Fortnight after Women’s Day: Women laugh their asses off as Men Dress Like Women to please the Goddess

This has nothing to do with the woke or lgbtq movement but more to do with cultural heritage. Here’s the deal – If you’re a man and you need something: make a wish, dress like a woman, walk to this particular temple and perform the ritualistic prayer and your wish is granted. You can’t just do this any day, there is a ‘festival of the traditional lamp’ that spreads over a fortnight starting March 24 this year. On the final two days of the festival, men are allowed to dress as women if they wish. If they do dress as women, they are obliged to  carry the traditional oil lamp to make their offerings, reminiscent  of the 18th century girls who sat at the temple steps weaving flowers into garlands.

Historically, this event used to be a small town-like affair in which a few hundred families took part. The dresses worn by the men were simple –  just a traditional sari like those worn by the flower vendors. Of course there was no lipstick at the time nor were there wigs. Strings of flowers were pinned onto their short hair using clips and their hands were adorned with lots of bangles.

Over hundreds of years, this tradition almost always saw the participation of men who worked as show artists performing drama or dances like Kathak and Bharatanatyam. They travelled great lengths to ensure their presence for the prayer – they felt it was part of their livelihood to dress in women’s clothes and they should give thanks to the Goddess. The front runners of the time were local families to whom the Goddess is very dear and loved.

People flocked in from neighboring towns to .watch the parade. It was ritualistic that the dressed men carry an oil lamp as they walk in two single files, on the streets that led to the temple. The walk is filled with fanfare as the temple elephants lead the march just behind a group of drummers sounding thundering beats on traditional instruments. The band and elephants stop their march at the tank but the ‘ladies with the lamps’ continue in, as they make their way to the sanctum. There  they perform the ritual of the lamp and go around the sanctum thrice before receiving divine blessings.

Traditional Lamp

There is a legend to the event – a group of cow herders were in the forest when they found a peculiar coconut. They tried to break it open only to find drops of blood dripping from the stone. They rushed the stone and the coconut to a renowned priest who stated that it had magical powers and the cow herders had to perform a pooja; However, There was one special condition for the cow herders and the pooja.

In the last decade there has been a rising trend in participation and the incremental numbers are not from the village. Pre covid the number of men who chose to ‘don a dress’ was close to ten thousand. There was a lull post covid and an eventual recovery to four thousand last year.

The event is no longer a simple affair. It has become more glamourous as the women-folk get more say in how the ceremonies should be conducted.

We chatted up with Priya to know what was planned this year. – she was pleased to answer our questions as she narrated  “I was with my friends when news came down the grapevine that a neighbor of mine was to take part – I gasped in disbelief. My friends got worried due to the expression on my face and wondered what happened on the call. I announced …

‘Sanju is going to carry the lamp’ – All the girls gawked in disbelief.

There was an airy silence that filled the atmosphere; as we looked at each other – moments later a smile began to break – climaxing .in a glorious chorus, a celebration of victory and wide smiles flooded our faces”.

We could not recall what we were discussing a while before the call as our thoughts strayed to Sanju and what this meant.

Jimikis

My friend Akshaya said “Don’t  spare him, huh, make sure to use permanent lipstick” to which all burst into laughter then another retorted “No that’s too cruel …”.

She continued “just make sure he has his ears and  nose bored and wears one of those huge mega jimikis” and we all laughed in agreement.

The idea seemed ‘just perfect’ as wearing jimikis will  announce the fact that he had to have his ears bored – that seemed permanent enough. – any woman will recognize a closed boring.

From there the discussion maneuvered to how he should be dressed – and we were not going to let him off lightly; we debated it thoroughly and came up with a lot of ideas.

We finally came to the conclusion that he should either be dressed as a Bharatanatyam dancer or a bride.

we wanted it all: the show, the works and yes we decided there will be a training session and a photo shoot; as though all decisions were in our hands – lmao.” said Priya.

