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The Hijra Whom I Love by Fiza Pathan

July 10, 2014

The Hijra Whom I Love

My friend Danny Roe is dying and I’m sitting here in my house at this time in the night writing a post for my blog, acting like nothing has happened…but something has happened…Danny Roe is dying from blood cancer (ALL) and I think a part of me is going to die with him.

Danny Roe guest blogged for me some days ago when he was in the cancer hospital getting a blood transfusion done. Someone was donating blood to him in the middle of the night because he had gone all pale in the evening. That someone had to donate blood to Danny because they both were a rare blood type…that person was me…I’m a rare blood group and so is Danny. It was funny when my blood was being drawn from my body to fill up Danny’s veins because, even though there is so much discrimination practiced against Hijras or eunuchs in our country, Danny’s blood colour was bright red…just like mine was bright red. Danny Roe ‘came out’ or revealed that he was a Hijra lately on my blog…he was cool about it; but I have seen my Danny suffering all through the seven to eight years I’ve known him…I hate ‘normal’ people for doing what they did to my Danny.

Danny has been molested, sexually harassed, humiliated, ostracized and haggled…he has fought it through. But it looks like the dreaded six letter word ‘Cancer’ is going to defeat this warrior who fought to live a normal life…without making a show of it…without crying out slogans on the roads or working for NGOs…Danny just wanted to be one of us…just like the gang, and in a few days’ time he is going to run his last marathon or should I say, Danny’s blood is going to run its last marathon for Danny Roe the Hijra is not and has not given up yet.

It was three years ago when I was teaching in school, I was told that my Danny had Cancer (ALL). We all knew there was something wrong with Danny in the sense, we knew he was sick but we did not know it was blood cancer. Danny started getting tired very easily, started limping, coughing terribly, getting fevers which wouldn’t go. But the initial tests did not give Danny or his family a clue about his problem.

When I left school and started to make my tutorial into an empire and help Danny start a second hand library which we called ‘The Sangeeta Library’ it was then that Danny had a fainting spell in the library while he was reading some documents I had sent him on the internet. It was at that time we were told or at least I was told that one of my closest friends had blood cancer in the second stage.

Danny’s condition then got worse as the months went by. He was immediately put on chemotherapy and had regular blood transfusions done. I was one of his main donors as we had the same rare blood group peculiar to the natives of India. While at the cancer hospital, Danny read books on his iPad while I would just sit next to him on a revolving steel stool thinking…and waiting…waiting for this nightmare to stop and for the cancer to go away. Danny would tell me calmly to go home and get back to writing my second book ‘Treasury Of Bizarre Christmas Stories’ which I had stalled because I wanted to be with Danny.

The joke is that Danny hates the way some of the ‘regular’ Hijras act by singing at weddings or on the occasion on the births of sons to families. He especially hated them begging on the streets and vowed that one day he and I would end this crappy life of a Hijra together…Danny vomited blood today on his pillow which shattered my ‘togetherness’ into pieces, my friend is going away…and I’m making a blog post of him as if to say nothing has really happened…that everything is fine.

Danny was keen on seeing the ‘Black Sheep’ documentary which is coming out soon, based on the life of Hijras. I guess he won’t make it that long to see it. He once told me that God was rotten for giving him genitalia of both the sexes but God was even more rotten for giving him the emotions of both the sexes as well. That was why he did not know what to call our relationship…he said that to avoid any confusion he would stick to a platonic relationship and dance like a typical Hijra on my wedding day as a treat. I agree with Danny, it was rotten for God for giving him feelings of both a boy and a girl…it was rotten to give him blood cancer to add to his burdens and to break my heart…yes…God is certainly rotten…He is using karma with the ones who don’t deserve it.

I hate blood transfusions; it makes me nauseous and sick. That is why during a transfusion I always hold Danny’s hand. He caresses it tenderly and tells me to relax. Danny loves transfusions for two reasons. First because he feels a bit better after it and second…because he feels that he at that moment closer to me than any man will ever be in my life…I will run in his veins till ‘time out’ as he puts it.

Danny loves reading like me but he also loves football and is watching the FIFA matches all the time these days. I can’t stand sports but whenever I’m in his hospital room, I just watch these matches to make Danny happy…I may not get that opportunity again.

Danny often tells me that he is sorry to be the first ‘sort of’ man to break my heart but then I tell him that my father already did that 25 years ago by rejecting me because I was a girl and he feels better for not at least being the first.

Why am I writing this blog post today? Maybe to clear my mind and to realize that I can’t hold out for long…Danny Roe, the Hijra that I love is dying…and I don’t know what to do.

When I see Hijras on the street begging these days, I go out of my way to give them some money and tell them to pray for a sick friend of mine who belonged to their community. Once when I was doing this in March before my birthday an elderly Hijra in rags told me this and I quote:

We Hijras give blessings to others. We can’t bless ourselves. Since your friend is a Hijra he will die…he has to for there is no hope for the likes of us.

I was so angry that I grabbed money from my wallet and flung the cash at her swearing under my breath. When Danny heard about this he was terribly annoyed and told me never to do that again because he did not want ‘his kind’ to curse me with infertility which is the standard curse of all Hijras in Indian society.

“That means I’ll have lots of kids because you like me Danny,” I would giggle in the hospital room. Danny would then look up to me and say:

“I don’t believe that Hijras are any different from normal people, but if I have according to my lineage any power that might bless you Fiza, I would bless you with a very happy life….may you enjoy my share of the fun along with yours…and whenever you will need me when I am gone, all you have to do is get out of your home and see a Hijra…I’ll be there in her eyes watching over my family and friends like a sexless angel…which I am!”

“Sexless…yes…angel…NO WAY!” I would reply with a snorty sort of giggle that I am famous for.

Tomorrow I will be teaching English language to the 7th and 8th graders…they will see the white bandages on my hands and will think that I have had a blood test…but only I will know the truth…Danny Roe is dying…and here I am sad but willing to wish for another day for my Hijra…the Hijra I love.

Copyright 2014 Fiza Pathan


  1. Nimi permalink

    Hi Fiza,
    There are usually two reasons I don’t leave a comment after reading a blog.
    One is I don’t like it enough to make the effort to stop and write.
    The second is that I am so moved that I don’t know what to write.
    After reading your words about Danny, I was not going to write anything because I was so touched that I was at a loss of words.
    God bless you!

  2. Most of us are cowards we all think and feel pity but never get around to doing something worthwhile. Hats off to Danny for his fighting spirit and to you for being such a true friend. My prayers are with you both.

  3. Fiza,
    This post is really very moving. My thoughts are with Danny

  4. Truly touched !

    • Thank you for your constant support Aziz. Let us hope for the best.

      • Xyz permalink

        Is Danny Roe a real human being or just another fragment of your imagination?

  5. Dina Roberts permalink

    Cancer is so cruel. I am sorry you are losing your friend. It sounds like you have a beautiful relationship and your blog post tribute to him is very lovely.

  6. dear Fiza,
    You have an openness and receptivity that is beautiful! Both you and Danny are exceptional individuals…you are correct, we all have the SAME color of blood…we are interconnected…what we breathe, we either give or take to another…
    I may have misinterpreted what you implied by your use of the word, “karma.” I do not see karma as revenge. You might want to read this beautiful blog, also on WordPress:
    I am sorry for the physical suffering that Danny is experiencing…I am glad he has YOU with him! You are each other’s strength! May LOVE surround you both and guide you through your days together!

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