Mumbai, India's financial capital has 55% of its population inhabiting slums. In Mumbai, Dharavi with an estimated population of one million people is one of the biggest slum areas in the whole of Asia. Laxmi also lives in Dharavi in one room house with cemented walls supporting corrugated tin roofing, and having bathroom and toilet facilities. Laxmi is a transgender and lives alone in the house which she maintains nicely. She has a TV with a dish antenna in the house.
Most of transgender live close by, forming a closely knit community. They always support their community members through thick and thin, the reason being that they have to face stiff social ostracism because of their gender. Though we claim to be living in 21st century, we haven't given up our narrowly parochial outlook on some issues, this being the one of them.
Transgender earn their livelihood by singing and dancing on happy occasions of births and marriages of people, most of whom generously offer them money and other things, believing that this will bring good luck to them.
One day, Laxmi went to buy some milk in a nearby shop as she had to prepare some tea and breakfast. Next to the shop was a big dust bin, from which came muffled feeble cries of a new born, which she could hear on listening carefully. With curiosity, she peeped into the bin and saw a new-born baby wrapped in a dirty white cloth. It appeared that somebody had abandoned it as it might have been born out of wedlock or the mother might have been unable to bring it up. She took it out carefully and asked those standing nearby about the person, who had left it in bin. All were bewildered to see an abandoned new-born baby boy and no one could tell who had left the feeble baby there. Then Laxmi decides that she would take it home and bring it up as her own baby.
Soon her community comes to know that Laxmi has brought home a new-born baby that she found abandoned in a dust bin. Most of them come and express their support to Laxmi's decision. They promised her that they would extend every possible help in bringing up the baby. There appeared to be a sort of ambiance of happiness in the community. There was unanimous decision by the community that they would celebrate the occasion of the new arrival.
Laxmi decides to begin legal procedure for adopting the baby. Though initially there was hindrance in the process of adoption because of her gender, but on intervention of a NGO spearheading the cause of transgender, it could finally be materialized.
After all the legal formalities of adoption are over, Laxmi plans a get-together of her community and other neighbors. To celebrate the occasion, festivities including singing and dancing followed by a sumptuous dinner are held at an open space nearby. All invitees have a ball. When celebrations are over, they leave giving their blessings and gift to the baby boy.
Laxmi takes care of the baby with absolute dedication like a mother. She makes sure that he is fed and tended to properly. Mostly, she acts like a doting mother. Moreover, she gets full co-operation from her community members.
"The baby has been showing good growth and is healthy." tells the doctor whom Laxmi consults often.
The baby grows into a healthy boy of two years. His playful acts fascinate Laxmi and others. She decides that it is an opportune time to christen the baby and, therefore, will take him to Siddhi Vinyanak temple to seek blessings of Lord Ganesha before holding a function for the purpose. She starts thinking of some good names with positive meanings. She speaks her mind to some of her close friends about christening ceremony. They uphold her decision.
Next week on Monday, Laxmi takes the baby to the temple along with two of her best friends. She requests the main pundit of the temple to perform the ceremony of baptism by performing a puja and naming the boy - Abhay Singh. The pundit readily agrees to her request. After the ceremony is over, she offers him Rs. 2001/- as a token for his services. After seeking blessings of Lord Ganesh, she leaves the temple with friends, making sure not to forget to offer money to the poor people assembled outside the temple.
On their way back, Laxmi speaks her mind of celebrating the occasion by having a get-together, to which her friends agree unanimously.
Rani, a close friend of hers, takes the responsibility of arranging a get-together for the occasion at an open vacant space nearby as she has a knack of arranging such parties in good taste. There will be more invitees this time than the previous get-together as many will be invited from other areas as well.
On the day of get-together, all the invitees are present because such an auspicious occasion is quite rare in their community. All enjoyed fully and had a lovely time, which they will always remember. Every one left after offering blessing and gifts to Abhay, who was the cynosure of all eyes.