The dancing girl of the Ladies’ Special Mumbai Local

 The dancing girl of the Ladies’ Special Mumbai Local

Transgender Dancer Pooja Sharma ‘Rekha’ turns into an internet sensation

For years I have been writing about various artists, covering events, profiling dancers, talking of innovative choreographies, future of dancers, dance festivals, shows and more. But today I would like to introduce you all to a very special dancer, the one who has become an internet sensation like non other, while she dances and asks people for only one rupee on the 7:40 am Mumbai Ladies Special local train. Meet the extraordinary Pooja Sharma aks Pooja Sharma ‘Rekha’.

The dancing diva

Amid the gardi (crowd) of Mumbai locals, a vibrant face has evolved with massive fame and popularity. Dressed in scintillating silks and adorned with multiple ornaments, a transgender woman from the Kinnar community, Pooja Sharma has been successful in attracting eyes from all directions. While she boards the local train to entertain commuters with her dance in return of an aid of ₹1, it is her sophisticated style and glam chic outfits that impress all who see her.
Joyously referred to as the Bollywood diva ‘Rekha’, Pooja captivates everyone through her elegant sarees and extravagant accessories. As a member of the Kinnar community, she started her journey by performing ‘Mangti’ (begging) in the 7:40 Ladies’ Special Mumbai Local. All her admirers started to take her dancing videos and often posted those on various social media platforms. Her charming persona and graceful dance won the hearts of scores of netizens. With over 141k followers, Pooja garnered humongous attention in a quick time, becoming an instant love of netizens.
Enjoying her glory as a renowned celebrity, Pooja is now collaborating with dance studios, inaugurating new establishments, gracing special events, giving interviews… the list goes on and on. From partnering with dancer Devesh Mirchandani to being the guest of honour at the launch of high-end stores, her stardom is getting bigger with each passing day.
Despite having a tumultuous life, Pooja’s faith in God and humanity is simply astounding! The way she recalls her childhood might put you to tears but her alight spirit and a bright smile can surely cheer you up any time of the day.
I invited Pooja Sharma ‘Rekha’ to my house and the conversation I had is something that I will always remember. Excerpts:

The writer and his muse

Tell me all about your journey?
God put me in a man’s body, I was called Palash aks Pols; we come from a very poor family and belong to a remote village near Kolkatta. Our condition was such that we had only a small portion of meal once in two days. In my community, dance is looked down upon and a boy dancing is a taboo. I would hide my feelings and love for dance but secretly draped my mother’s saree and danced to hit film songs with my girlfriends behind the closed doors.

How was your childhood period?
I never made friends with boys as they would tease me for my mannerisms. I felt safe in the company of girls, they never pulled my pants down to check if I was a boy or a girl but, which the boys always did. The same trauma was a part of my house too. I ran away from home, so I could save myself from continuous embarrassment and humiliation. I met Deepa, my Guru who is from the Kinnar community, she embraced me, kept me at her house and looked after me like her own. She never asked me if I was a boy or a girl, she accepted me as I am.

How did you start dancing?
One day, I found myself amidst a dance rehearsal and seeing my moves the choreographer swiftly placed me from the last row to the front. That day I realized that I have the talent of dance which has the potential to impress people. For the show I was given a new name ‘Pooja’. I got dressed for the first time, wore makeup, adorned gajra (flowers) in my hair, draped a saree, wore lots of jewellery, Ohhh I felt complete that day. When I looked at ‘Pooja’ in the mirror I felt extremely shy, so the last name ‘Sharma’ was added to ‘Pooja’. The event was a hit, the organizer appreciated my dance, and thereafter I became a lead dancer at all Kinnar dance shows. People started to call me to dance for their weddings, baby showers and other events.

Transgender Transgender Transgender

How did you reach the city of dreams, Mumbai?
In India, Kinnar community is looked down upon, and in smaller cities the condition is even worse. I came to Mumbai hoping for better acceptance. In this journey I observed that transgenders use tali (clap) and beg on the roads. They are often humiliated, shamed, disgraced for their behaviour and people make fun of them. I decided to change this, no tali, only namaste. No begging on the streets, only dancing inside a train and that also a ladies train because in the gents train life was back to what it was in my village. I did not want myself to be touched in wrong places because like all other women I too respect my body, and no one is allowed to touch it without my permission. And most importantly no asking for money, if someone cares and likes my dance they can pay and that appreciation is restricted to one rupee only.

How does it feel when people say you dress like Rekha and dance like Madhuri?
I worship Rekha ji, she is the epitome of beauty and style for me. I copy her. Madhuri Dixit is my dancing inspiration and I dance to all her songs. But, personally I love to dance to devotional songs as it gives me a lot of peace and helps me connect with the power above, who shows me the way.
I wish and pray for happiness for everyone. The love I have received on the train is marvelous, people shower me with gifts, many call me to their homes and perform my pooja, some even call me Devi. But all I say to them is to have a kind heart that will make us all Devi: who is nurturer and shakti (power).
Turning tables of fate and paving her way to a golden destiny, Pooja Sharma ‘Rekha’ is living the life of her dreams. It is remarkable, that despite all the success that she has received she avows you with her humility. Today, let us all seek inspiration from women like her, who believe in nurturing diversity through compassion and care. Her difference is what makes her special and therein lies the power of her existence.


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1 Comment

  • Very nice

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