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A new life for eunuchs

Krishna Chakraborty will no longer need to beg. The 27-year-old eunuch has found a respectable way to earn a living, thanks to make-up artist and hairstylist Sangeeta Burman.

Sangeeta, who runs beauty salon Envy Me in Behala, is training five eunuchs in hairstyling and make-up and will hire them in her parlour so they could live with dignity.

“My salon is almost 15 years old and I’ve known members of this community for long since they’d come in for facial, haircut or some beauty treatment. I hit upon the idea of training and recruiting them in my salon when they talked about their lives and troubles with me,” said Sangeeta, 40.

It, however, took a lot of effort by her to try and persuade eunuchs to join the course. Finally, five of them came forward to sign up.

“I also hope to teach them spoken English and tailoring so they have a couple of practical choices for a living,” added Sangeeta.

Sangeeta has opened a salon adjoining the existing one, which will be used to train the five eunuchs.

Krishna, one of the five, used to deliver newspapers and milk till she suffered serious burns after a stove burst.

“I could not work for a long time and then finally my guru ma sent me out to beg at traffic signals. It’s not easy since I find it hard to stay out in the sun. People don’t respect us, sometimes they shoo us away. I did not like that life. I met Sangeetadi when I came begging to her at a traffic signal. She told me about this unheard-of opportunity. I thought we earn between Rs 150 and 500 a day by begging. Why not earn more doing something respectable,” said Krishna.

Excited at the prospect of coming out of her shadowy existence, Krishna is looking forward to getting started on the beautician’s course.

“If I can complete this course, learn some English and earn money, I’m sure others like me will be inspired to live a more meaningful life.”