A little person in search of something

A reflection on gender identity and life in the 21st century…

A little person was born in a small family, living in the suburbs of a major city. The little person was dressed in yellow on the name ceremony. The little person still didn’t know the color spoke volumes in this world, more than words did. That there was meaning attached to each and every single color that existed. But these were bigger matters, and the little person didn’t concern with such. The big people could take care of these. The little person cared about where the food came from, and if the little person was feeling warm enough and sleep.

Years passed and the little person acquired language, a funny tool. You learned it and in the initial stages, the big people would clap and congratulate you for doing a wonderful job. Words could mean so much. More than what they intended too. Sometimes, words could even define, faith- a complex phenomenon created by an intelligent lot of the big people- mostly of one kind. Words could also box you into a certain archetype. But these were bigger matters, and the little person didn’t pay heed to them. The little person learnt how to read, spell and write and do numbers. The little person grew up playing house, dressing up dolls, kicking footballs, going to summer camps, on family vacations to mountains. The little person was unaware, that what you do, reflected more on who you are than how you felt. The little person had beautiful hair- brown, average length, not straight, not curly. The little person often drew it behind with a help of a hair band, sometimes tied up in a black hair tie. The little person was growing up and was not so little anymore.

The little person was transitioning from one phase of life to another. A phase, as confusing and daunting, as exhilarating- the little person was experiencing things that the little person thought nobody could experience. The little person didn’t know, that’s how every big person felt, at every stage of life, that is how human beings are- willing to be understood, but desiring to stand out. The little person played rock music in the bedroom and experimented with alcohol and other illicit drugs. The little person could feel the change, could see it happening. Some days, the little person locked the door and stood naked in front of the mirror- touching, feeling, exploring. The little person fought with the parents- the designated adults responsible for a smooth transition from being a little person to a full grown adult- a big person. The not-so little person anymore felt that these designated adults were unfit for their role. They didn’t understand the little person. They didn’t know who the little person truly was. But did the little person possess this knowledge? The answer to the question of the human age, ‘who am I?’ The little person had now started associating things to identity- what I eat, what I like, what I don’t like, what I do, the way I dress, the music I listen to, the way I like my eggs, my role models- all this obsession with, me, I, made the little person question everything around. The biggest philosophical questions haunted the little person- what is the purpose of life? What made the little person unique? What was the little person’s identity? What if there was no light at the end of the tunnel? – The usual kind, the mini-existential crisis-every not so little person had in their life. Where nothing makes sense and yet you feel you could conquer the world, you are invincible- and to escape all of this, like any other not-so- little person, this one also made meaningless connections that somehow seemed to define the little person’s life for those years of life.

But alas, immortality, however short-lived, dies when reality strikes. The little person had entered adulthood, stepped into the shoes of a big person- shoes too big to fill and often too uncomfortable. The ‘real’ world was knocking at the now big person’s doorstep with job interviews, long hours, deadlines, bills, insurance, loans and the questions had metamorphosed from who am I to what the fuck am I doing with my life. Years after year, it was the same thing, work long hours, get promoted or don’t get promoted, yearly bonus, Friday night parties, road-trips once in a while, to feel alive-even if for a week. The little person big person, quit some of the early jobs, frustrated with how things were, unable to grasp the unfairness and pointlessness of it all- but eventually the once-deemed unfit for their role-the parents’ finally had their way. Too tired of not knowing where the next paycheck came from, and too much dirty laundry, the big person now entered into his 5th or 6th relationship, hoping, wishing, that this one would be it. That this person was going to be the answer. For a while, it seemed that was really the case. So another big event of the life on planet Earth, the big person got married. Life had taken a backseat; it was no longer a roller-coaster ride but a drive in an old beaten once-loved car on a sometimes bumpy and sometimes smooth road. Days were clockwork- same routine day in day out- get up, a kiss, take the dog out for a walk, sometimes the big person’s companion made breakfast, sometimes the big person did, sometimes they skipped it, go to work, come back, sex twice or thrice a week. Such was life. Simple, uncomplicated, laced with monotony and comfort, till one day- another little person entered the world.

The big person looked down at the crib at what they had created- a living breathing creature. She was beautiful.

-Avni Vij

Disclaimer: I wrote this as an Entry to Jaipur Literature Festival Blogging Contest. Since, I wasn’t shortlisted, thought of sharing it. Let me know what you think of it.