Photo shoot of a Bharatanatyam dancer

“The very thought was exciting us – driving our fantasies to rib tickling laughter. The news captured our attention and completely waylaid our conversation. Now all  that was needed to be done: was to get around his Mother without his knowledge and ensure our wish list gets executed.” , Priya narrated.

Mother plaiting her daughters hair.

Priya being the one closest to Sanju’s mother sought to engage in a conversation with her to find out what her ideas were –  she was appalled to get to know that his mother had only simple things in mind.

“His mother was only thinking ‘how she wished she had a daughter’. She planned to dress him in a silk sari as if he were her daughter”,

Priya and her friends were by now preoccupied with a covert plan; how they should change his mothers mind. “I tell you these older generation people have no sense of style”, she told her friends. “Can you believe she was talking about clip-on earrings!” she sighed. To which another girl responded “At least convince her about the jimikis and nose ring, nah  – we need some permeant markers” thus, was revealed their wicked plan.

Kolam

Early the next morning, Priya went back to his mom just as she was decorating her lawn with a kolam. She bent over and helped beautify the artwork on the ground and started chatting with her. Somewhere along the discussion, she broke into a passionately elaborated appeal saying “Auntie you know how Sanju has refused to carry the lamp till now; this is once in a life time opportunity and all that we will remember are the photos”. Having convinced his Mom that she needs to up-the-game, Priya reported back her achievements to the thunderous applause of the team.

“There will be jimkis and nose rings, he’ll be dressed as a bride. Training was out of the question but yes we could have a photoshoot. Most importantly there will be shopping but we are not allowed to shop with him – we will be secretly intimated the details – so that we could just pass by casually.” she declared triumphantly to her friends, as they held their glee in anticipation.

Clothes to be worn are exhibited at home below the puja chamber days in advance so that all guests can appreciate it.

Priya continued, “Now that he is playing the bride – there will be a ‘bridal shower’ and it will be performed by us.” all were ecstatic. A bridal shower is usually performed the day prior .”We had decided that before the rose water & coconut milk ceremonies we will have him waxed; upper-lip inclusive – so we went about arranging for a beautician.

Our planning and discussions went on and on. To sum up he will need to forget about his manhood for a few weeks and will be dressed to the 9’s (pun intended), in clothing of our choice”. said Priya.

(skip if you wish) Just For Context: Folks around here refer to transgender women as hijras, eunuchs, chakka, third gender or nine as the number nine has a bit hanging that cannot rise. It signifies impotence or dysfunction. All impotent men come under this banner irrespective of how they present themselves. So, if it becomes known that a man is impotent, people would gossip with glee saying ‘He should don the sari’. What they actually mean is he should join the hijras and they will do the snip snip. Likewise every time they see a man in a saree ‘snip snip’ comes to mind. Only a few of them opt for reassignment as snip-snip is a devotion to a host of other Goddesses.

By now it should be obvious that the parade is absolutely delightful and entertaining. Last year women braved covid restrictions to get a glimpse of the show and how they all laughed. In fact they found it difficult to hold a straight face even close up to the sanctum.

There seemed to be an unknown unspoken equation of power that ruled the atmosphere as rules got reversed. Its quite common to see timid women being eve teased or harassed in broad day light. This rule turned turtle as all the ‘dressed men’ in unison looked timid, shy and seldom dared to look eye to eye with the woman whose gaze was piercing his very thoughts.

The women, instinctively knew something only he knew, which normal men will never understand. This equation of power actually manifests in a  feeling of  empowerment.

All is not like so. There were whole families partaking all dressed en femme. A lot of childless couples come forward to pray for the gift of a child. Then there are those who pray for the gift of a son and these families usually have all girls.

There is a tradition around these parts; a separation of women from girls through clothing. This separation is most obvious if you visit any temple on a Friday or an auspicious day.

