They say ‘love transcends boundaries’ but for Meera and Rizwan it has also transcended gender.
Meera, an Indian classical dancer, was known as a man -- Gaurav Sharma -- before she underwent a sex change operation in order to be with her lover in Pakistan.
To others it may seem a very bold step, but to Meera, it’s just shedding her identity to be with someone who she feels is an extension of her soul, reported Times Of India.
Meera is a a trained Kathak dancer who resides in Lucknow, and has danced at several shows abroad and in India. She has also written books on Sufi poetry and Indian classical dance and music and is presently doing research on the Lucknow gharana of Kathak.
She met her partner, Rizwan, over Facebook in connection to her field of work. She says "The topic was related to Sufism which has always reasoned everything around me. He represents a Sufi school of thought too and was helping me understand the nuances for my work."
However as they got to know each other better, Meera realized that though she had never met Rizwan except on Skype chats, they had a spiritual connection. "It's not a physical relationship. It's a spiritual experience for both of us," she said.
Rizwan eventually proposed marriage to Meera, who accepted, but time was against them as Rizwan’s mother had already started looking for a partner for him. "Internet surfing gave the solution in the form of sex conversion surgery for which both of us volunteered," she says.
When Rizwan volunteered to undergo sex change Meera had a life changing epiphany, "I thought this man is willing to give up his identity and personality for me. Why can't I do it for him?", reports DNA.
However the path ahead was to be a challenging one for Gaurav to say the least. Fears of becoming an entirely different person plagued Gaurav. His family was opposed to the operation, except his sister Mandakini Sharma, an accomplished dancer and TV serial actress who stood firmly by Gaurav throughout his transformation. "She was a pillar of support for me. She stood by me all along and never doubted my choice,” Meera tells DNA.
Things began to fall in place when Meera’s friends pitched in to raise the 8 lakhs needed for the sex change operation.
Plastic surgeon Dr Mithilesh Mishra and endocrinologist Dr Ameya Joshi, helped make Meera’s transformation possible. After 6 months of counseling, Gaurav was ready for his hormone therapy. Gaurav did not display any doubts about his conversion as Dr. Mishra says "In the initial counseling sessions itself, it was very clear that Gaurav was completely prepared in his mind for the gender change. This made things that much easier," reported DNA.
"Three surgeries took place in August, September and October to help me embrace a dream life with my beloved," says Meera. Meera is now eagerly awaiting Rizwan’s arrival to India in March. This will be their first meeting.
Although her well wishers fear for her future she is complacent as she tells Times of India, "I have immense faith in the Almighty. And I know that even if he does something which I do not want... it will be for my good." She calls kathak her life. "...I cannot live without it. Now, Rizwan is by my side in my endeavour."
Contact HuffPost India
Also see on HuffPost: