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.