Chalk and cheese


Although Kamakshi and Gayathri were similar in a lot of respects, they were like chalk and cheese when it came to their public persona. While Kamakshi had a more garrulous and outgoing personality, Gayathri was the quiet, reserved, thoughtful one. Kamakshi was the life of the party while Gayathri was more comfortable not attending the party at all in the first place.

Both of them were sisters in terms of the fact that they were both taken in by Lakshmi Amma when they were barely 3-4 yrs old and had been staying together as a family ever since. More than just being a care-giver and somebody who took them in, Amma also doubled up as the one person who took it upon herself to teach both of them the weird ways in which the world worked.

From a very young age, both Kamakshi and Gayathri were taught to be proud of the fact that they were they were different and belonged to a reasonably elite group of people. They were taught to be proud of the uniqueness of their identities and not be cowed down by societal norms and associated pressures put on them.

Lakshmi Amma’s lessons in this regard had extremely divergent impacts on both Kamakshi and Gayathri. While the former took it up as an insult that society treated her differently and she decided to ‘rebel’ against it in her own way, the latter took the fact that she was ‘different’ in her stride, and made her peace with it at a very young age.

This ended up with Kamakshi being very ‘loud’ in terms of proudly proclaiming and celebrating the fact that she was ‘different’ at every given opportunity. She ended up making a lot of friends with similar disposition towards society and together they formed quite a merry group. While Gayathri also was friends with them, the fact remained that she was much more subdued and muted when it came to some of the activities of the group. She preferred to underplay her personality and more often than not, just stuck to herself, remaining contented with leading a quiet, even dull life.

And this stark difference in their personalities was made extremely visible every year during the annual festival at the Koothandavar temple at Koovagam. These two days of the year were when Kamakshi was happiest, joining in all the noisy festivities, the crowds, the celebrations when the participants in the festival got together and got married to the Koothandavar deity at the temple. These were the days when the entire village of Koovagam played host to transgenders and transvestites from around the world and thus, she was in her element. The fact that the entire village was filled with her ‘kind’ meant that she thoroughly enjoyed herself during this event.

Gayathri in the meanwhile plied her wares at the same festival, quietly making her rounds of all the small shops in the temple complex selling the agarbathis that Lakshmi Amma and she made, the proceeds of which would sustain the trio for the rest of the year. The fact that the two day annual festival would see huge numbers of arathis and archanais to the presiding deity, Koothandavar meant that the demand for agarbathis would be high.

While the rest of the community including Kamakshi looked forward to the annual festival to celebrate their uniqueness, Gayathri looked forward to it to sustain her ‘family’. While one of them was the life of the party, the other was content standing by on the sidelines and looking on.



Agarbathis – incense sticks used in performing religious rituals

Arathis and archanais – ritual offerings made to temple deities, which would include offerings of fruits, incense sticks and coconuts


Please note that the intention of this post was not to hurt the sentiments or feelings of any particular community in any form or fashion. This post was just an attempt to explore the differences in the personalities of the protagonists who happened to be transgenders.


This post is written for WordPress Daily Prompts: 365 Writing Prompts where the idea is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided.

Today’s prompt was “Do parties and crowds fill you with energy, or send you scurrying for peace and quiet” and I have taken the liberty of weaving a fictional post using the prompt.


22 thoughts on “Chalk and cheese

  1. Indeed a very different take on the prompt Jai. His ways are very unique in the sense that how two people with similar background and similar upbringing end up being so very different. In fact, the same goes for the children born to the same mother. How very different each of us is. I liked the way you fictionalised a story around the prompt.

    • @Rekha, this was a post which I wasn’t very comfortable with especially considering the fact that this was yet another transgender story right after the Lacho story got published in Femina and all that, but am glad you liked the post. And yes, completely agree with you, it is the fact that each one of us is different in our own ways that makes us all equally interesting, doesn’t it ? 🙂

  2. Jairam sir this was a totally different aspect/view – I just felt that you finished the post hurriedly and there are some more tales left about G and K.


  3. This is the second post by you I am reading about transgenders. And I agree with Mahesh that the story was abrupt…I was expecting more. The contrast of personalities have been sketched well.

    • @Janaki, given that this was my second post about transgenders in a short time, I guess somewhere I was in a hurry to finish up the story. Plus I was not too confident that I was doing too much justice to the prompt itself, and that was probably another reason why I kind of rushed the ending quite a bit. However, thanks for reading the post and providing your feedback, will surely try and incorporate the same in future posts 😀

    • @Jas, thank you so much, glad you liked the post and glad that the contrast came out well, that was one of the objectives of the post as well as the title suggests 🙂

  4. That was a different take Jairam.. really… thinking of using this topic ans using the prompt to explore the behaviour’s transgenders portray was a great idea! Well written.

  5. I liked the way you led the story up to the point when I realized who the two protagonists were. But somewhere I feel you might like to have a part 2.. this seems a bit abrupt. I would like to know what happened to them because of the difference? Good story!!! And a great choice about the “different” key characters.

    • @Meera, yes, given the feedback I have received on this post, it is quite unanimous that the ending was quite abrupt and I kind of left readers hanging in the balance waiting to find out what happened to the protagonists 🙂 Feedback taken and registered strongly in my mind to be incorporated in future posts 🙂

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