Oh Dear

It’s a holiday season here: Firecrackers go off at random times as soon as the sun goes down. Lights are glittering and apparently certain people can freely go around and ask for money. Interesting. Anyway, about a week ago I had one of those unusual cultural experiences that I sort of wish I hadn’t had. However, Katie’s diaper had to be taken downstairs and I was the one who happened to be taking it when I ran into the care-taker of the building who was with a guest. The guest, a woman, greeted me in a rather husky voice and I said hi, but couldn’t help but stare. Something seemed a bit off and the vibe I was getting from her made me feel odd. The clothes were feminine, but that was all. I then ran upstairs and asked my house helper to take a look from the terrace and see if she could see this lady that I had talked to downstairs.

She saw her and another lady–only they weren’t ladies, apparently, they were both male and female. Confused? Yeah, so was I. My helper explained to me that because these people were born with both male and female plumbing they cannot work normal jobs so the government has given them the right to go around neighborhoods on special occasions and demand payment. If you don’t pay they have been known to both harass and flash people. Not wanting to be flashed, our landlord decided to pay them a chunk of money and in return they did some little dance. The whole thing was a bit odd for me and I tried to lay low while they were downstairs.

Yet another cultural experience here that the handbook left out. Wait, no one ever gave me a handbook. Maybe I should write one. These are definitely things I wish somebody would have told me about–the real-life stuff that usually leaves me scratching my head in amazement.


3 thoughts on “Oh Dear

  1. So are they not actually both? But rather, males trying to be females? Is this something they have chosen, I suppose as opposed to a condition they are born with. I’ve now heard both points of view.

    • You know, I’ve heard that anything you have heard about India is true, and it’s opposite is also likely true- just depends on where you are! So it could be both. I had understood that it was males acting as females, but that many if not most of them had some physiological problem also. I was often told they were “eunuchs”.

      A book that sounds interesting: The Invisibles: A Tale of the Eunuchs of India by Zia Jaffrey
      and an article that may help:

      Side note: If you have ever seen the movie “Bride and Prejudice” (Bollywood interpretation of P & P) they are featured in there. I was told that it is considered lucky to have them at weddings and to have them bless the couple.

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