A Slippery Slope in Day Trading – A Reluctant Auditionee

  • Title: A Slippery Slope in Day Trading
  • Subtitle: A Reluctant Auditionee
  • Author: Yu Sakurazawa
  • Category: MTF

18-year-old Raj Dixit is sick of his life. He finds studies boring. His part-time job is monotonous. His alcoholic mother and avaricious father call him a freeloader. They nag Raj to contribute to the family income.

Raj can’t sleep in the night. He is plagued by nightmares of the scarring experiences he had as a child actor.

One evening, Raj runs into Vimal Chopra, the producer who had first cast him in movies. Raj confides his financial troubles in Chopra. Chopra convinces Raj that he can become rich through day trading. Raj uses his meager savings and borrows a huge amount from Chopra for leveraged trading. The next day, Raj buys and sells stock under Chopra’s advice. At the end of the day, he has suffered a huge loss. He now owes Chopra a hefty sum.

Chopra wants his money back immediately. He offers Raj an alternative — to star in one of his movies and repay him from his salary. Little does Raj realize that Chopra intends casting him in
a female role.

A Slippery Slope in Day Trading

Subtitle: A Reluctant Auditionee

Author: Yu Sakurazawa

Chapter 1 – Parents’ Cash Cow

My lips were dry. The satchel weighed heavily on my back. Sitting through 7 hours of lectures on economics, sociology and history had been tedious. I was exhausted. Yet I decided to walk home from my college near Horizon Hospital to my small two bed room flat in Ghatkopar. I didn’t have much money on me and wished to save on bus charge.

I reached home and poured myself a glass of water. Neither of my parents gave me even a glance. My father was busy with his translation work. He was not 60 years old yet, but had opted for early retirement after a road accident had left him wheel-chair bound. When he was hale and hearty, dad had worked as a school teacher, teaching Marathi to hordes of children.

My mother was sitting on a well-worn sofa in the living room. Her gaze was the unfocused one of an alcoholic. She swayed from side to side. A big bottle of gin was clenched firmly in one delicate, long-fingered hand. My mom took a long swig of it. She drank it neat.

Mom worked as a cook in a few houses. After work, she relaxed with a drink. Sometimes, that one drink multiplied into many. During these times, mom became aggressive, abusive and quarrelsome. She called my dad impotent and me a wimp. Dad mostly remained silent during these times. I felt greatly upset and argued with my mom.

Presently, my students started trickling in. They were about 10 years old and 5 in number. I helped them with their homework, earning Rs. 2,500 per month. I wished to buy good clothes, shoes and reference books. Since my parents could give me only a limited amount of cash, I had decided to start giving tuition classes for the neighborhood children to earn some money.

I taught for a grueling three hours. Finally, my students collected their books and left my home. I was dead tired. I walked to the bathroom and splashed my face with tap water. As I dried it with a towel, I could help admiring myself in the full-length bathroom mirror.

My skin was milky white. My features were chiseled and delicate. My eyes were mysterious emerald green. My head was replete with thick, glossy black hair.

My figure was slender. It was that way naturally, without my having to exercise. For a minute, I wondered why I wasn’t on the silver screen. I hastily withdrew my thought. I recalled that I had spent 5 years of my childhood as a child actor and had hated every minute of it.

It had all begun when I had accompanied my mom to the grocery store. A tall man with high-cheek bones had swooped in on us, eyed me greedily and said,

“You’re beautiful, kid. Would you like to act in the movies?”

I hated films. I scarcely remembered having seen more than 2 or 3 of them up to that point. I wanted to study hard and grow up to become an astrophysicist.

“No” I said shaking my head.

“Oh shut up, Raj” said my mom roughly gripping me by the shoulder. She turned to Chopra, grinned from ear-to-year and said,

“Of course he’d love to. Are you a film producer or something?”

“Yes” affirmed the man “I’m currently producing a movie called Nanhi Jadugar (a little female magician) along with three other producers. We were looking for a beautiful female child to play the lead. Raj is a boy, but a pretty one. Would you be kind enough to bring him to the auditions tomorrow? It’s in Andheri West”.

“I sure will” simpered my mom. She was unable to contain her excitement. The next day, she made me skip school and dragged me to the audition in an old rundown building. The other kids assembled in the hall were all girls. I felt shy and awkward to be the only boy auditioning for a part meant only for girls.

When my turn came, I said my lines out reluctantly. Yet I was selected for the lead role. The part required me to wear a frilly frock and a wig of bobbed hair. I loathed being dressed as a girl. I threw a tantrum and refused to go for the shoots. My mom whacked me, put me in a frock and dragged me. Dad also forced me to go. He reminded me that I had several lakhs of rupees riding on me.

Nanhi Jadugar became a big hit. Chopra gave me a new screen name: Baby Angel. The audience accepted me as a girl. I received numerous other film offers, all for girl’s roles. My parents forced me to act in all of them, as they wanted to benefit from my earnings. The next five years passed in a haze of casting calls, sweaty auditions, memorizing dialogues and being put in alien scenes I couldn’t fully relate to. The “acting” involved mugging corny lines and hamming it up on screen. I used to perform tacky melodramatic scenes, emotionally distancing myself from what I was doing. My mom would sit at the farthest end of the sets, eying me like a hawk to make sure that I didn’t flee the place.

My school life became hell. The fact that I performed girls’ roles caused much amusement. My classmates called me derogatory terms like “hijra” or “chakka” (which mean transvestite). I remember an instance when a group of class mates had accosted me in the school restroom and pulled my shorts down in order to ascertain if I indeed had a penis.

The incident left me scarred. I came home crying. When I narrated the day’s incidents to my parents, they laughed out loud and said that I was over-reacting. They didn’t realize how traumatized I was.

I reported to the studio sets the next day, still disturbed by the previous day’s happenings. Dev, a lanky, brown-skinned 14-year-old tea boy, noticed that I was upset. He asked me what was wrong. Dev was the only person who cared about me and understood my feelings.

I reiterated the unsavory events of the previous day. Tears began running down my cheeks. Dev listened attentively, his face growing graver by the minute. At the end of my narrative, he shook his head sadly and said,

“Your classmates did a terrible thing. I’m sorry you had to go through such an ordeal”.

I smiled through my tears. “Thank you for understanding” I said.

Dev pinched my cheeks affectionately and smiled. “Now cheer up” he said “a cute boy like you shouldn’t be crying”.

“Do you like me only because I look cute?” I asked Dev.

Dev thought for a moment. “No” he said after a while “I like you because you are a hardworking boy, just like me. I also like you because you are kind-hearted”.

“Am I kind-hearted?” I asked. This wasn’t a quality I had reflected on.

“Yes, you have a heart of gold” Dev confirmed “other child actors treat me like a shit. They yell at me all the time and order me around as if I was their personal servant. You aren’t like that. You treat me with respect”.

“You deserve to be respected” I said smiling.

Three years later, I turned 12. Much to my parents’ disappointment, I stopped getting movie offers. I went to school like a normal kid and lost touch with all the people in the movie world. I also forgot all about Dev.

I shifted my school, so no one in my new school (and later, college) knew I was Baby Angel. No one teased or taunted me any longer. Yet the agony of my past lingered. Every time, I found myself attracted to a girl and wished to approach her, a voice inside me called me “hijra”. And every time I watched a man and a woman engaged in coitus on one of the numerous free porn videos on the internet, a persistent voice jeered and challenged me “Chakka, can you perform like him?”

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