Only mature women wear saris – little girls wear a skirt and blouse – the skirt being full length

You sometimes find a role play amongst these couples, where in the wife plays the daughter and the husband ‘the mother’. It looks like they have their own sense of fun going on as the wife wears a skirt and blouse and the husband sports a saree..

The second genre you will see are the mother-son combinations. You can almost tell when the son has been forced against his wishes. If you do catch a mother son combo and the son is wearing a saree then one of them has gone a bit overboard. In most cases, the son opts for little girl outfits to wiggle out of the embarrassment of wearing women’s underwear, essential for the shape and fall of the sari.

In a nutshell:  if the choice is a saree, he’s not going to be able to do it himself and the mother usually does it; However, ever so often young girls his age from the neighborhood keep begging his mother so she allows them to do it instead.

He first has to wear lingerie – which is then stuffed appropriately.

Back hooked blouse

Then he has to wear a blouse over his bra. It is almost always a super tight fit that stops where his bust is, exposing his mid riff; It usually has 3 to 6 tiny brass sealing hooks at the back that hook into little intertwined thread loops. The girls are pleased to help him with his blouse as the arms fit tightly – they then fasten the hooks at the back – and thereafter he’s latched in. He will never be able to unhook these even if he tries – he is stuck until someone helps him get it off.  Then he has to wear a special full length skirt –  that is locally referred to as a ‘petticoat’ but is not, natively its called ‘paavaada’; only worn with a saree. Once he is dressed in this full length skirt-and-blouse combo he may wear his foot wear, as they would like to painstakingly get the length and fall of the saree right – as part of the next series of steps.

Petticoat & Blouse before draping the sari

The skirt (petticoat) is constricting till the knees and then flairs out slightly – there are no slits – its an undergarment. It fits tightly pulling his knees and legs together. The curves are essential to how the saree will finally fall; hence some attention to detail. If he has bounceable breasts then there is usually a catwalk session at home to check if it bounces right and make the necessary adjustments. While this is happening, they wait with eagerness – observing his reaction – if he shows signs of enjoying bounce, their faces light up – they have him locked-in for a lifetime. They make him turn around and check that the panty line is clearly visible; If not they make him change the skirt.

He is told to stand in his skirt-and-blouse with his hands lifted; to get it out of the way -as the beginning of the saree is taken by its top corner and tucked into his skirt just above his belly button – in such a manner that the rest of the saree will go round and round his waist to the left from his point of view.

It helps to think of an inverted flower here, as that’s the way we observe a saree on a woman. If we were to look up through a glass ceiling at the saree clad woman- the layers of the saree will look like the many layers of petals of a pretty flower.

 

Each layer of the saree emphasizes what has already been accentuated by the skirt – and the tightness of the fit ensures a certain snugness; making for a shapely woman. So, from the belly button the direction is around his waste towards his left – wrapped around him – and back to his belly – as the top seam gets tucked into the skirt uniformly all along. Round and round we go, quite a few times – there’s a whole length typically 8 meters  and this is just the first part.

The Pallu is placed over her left shoulder and made to fall to below her knees

After he is made to twist around a few times and they get the shape to a  their satisfaction, they pleat the other end of the saree into what is called the pallu; thereafter, placing it on his shoulders, with the edge falling below the back-of-his-knees at times almost touching the floor.

A modest woman

His bust is covered with the same pallu as it makes its way to his left shoulder. They need to get the curvature right so that it just covers the right breast and just about falls off at times. He has to consciously keep taking the seam and covering his breast over and again as this gesture signifies that he is a ‘dignified and modest woman’.

If he walks for too  long exposing his right curvature, it means other things which he will come to know through experience.

Now, the midsection of the saree comprising a couple of meters is still lying on the floor. It is precariously pleated together and bunched at the top and a safety pin is used to keep the bunch in place.

The funniest part is when this bunch of pleats needs to be stuffed into his skirt and laid flat across his abdomen. He wont be able to get this right and one of them will have to let their hands slip right in. They usually add some comedy to this part by turning to the other girls, looking very surprised, and saying “eh in reality nothing is there” lmao.

