stern father. It helped that I am inately lesbian, and I finally felt close to another human being after my marriage. My spouse is a normal woman and loved me as a husband. Our marriage was consummated as I had a fully functioning male body and we had two kids pretty soon.
It was not planned but simply happened. I would never have opted for the children today. But then I absolutely dote on my son and daughter and they have loved me as their father. I may have supported and raised them like a conventional father would but my love for them has always been motherly.
In course of time my wife realized that we were not happy. "What happened? Are you not interested? Not happy?" she would often ask. The problem was not her but me. It was not easy to make her understand and I avoided clear answers. The first time I told her the hidden truth was around five years after marriage when both my children were born. She was unwilling to accept the truth at first but by then she may have had some inkling that I was not a typical male.
I kept on trying to convince her, it would really trouble her, but I always said it was not like this by choice, that it was destiny.
I would have suffered mental disorders early on if I had not become spiritually awakened to some extent. My drive and zest for life despite the inner conflict led me to contemplate the mysteries of life, and that kept me going. However, as time passed I felt too exhausted to carry and only sex-change surgery could salvage my life.
My wife understood this very well. Talking about her makes me very emotional.
When I went for the surgery in Bangkok the doctors had only praise for her. "She is very great…a very very great woman," they would repeat again and again. Of course, she is.
After the operation her husband would change into a woman but she was there holding his hands. She was indeed not happy about the change, but she understood what it meant to me. Living with me for 20 years had helped her face that moment. She might have accepted it as destiny and also for the sake of the children who still loved me very much.
I used to confide in a certain doctor and he understood my problem. He said the remedy for me was a sex-change, but that was not possible here. I also did not have the money. But after I brought my wife on board, I sold a piece of ancestral land for Rs 600,000. The cost of the operation alone was around Rs 500,000.
I was on top of the world after the eight-hour surgery and I was dying to see myself in the mirror. I stood totally naked before the mirror, and it was the first time it reflected the real me. I gazed in the mirror for hours. I was so beautiful, so graceful. For the first time in my life I felt so comfortable, so content. I was overwhelmed just imagining that I would fulfill all my desire to wear fashionable skirts, kurtis and accessories.
But my euphoria was short-lived. My wife stood sadly by my side. She did not smile. The initial days of the operation were even more difficult. I could understand that spending such a big amount for that kind of treatment did not appear sane for a family with modest means and living in rented quarters.
My children found it even harder to cope with a changed me. It came as a shock as they had hardly any idea about my situation until we were back from Bangkok. I kept telling them my story, my truth, the struggles I had undergone since childhood. I pleaded with them to broaden their mental horizon and accept me as I am, grant me the freedom to appear and live as I want.
However, six years on, things have not changed much. I have bought women´s clothing and accessories and love to wear them. But I feel uneasy doing so in front of my children. While zeal for life and happiness drive me on, a sense of guilt that I have hurt my own children and my spouse kills my enthusiasm.
After returning from Bangkok, my wife has never touched or felt me. While she used to caress me with love earlier, I was never comfortable in my own body, and now I am no longer a husband to her. Our loving never matched. We were not right for each other. However, we both have accepted our fate and decided to move on. She still loves me, though as just a human being, and I love her as a very good human being.