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11/09/2015

In a man's world...

I stumbled upon this Indian web-series and loved it!!

In the West we have been talking a lot (since 2013 at least) about India and the safety issues for women (rape, harassment etc.); here is how some Indians try to tackle it by educating in an entertaining way. And you realize how a man's world India is... (we forget, we get used to, we don't react anymore when it is a guy doing your pedicure!)

It's the story of an Indian guy who believes that the world is unfair to men and women exaggerating about their situation and suddenly get thrown in a world where the women / men roles are reversed (episode 1). He then experiences getting promoted at work (episode 2), experiences being chased when going out and asking help from the police (episode 3) and finally getting married and living the "housewife"'s life (episode 4).

Don't forget to put subtitles (option at the bottom!):

 

11/02/2015

More than a woman

To start with, what is s a hijra? Neither man nor woman or rather man and woman both... To put it simply, the Government (which recognized them officially in 2014 only) classifies them under the generic ‘third sex’. It thus gathers hermaphrodites (intersex, born with both female and male attributes), eunuchs, transgenders and cross dressers (even if technically, the majority of hijras get emasculated and if there are also transvestites who dress as women for fun and not because they are hijras). 

The tradition dates back to thousands of years when the genre was pretty popular in the Royal courts. They also have had the reputation of bringing luck (that’s why they always come to weddings and births to fetch their due in exchange for their blessings). And then the British landed and discovered this practice; disgusted, they ostracized them and they are often reduced to begging and prostitution. And the quotas that have been put in place last year don’t seem to help much...

If it is clearly not a panacea to be a hijra in today’s India, they have been having their small success at the stoplight and beggars, never short of creativity, have found new ways to exploit this windfall and to compete with them. This is how I came across men dressed as hijra – yes, men who dress up as men who dress up as women. But this is not all! I also met women who dress up as hijra –women who dress up as men who dress up as women. In short, the world has gone crazy!!

10/26/2015

The little beggar girl

When we changed our office, I said to goodbye to the leper and his stumps of hands who owns the intersection of Juhu Tara Road. On my new itinerary, I stop at another crossroad “owned” by another gang, the gang of the fake eunuchs – but I will speak about it later...

The other day, I was going home and I saw this three-year-old girl, lying on the sidewalk. In fact I saw her because a woman, presumably a beggar, was leaning on her and watching the flies fly. And this is not a figure of speech. The small girl was covered with flies. And the woman did not make a gesture; she stood there a few seconds and left. Moreover, all the time that I was at the red light, some passers-by are passed, none of them making a gesture. None of them even glancing at her actually. As if she wasn't there.

I was trying to deal with the feelings that the scene inspired me – sadness, anger, shame (of myself, for not being able to do anything other than holding a camera instead of moving my ass, and I have no excuse) – when my rickshaw driver started moving and I discovered the same woman, some ten metres away, monitoring the child and laughing with two other kids. She had made the little girl lie there, across the pavement, on purpose, more visible, rather than on the street corner...

 

This is what I like about India, you regularly get a slap as reality check (1)...

And finally, a more optimistic note with this nifty website, TheBetterIndia, which shares positive initiatives to help "make good collectively. And this makes the balm in the heart every time I read an article!

TheBetterIndia.jpg

(1) According to UNICEF, 12.6 million children are engaged in hazardous occupations. Nearly 40,000 children are abducted every year, of which 11,000 remain untraced, according to a report by the National Human Rights Commission of India.Source: https://in.news.yahoo.com/which-devi-are-we-worshipping-when-a-4-year-old-girl-gets-raped-here-091250861.html