Every thing is pinned in place and they are sure to warn him of the safety pins near his ding dings. Understanding that the boy does not know how to carry himself in a saree, they almost always fear a wardrobe mishap; and end up using a whole bunch of safety pins all over the place to make it failproof.  In essence the saree is fixed together and he  has no clue how to take it off.

Ensuring the pleats fall well, like the petals of a flower

Draping a saree is an art and most patience is required for the last part – setting the pleats and making it fall right. It is meticulously tugged at various places to get the fall right. After a humungous effort they tell him  ‘Now don’t do anything to upset us’; Then, they take a step back and admire the outcome. if they spot a flaw, they inspect it and adjust it – again and again – in pursuit of perfection.

Once satisfied, they turn their attention to how he carries himself – as this is a very important part  else he will spoil the look of the saree and everything will look just flawed. They teach him a few feminine caricatures that go well with a saree.

Caricature 1: How to look comely

The first caricature is how to look modest and smile, so that it comes across as comely. He cannot just give his usual passport photo smile. He needs to imitate  women to the tee to get the sari meshing in with his look. He should look at the floor when he does it ensuring he comes across as modest and homely.

 

Caricature 2: Shift hair backward

The second caricature is how to pose while keeping his hair from falling in his face – just styling it behind his ear, to expose the fact that his sideburns are completely removed  with the exception of some delicate hair which are further extended with hair extensions. The bonus here, is that he gets to expose his jimikis.

Caricature 3: Exposing his back aka flaunting his hair to the front

The third caricature is to pull his hair to the front – run his fingers through it like he was removing knots – set the finesse and place it back. This caricature allows him to show off any special design at the back of his blouse, like a low back. The same thing can be done hands free by slanting and swerving his head such that his hair flies in front; considered sensual to watch.

caricature 4: How to sit

The fourth is how to sit on a low stool. This has to be done gracefully,  in a particular manner, keeping his knees together all the time while pointing it right. Just before he sits he needs to set the pleats to look graceful. He may also spread out the pallu if he wishes to display its gold embroidered designs.

Caricature 5: Alternate different ways of wearing the Pallu

The fifth caricature requires a bit of skill and practice he should know how to alternate between a few different types of Pallu displays. We’ve already discussed the pleated, now we discuss the spread pallu – when he wants to display the beauty of its embroidery. While spreading out a pallu is simple – skill is required to pleat it and place it back on his shoulders. This cannot be done without exposing his blouse and belly completely – but he will need to do this once in a while. He also learns to simply place it back over his shoulder without pleating which is acceptable; but not for the sacred moment. He further learns to take the pallu around his back – right around him to hold the seam in his right hand.

This caricature is sure to entice him as he now feels the pallu gently caressing his butt and cupping it. This makes him feel good but covers his butt and back. If he leaves the seam being held with his right hand, it will fall back into place, exposing  his back. He now has a couple of choices between looking good and feeling good and can keep interchanging between them. If he wishes a more firm caress he can shift the seam from his right hand to his left, but now the pallu has taken the shape of his butt and he is no longer hiding it. This usually happens when he wishes to free his right hand to do something else with it. To appear pious or in moments of expressing great respect he can pull the pallu over his head like a scarf. To convey the expression of shyness he will need to have the pallu covering his head and the end passing across and covering his lips while he only gazed at the floor.

The saree is a very constricting piece of clothing, with a few meters of cloth always binding his legs together – from the hip downwards to his knees forcing him to walk in dainty steps.

The saree accentuates the beauty of a woman; complementing her shape and femininity. If the boy has any degree of femininity, it is amplified, as though seeking attention: especially around his belly button, hips and arms. Also, his hip shake is now more pronounced due to the single line on which it forces him to walk. They make him repeat the walk time and again  in order to get it right. They tell him to loosen up at his mid riff and allow his hip to shake naturally, if they find him doing the robot. They go into great detail – on which point of the the walk he should transfer his weight to get the right movement. When he gets the walk right, they warn him not to forget it or he will trip and fall.

