Rashika / India
Life is different when you are free to live your truth. For the first time in a long time, I am secure, self confident and hopeful for my future.
I am Rashika, an employee of Amazon in Bangalore and I want to tell you my story.
For most of my life, I have been on the move; in search of a life more fulfilling than the one I had been dealt. I’ve lived in Kolkata, Pune, Mumbai and now, I live in Bangalore. After a childhood spent feeling displaced because of my effeminate ways, I began a bachelor degree in Commerce. However, I didn’t make it to graduation because of mental torture by fellow students. Since then, I’ve worked all kind of jobs, ranging from prostitution and dancing at bars, to being a beauty advisor. I stopped dancing because of bad work conditions and occasional raids, I gave up sex work because I owed myself a respectable lifestyle and I quit working as a beauty advisor because my workplace wouldn’t support my sex reassignment surgery.
Life post surgery has been a new phase of my existence. I came to the Periferry workshop determined to live my truth and live it respectfully. That said, my experiences thus far had worn me down. Though I was yearning for a better life, I was unsure of how to obtain it. I had friends who worked in big offices but it was difficult to picture that life for myself. It’s hard to be motivated after years of harassment, bullying and hardship. But deciding to do this was a game changer. I worked tremendously by waking up early before sessions, giving my all to the activities and paying close attention to the training. Those six weeks pumped me up and dared me to dream again.
Now, I’m about to begin my corporate career as an out and proud trans woman. Gaining this job has brought me confidence that I’d long lost. Family is important to me; I want to be a source of their pride and contribute to our household income. Equipped with a corporate job, I am able to support them financially and have earned the respect of my conservative family who, prior to this, had their own troubles coming to terms with who I am.
I intend to prove to everyone that trans people contribute to good society. It’s true that miracles happen and I know I am lucky to have been given this opportunity. But it is also true that I worked hard for it. I carved a place for myself in a society that is only just learning to accomodate people like me. At this juncture, I am psyched and hopeful by the sense of belonging this achievement has brought me and the world of possibilities I have opened up for myself. It motivates me to do more and another thing on my list is to complete my undergraduate degree alongside work. I see this as just the beginning of an offbeat but bright journey towards living my best life; a life that I deserve.