MUMBAI (Web Desk) – An Indian kathak dancer has undergone gender change surgery to live with her Pakistani beloved, Rizwan, braving opposition from family and society.

“It began on a very usual note about five years ago,” Gaurav, now renamed Meera, told Times of India on Tuesday.

Originally from Lucknow, Meera said she grew up normal, had affairs with women and was about to marry when she met Rizwan over a social networking site in connection with her PhD.

“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.

“A time came when we started feeling that we are an extension of each other’s soul,” said Meera, who has never met Rizwan and is likely to meet him when he visits her in March.

She is right now in Mumbai to meet surgeon Dr Mithlesh Mitra, who operated upon her.

“The companionship grew stronger and a time came when he became my mehboob (beloved). In Sufism, that is the pinnacle of love and devotion that crosses boundaries of caste, creed and even gender,” said the young dancer, adding that they were amazed to find their personalities and thinking matched cent percent.

“I did not realise when he accepted my feelings for him and our bond developed so deep.”

She said they felt their end was near as committing to anyone else was suicidal when Rizwan’s mother started looking for a match for him.

“Internet surfing gave the solution in the form of sex conversion surgery for which both of us volunteered.”

Meera approached Dr Mitra, who sent him for six-month counselling, over a year ago. “Hormone therapy was the next step to prepare for conversion.”

She also told TOI that her family was against the decision. “Three surgeries took place in August, September and October to help me embrace a dream life with my beloved,” she added.

Meera cited poet Rumi saying “reason is powerless in the expression of love” to explain her love.

She said some of her friends in Lucknow fear for her future and ask what would happen if Rizwan betrays her.

“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 called kathak her life. “…I cannot live without it. Now, Rizwan is by my side in my endeavour.”