‘Everyone praises my dance, but nobody asks if I have eaten’

7:40 Ki Ladies Special may sound like a regular local train in Mumbai.

What makes it special is that a transgender named Pooja Sharma provides entertainment on this train with her scintillating dance performances.

Now, her life story is being told in a Hindi play by Director Viren Basoya through his theatre group called Awara.

“My wife saw Pooja Sharma’s video online. In that video, Pooja says, ‘Everyone praises my dance, but nobody asks me how I am, if I have eaten today.’ My wife was touched and felt that her story needs to be told.”

Pooja, 42, plays herself in the play, as Basoya felt she would best connect with the audience as it was her life and her experiences.

“We have to realise that although society accepts and identifies a transgender, life is not easy for them. They cannot rent a house easily, they cannot get a job easily, they cannot make friends easily,” Basoya explains.

“From childhood I had a feminine inclination. I used to play with only girls. My parents knew my ways, but hid it from our relatives and society. But truth cannot be hidden for long and so it became known as I grew up,” says Pooja.

Born in Kolkata, she was respected for her dancing skills.

A friend in Mumbai told her that there was a dance competition in the city, and that she was welcome to join their group.

So Pooja came to Mumbai and took part in the dance competition and the group won.

The win, however, did not give her an opportunity to dance on stage.

She realised that members of her community would beg at traffic signals.

“I found some of them very scary, so I chose trains to earn my living,” she explains.

“In the beginning, I used to get scared, but now I have been dancing in the ladies compartment for more than a decade,” she says.

When Colors TV heard of her, they invited her on their reality show.

“Lately, I have also been a judge on a dance reality show,” she says proudly.

“I have spent Rs 1.5 lakh for the audio and Rs 2 lakh-Rs 3 lakh for the other essentials. I also have to pay the 20 actors who are in the play,” Basoya says.

7:40 Ki Ladies Special will play at the Mukkti Cultural Hub in Andheri, Mumbai, at 7:30 pm on July 9.

Tickets are available at bookmyshow.com for Rs 200 and Rs 500.

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