Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Exposed India - The Adventure Begins

***I'm posting this from my iPhone in India so I can't upload the images yet, will do so when I get back home***

It's 425am, Dylan rustles in his sleep and turns towards me for what could potentially be his last feed on the breast. As I cuddle him while he nurses, my mind started its train of silly thoughts again. What if my plane crashes or I don't make it back home alive? This would be my last few moments with my sons and husband. Am I being selfish embarking on this project? Can I back out now? +smack* My conscience gives me a tight slap and I got up, determined to make this a fruitful and exciting journey :)   

The flight was uneventful apart from this hilarious Indian movie that was showing. It was shot entirely in Singapore and cracked me up despite me not wearing the headphones and just reading the English subtitles. Touch down! Happiest moment for the day :p

It's 35degrees, still bearable. Now 23years ago when I first came to India, what struck me when we first got on the road was a COW walking on the street! This time round, less youthful and with a few wrinkles, I noticed a little boy walking around barefoot instead of the free roaming cattle. Thoughts of my sons surface again. 

After a road journey that's almost as long as our flight, we arrive at our hotel in Viluppuram. I caught sight of a couple of Hijras at the crowded lobby. They looked pretty! Nothing like what I imagined them to be. The one in pink turned around and started to talk to me in fluent english. She was very friendly and I wanted so much to point my iPhone at her for a picture but I decided it wasn't time yet.

The Koovagam festival had me worried before we got there. I was afraid of witnessing the castration of a little boy but thankfully there was none of that. Instead, it was a sea of chaos, men, women, kids and hijras all jostling around the grounds to get to the temple and festivities. As a chinese, i stuck out like a sore thumb more so than any caucasian there. Many of the hijras were friendly to me and smiled and chatted when there were opportunities. Some were more rowdy, some were more beautiful, some were more open about their sexuality. In the temple where the priest ties the talli around those who wishes to be "married" to Aaravan, that was when I felt most uneasy. The pushing and shoving, the intense heat and stuffiness in the dark, small confined space was unbearable. My camera couldn't help finding the babies and kids who were there with their caregivers. There was something about their innocence in contrast with what the festival signify. Seeing kids the age of my sons made me tear and miss them, wondering how they are getting on without me.

It's been a long day, I showered and went to sleep, too tired to run through my shots. Zzzzzzzzz.....

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