Soni’s (Santhosh)Story |Gulbarga
“My father is a priest at Jain temple and mother is a homemaker. I always preferred interacting with girls and playing with them. I was also very much attracted to dress up like them. My friends always teased, laughed behind my back, and called me names. My father always questioned on why I am like this and never allowed me to do anything like girls. One of my friends had a similar mentality like me but never showed it. He is now married and has a family. He was my accomplice in flirting with boys, sharing secrets and spending time. Seeing this, the teachers separated us into different classes. The teachers always pointed fingers at us, and some even proposed sex with us, pretending to call us to the staff room and started hitting me when I refused. They made excuses that I was not performing properly in school and hit me regularly. Since I was closer to girls, the guys tried to use me to get closer to girls. They asked me to pass messages, set them up with the girls. Finally, I refused when I was in second PUC. I discontinued my studies, and joined my dad as a priest. I loved applying mehendi, nail paint but was severely scolded for wearing mehendi being a priest. I never got any opportunity to show my talents. I had to restrict myself to my house to dance or sing. When I met the Jogappa community, I was filled with a desire to join them seeing the respect that they got from society. But, my family opposed and threatened me. I was made to see a girl for marriage and it was almost agreed upon. I felt bad for deceiving a girl and so decided to leave home. I joined the Jogappa community and was very happy. I stayed in Pune with them for 5-6 years. We go around singing songs I praise of our goddess and people pray to us as a form of the goddess. We travel around, attend fairs and so one. I’ve always managed to retain my parent’s teachings and stayed out of bad habits. I don’t know if it was the goddess’ blessings or some other power, he suffered a minor heart attack and he realized my decision and apologized to me. I moved back to their house after a few years and now stay with them.