Now that they have him walking right, they are deeply gratified at their accomplishment and wind down with a beverage – while awaiting the real thing.

As a thank you to all the girls he has to get the beverage prepared under the scrutiny and amusement of the girls; watching him do a few traditional chores in the kitchen: like washing the vessels, preparing the beverage  and laying out a few snacks without wetting his sari.

He then needs to serve them, while they are all seated in the hall (lobby), and thank them for their help. If you’re lost for context – these are the things a girl needs to do, when they come to ask for her hand. (Asking for the hand in marriage is a ceremony in itself wherein she needs to tend to the prospective grooms side of about fifteen people.) There are various twists to this ending theme but in a nutshell…

all they want to see him do, is behave like a traditional woman

 

shocked to recognize

So these are the two traditional genres, apart from the professional show artist who turns up in his respective costume.

Now we move ahead, to the rest of the gamut, the most interesting being; that which gets the grapevine abuzz -the trend of folks who do it for reasons best known to themselves.

This diaspora has overtaken the usual participation as the rainbow flairs its colors and girl-talk clogs the grapevine on ‘who is in the closet’.

We spoke to Sowmya, a veteran in body language, and asked her about the ongoing trend. “Being a woman I can instinctively tell who is doing it and for what reasons.” she said. “Its very exciting when we can look beneath the surface and see exactly what’s going on and here we are not talking about the regular observers of the ceremony. We are talking about those within whom there is conflict” , she smiled.

“It is such a feast for the eyes, I can say openly that today I have cited more boys in my life. The moment we have a clear thought about the persons motives – we smile thinking ‘What a Sister?’ and the person immediately feels a sense of guilt; hanging his head in shame – its like an unwritten code.” said Sowmya pausing for awhile. She then stated “well not everyone”.

Sponsored by Roanyer

Having understood Sowmya’s point of view I wanted some perspective on the family-wide participation nuance, so we caught up with Barghav and Meena – we asked Barghav how he felt dressed as a woman; next to his wife while he walked amongst other men… but he shied away. Meena was  quick to respond “You know all the men were looking at him and not me, they even clicked selfies with him. I think he’s very sexy” she laughed.

Dressed as a bride

Bhargav was too embarrassed to continue the interview and walked a bit further. But Meena was absolutely delighted at his reaction and pushed on. She narrated that after her marriage her husband was not as meek… and she’d often cry alone. She just wished he knew what it was like to be a woman.  “I wanted this for so long and now Mother Goddess has answered our prayers and given us peace. I recommend this to every couple having problems in their family life”, she said.

On being asked how this has affected sex life she responded “Not really, just because he does this does not make him less of a man. The effects of the parade soon wear off”, said the wife

Then she pondered over the question a little, smiled  and added “But not tonight huh! Tonight he is a woman. For sure I will puke if he even makes an advance”. she laughed.

Thali Up gesture – get a husband.

I found a similar narrative in other couples but one who asked not to be named said something I thought might be worth mentioning. There was something funny is the aftermath, for a week or so her husband withdrew from her. She got curious and only later found out that he was indeed dysfunctional. His face fell and was obviously embarrassed to talk about it. Being a loving wife she comforted him saying “Mother is only humbling you to discipline you”. I then spoke to the husband and he seemed to think differently of it. He said that when he was dressed, every time his eyes met a woman’s gaze he felt a different feeling overwhelming him, then at some point this gets really intense: the pores of his skin open up all over his hands and chest, few droplets of cold sweat breaks on his brow, and his heart beat intensifies. He perceives an anxiety as he feels his private parts diminishing then there is a tingling sensation on his nipples which intensifies and climaxes as a concentric circle of warmth moving outwardly – Just then he feels a switch and everything settles down to normal. After the switch he is impotent. Thankfully it only lasts a few days. He said the trick is to look at the floor and not even dare to look up at a woman.

