Aarav Appukuttan, born a woman, always felt trapped in his own body. Sukanyeah Krishna, born a man, could exactly identify with the feeling of emotional churn and societal pressure growing up. A three-hour wait at a doctor's clinic for consultation for gender reassignment, and snatches of an overheard conversation turned out to be the factors the brought the two of them together for friendship, love and soon, matrimony.
Aarav, 46, is now a man and Sukanyeah, 22, a woman. According to the Hindustan Times, Aarav spent a large part of his school years uncomfortable in his own skin. He used to have long hair and would sit next to the girls in his class, but "felt unnerved by his attraction to them." His gender identity disorder (GID) only got worse, he told the paper, and after he lost his mother and had to take care of his siblings. He knew that he would have to wait before he got help for himself.
"I had to restrain myself and keep my feelings in check for 45 years. I always behaved like everything was normal," he told the paper.
Things have been tough for Sukanyeah as well. Her mother took her to a doctor who started her on male hormone therapy, according to the report. Both Sukanyeah and Aarav endured humiliation and mockery from strangers growing up for not fully embracing the gender they were born with and the transitioning has been tough.
"No one understood what I was going through. During my Class 10 board exams, I fainted owing to the pressure," she told HT.
Sukanyeah was speaking on the phone at the Mumbai clinic in Malayalam when Aarav overheard parts of the conversation. The two got talking and soon a bond of friendship and understanding grew.
"He went to Kerala and I returned to Bangalore, where I had moved two years ago for my job. A day later, Aarav called me and we discussed our surgeries and our treatment in detail. At first, we would speak once a week, then it became twice a week. Soon, we started talking very day," she told Mid-day.
Their mutual desire to help other children with GID, long conversations on phone, and a familiar history of family troubles brought them closer together. They plan to marry next month.
"We are now planning to get married in a temple, with all the rituals. Both our families are happy for us. We have also decided to adopt a child, since we are aware that post surgery I won't be able to conceive," Aarav, who's a tour manager, told Mid-Day.
"We are India's first complete transgender couple and we are happy," Sukanyeah told the Deccan Chronicle.