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XY Factor

Eunuchs continue to fascinate me. Tonight I was watching the Indian remake of Moment Of Truth or Sach Ka Samna, the TV progamme which even got Indian Parliamentarians laying aside national issues and debating heatedly on things such as why publicly admitting to sleeping with many partners can be bad for the moral health of society. Indian politicians think they also have the right to moral policing. But of course the voices of politicians crying hoarse over truth was silenced by one sane judge who ruled that there is a purpose why the TV remote was invented. If you dont like a channel, you either switch off the TV or surf channels. Coming back to the eunuch, the participant was a Lakhsmi, born male but eunuch by choice. And she had big breasts. Laksmi could pass off as any woman if not for her vocal chords. But that apart, I watched her on the show and felt a sense of admiration for her. And it led me to a series of thoughts in my mind.

I didn't grow up seeing eunuchs in my neighbourhood. I had only read about them. It's only in the city that I began to see them from close quarters. In the neighbourhood when a child is born or someone gets married, they come in droves to sing and dance. Singing and dancing is their main livelihood and they go back happy with cash and food, blessing one and all. Nobody wants to incur the wrath of the eunuchs or hijras because people believe that there is no escape from the hijras' cursing tongue. So people give in to their demands and they thrive on this fear.

Whenever my car stops at a red light, there is invariably one hijra from among the group that knocks on my windows to seek alms. Whenever I see one, my hand automatically turns to the window and I roll it up. There is an unexplained fear for the hijra. I don't know what it is. Maybe the fact that they are not fully women and have the strength of a man, maybe the thought that they could be a man disguised as a woman to rob you, maybe the fact that they are such mysterious people. My very limited research on hijras say they are either castrated or born deformed or some opting to become one in the face of abject poverty. Still they are gays to me, unique gays.

Laksmi today broke many myths of the hijra to me. I realise it's all a question of acceptance and accomodating the odd one out among us by erasing the irriational fear plagued in the mind. But if normal gay men and women in our society still struggle to fiind a place and continue to live in the closet, hijras have a long way before they are welcomed into the mainstream.

Gays or lesbians, hijras or enunuch, everyone is a little different than the other. But human beings we all are. And I guess I am as equally concerned as them about fairness and justice. I have just removed one darkness from my heart.

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