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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!):



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!!


Every occasion is good to make some noise!

A conversation between my Hindi teacher (yes I am trying again!) and I:

  • Her: Make a sentence with “I am…”
  • Me: main thoda thakee hoon (I am a little tired).
  • Her: Oh no! What happened?
  • Me: Navratri… 
  • Her: Oh you’re fasting?? (1)
  • Me: No man I’m not fasting, they are playing drums all night!! (2)

(1) Navratri is the festival where the different avatars of Goddess Durga is worshipped for NINE nights (one night for each incarnation). A lot of people observe fast, as a way to pay gratitude to the Goddess. “Navratri fasting may have religious origins but there is scientific reason backing the same. The festival occurs twice a year, each time when the season is at the brink of change: from winter to summer and again when the air starts to get a bit chilly. Coincidentally, this is also the time when our immunity is low and it is advisable to eat light and nutritious food. The fasting rules, thus, suggest that one should abstain from meat, alcohol, grains, common salt and anything that is processed. Onion and garlic are avoided while fasting as these are known to generate a lot of heat in the body while grains are hard to digest. From an Ayurvedic perspective, these foods attract and absorb negative energies and should be avoided during a seasonal change.” (source)

Oh wait! Then I AM fasting! Because I have been quite sick (maybe due to the weather change?) for the past 4 days. And to give some rest to my digestive system and let my energy focus on healing (see how I talk! what India does to you!), I have been on a liquid diet (juices and soups).

(2) This festival is also known for its dances. And now for its noise. As they play drums every day, from 9 to 11 PM in the temple near my building. I think I will go have a look tonight instead of just banging my head on the wall!