In my effort to chat up with a mother son combination, I  caught up with Reema and her son. The poor boy was almost in tears and she seemed to be enjoying it. The smiling mother stated that this is the first time for him so he’s having trouble adjusting. I asked why force him when he does not like it? To which she gasped responding “he does not like it? he does not like it? … of course he likes it, he’s just fussing – he loves it. Don’t you?” she turned to him and asked. The boy was silent. “Why you’re silent now?” she asked him -“I’ll tell what you do at home?” she threatened. The embarrassed kid did not know where to hide his face. “He’s crying because some of his friends from school just recognized him”, she said.

feels awkward getting recognized.

Upon further questioning he revealed that the girls bullied him and his mother was laughing about it. When I requested more info, she revealed the details. “They said he makes a good girl and that he should  consider becoming a woman.” The mother smiled, still  looking at him while he dared not raise his head to hide his shame. “Tell-na” she urged him, “tell what else they said” when he didn’t respond she added “They even kept a name for him” her face lighting up with delight. “They suggested that from now he should come to school as a girl and wished to know if he wanted to borrow one of their uniforms until his new outfits were ready..” . She was almost hysterical at this point as she continued to narrate his dilemma. “Then they said makeup is not allowed in school he cannot even wear nail polish. But he can wear one set of bangles and smaller earrings.”

Penetrating looks unveil the truth

“Then they elaborated in detail – although you can wear kajal do not do it – you will mess it up – come to school and meet us in the wash room we will do it for you. Listen it is school not film city so if you bring lipstick hide it properly or you will get suspended. You can wear it after class – only after leaving the campus. All the boys will like you chechi”. The boy was feeling completely humiliated while his mother was simply enjoying it. After having her moment she turned to me and said “That’s why he’s crying – now you know.” By now, I too was in on it and was dying to know more so I begged him to tell, but he didn’t. Then his mother continued “that’s about it they were just giving him advice like this and not to forget his stayfree, then they said he just missed Valentines day otherwise he would have got gifts, and they were puckering their lips asking him to imitate them”.pucker power

At this point the boy thought he should defend himself and spoke up “They were saying I’m going to become a eunuch.” To which his mother immediately chided him saying “No they dint say that – don’t tell lies.”. Then his mother became serious and said “they pointed to a hijra and said at least you are not clapping like her”. What else did they say they said you will get good marks from now on yes or no?”. The boy seemed confused, stopped sobbing and murmured that he needs to pee. At this I gasped and felt a gush to my face as a sudden realization came over me. His mother chided him again “You are wearing a sari – there is no zipper – you will just have to wait”. I felt sorry for him but his predicament was overtly amusing. Then his mother turned to me and said “You know these boys when they need to pee they just do it – anytime, anywhere, on any wall “. By now, I couldn’t hold a straight face and curiosity was killing me so I asked her “Does he know how?” ,,, immediately his mom and I laughed out and she replied “No. I will have to teach him that also” . I was in complete disbelief as I realized – that it was not just him – but every man wearing a saree. My face must have shown signs of it – I  wanted so much to say “can I watch from afar?” but I held my tongue as the boy was wondering ‘what’s happening?’. Then he started pressing down on his saree and it was obvious he needed to go. His mom and him took leave – leaving me in splits.

From there, I was fantasizing – with every man I saw in a saree. Picturing his predicament if he needed to go – as there is only one way to do it. Now, its only a question of when.

Thereafter I met Akshay (name changed ) who worked in Cochin – he told us that the suggestion was made by his colleague Shymala with the promise of job success if he did it just once. When we asked him how it felt to be dressed in public, he said he never ever imagined that wearing this could be so exciting. He look perplexed  while stating ‘It makes me feel so different’.

