Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An Interesting Meal

Day before yesterday I had a meal quite delicious and truly special cooked by an Aravani (a transgender) at her small hut, hardly of the size of a maruthi van, at a small town called Kallippetti in Maduri. I call it special because such a thing had never happened in my life before. I can boldly say that the very little rice and Karuvad (Fish curry) she offered is one among the best I have ever had in my life.

This is the second time I traveled with my friends Rayson and Susan, shooting this Aravani family for Susan’s Ph D research on their lifestyle, art and culture. I was too doubtful about this idea initially as I have seen them only as a rude and ridiculous lot disturbing common people around. Yet, true to the inner call for adventure n thus realizing the fact that a second thought is of no scope, I joined them on this documentary mission almost a year back.

Like last time, we got a warm welcome from the inhabitants constituting of 6 to 7 Aravanis and their mother “Pandi Ammal”. I am not getting into any details of the visit coz that would be like intruding into Susan’s research material. At the same time I can’t be but express my feeling about them for being in their hospitality for 2 days. In spite of their sexual orientation towards men, I have not felt anything different in their attitude towards life from others. In fact, I found them extremely talented, philosophical and creative. Their only difference is that most of them are male by birth and female by heart. They talk-walk-dress-dream like a woman longing for the identity of a woman.

Susan explains it in this way “If you consider man and woman are two ends of a string these people comes somewhere in between. Nobody can be a complete man or a complete woman.” In fact after the first day shoot I had to tell her, if she is 80 % woman, I could see them as 100% woman by heart.

Yet before blaming the society, I would like to blame myself for acting indifferent. It so happened that on the return journey, I was feeling so restless when the guy who came with us as our guide openly admitted that he is a bisexual living a duel life.


Indolent Doodle said...

Don't you also think that society's indifference to them or rude behaviour towards them is also due to the way they sometimes behave toweards us. Like we hear the cases about them kidnapping young kids and forcing them to lead a life they do not want to....

Cockroach said...

Yea it's their frustration towards the society that is getting reflected in their day today behaviour and the cause is nobody else but you and me. Btwn i've not heard of any kidnapping issue as u mentioned. We saw only those who come out from theirown homes coz of neglection and torture by dear and near ones. In fact many of them told that they can neither go to a gents toilet or a ladies toilet...neither sit in gents seat in the bus nor at the lady's...

Anonymous said...

I've grown up knowing these people as family, and when family is there - gender merges! I know I am not a complete woman, but still do not have to explain why I am not. There is absolutely no need of explanation here, but Society exists like a separate organ all this while. And to the comment above - men rape, women kill, and just because crime exists among aravanis, don't they just become more similar than different. A typical off-hand comment of mine!!