I caught up with one of the  ladies who was standing by, watching the events unfold. She stated that she attended every year as she just loves to watch men dressed as women. “There are so many aspects to it: On one hand there is a newbie, he has no grace and does not know how to carry himself – then there is the tough guy in a dress. My friends and I make bets on whether they will come back next year – sure enough it works like magic they almost always come back; Moreover, now they know how to carry themselves and are not that tough” she said as she laughed.


“Ah I know they were dying to do it – Its written all over their faces. This is an important stage for them; They leave their hometowns and travel so many miles so that no one will recognize them. They act like real men in their home towns, but in fact they are closeted. I think, they just cease the opportunity to experiment with who they are – and this is an early indicator of who will come out.

It delights me to think that this man is probably going to ‘sport a pair’ in the forthcoming years. Moreover, when they act like they’re doing it for piety and their wish, – you get that ‘this is just something I need to get done’ kind of look as he uses the services of shops at the entrance of the temple to quick prep him. They think I don’t remember their faces but as the years go by, I notice him wearing his own clothes with an upbeat makeover. no longer portraying the piety, at least not near the sanctum -he is coming to terms with it – I wish to so eagerly be his sister and welcome him to womanhood and teach him every nuance

For the welcome is to any man who has donned the sari.

Then she addressed the man directly “No matter who you are or where you are – once you’ve donned the sari, we know there’s a woman trapped within. We also know that you will long for the next time…and this will never end sister.

You have exchanged your masculine clothing for feminine; but indeed you have traded your masculinity. There is an inner struggle and a futures date has been set. Within  you, a little girl is crying. Now that you have tasted the feel of our clothing – you want more. Now that you have been seen by us and disqualified as a man in our sight, you are excited; – and the cry within grows stronger, your masculinity withdraws, You like it but dont understand it. There is no going back for you; as the little girl is not as little as she first was, as you deepen your curiosity and wonder what it is like to truly be a woman. You envy us more; Nevertheless, you try to go back.

When I look at you I can instinctively tell that you want it. I pity you, when I consider how long you have been struggling with this conflict. Remember the time when men were the bread earners; there was a saying for those who were out of work ‘he’s sitting at home and wearing the bangles’. This was because we women used to sit at home and perform domestic chores. These days we are empowered. Yes we still wear bangles – but we have also emerged as empowered. Something to think of the next time you wear your bangles – Wear it remembering that we wore it when we needed to roll the roti’s and we wore it to wash your clothes. So do something useful while wearing it; don’t just do it to mimic us.” she ended her address.

“They don’t just wake up one day and say lets travel hundreds of miles to light the lamp! I consider myself fortunate to stand here and witness ones destiny turning.- I know a few who frequented this festival and are now beautiful transgenders. Sometimes, I wish I was a nurse; I would like to to be there for them when they drop their manhood.” She smirked.

Marudani – Mehendi applied the previous day – hands cant be used for 8 hours – designs don’t come off for 2 weeks

To conclude, I find it awesome that there is a secret, only we girls know. The secret is, no matter what the portrayal of  men here – some may act macho, some may act like its just something they need to do … only we know ‘a little secret of theirs’; The very irony of what we comprehend, cracks us up. We can almost hear the happy tunes in their head. They want to play that tune again and again and we smile thinking ‘I know what you want’; to think that I was envious of men, their strength and freedom – while they have deeply buried in them a secret; a secret little girl deep within them – Sometimes, even they are unaware of it but we recognize – She yearns to break out. The more they admire us, the more they want to be us. When we see them, we can plainly look right through them. We see that they are ‘clueless’, still trying to figure things out. They have not yet realized it because they have not found a safe place to. This is a safe place, right in the arms of our Goddess ; and I’ll think to myself I’m sure Ill be seeing you here every year from now on.  Seeing them dressed like this, makes me feel that we women are the supreme being; we have the ability to give birth and some men obsessively wish to be us.

So if you’re in and around Kollam in the forth coming week don’t miss the spectacle. I will surely be there.

–Shari

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