December 24, 2009

I'm beyond impressed. I'm a little in awe.

I used to be a little-afraid, a little-repulsed by assorted, heavily made up hijras one is invariably hounded by at almost every signal in Karachi. That was before I actually stepped out of my sheltered little world and actually spoke to one of them. The first conversation I had, a long-long time ago was stilted mostly because I knew not what to say to someone so obviously different. No rules seemed to apply to them, which made them seem both strange and somehow dangerous. Gradually, talking to them as if they were human beings - like you and I - became much easier, and the fear faded as did the repulsion. Now, I actually like having conversations with them whenever I'm lucky enough to come across someone who wants to talk to me. They have an absolutely wicked tongue-in-cheek kind of humor that I enjoy. They also have an interestingly skewed perspective in life, so different that when one really listens to a lot of what they have to say one understands why - when the world was older and much-much wiser - these people were known as repositories of wisdom.

As I said, I like talking to them, but I've never spoken to, or heard any 'she-male' and been completely awe-struck. As I am today.

Almas Boby (Bobby, Bobe) is the 'guru' of the Pakistan She-Male Foundation. While following up on some news of interests (it seems CJ - in an act, which if true, I truly respect - has provisioned for inclusion of the third gender on Pakistani ID cards this December) I chanced upon this interview Ms. Almas has had with Mubasher Lucman on 'POINT BLANK', a talk show hosted by Express News. The video is 36 minutes, and as much as I hate to admit it, I have the attention span of a fly. Although intrigued I didn't expect to last more than five minutes. I've made it through all 36, and at certain points during the dialogue I've actually paused the video and gone back a few seconds to listen again to what was said.

A lot of what she says is fascinating, but I've heard it all before. What I've never heard, though, is someone as beautiful, poised and graceful as Bobby say it, in quite the way that she does. Mubasher hits hard, some of the questions/comments are downright cruel. She turns around, smiles at him, arches those graceful eye-brows and using some of that cruel wit I relate to her kind she slaps him back so hard that he probably has no idea what hit him, but he's felled to the floor not quite certain if he wants to engage in another round.

Bravo Bobby. I'm impressed. By you, and by your cause. Enough to not only hope that you succeed but also to hope that someday I'm given the chance to publicly applaud you (well, more public than this blog at any rate). As you those of you who're reading this piece. For once, I'm not going to insist you watch this video. It's long, and some of you may not think it's worth your while to find out what a bunch of hijras (or in this case their guru) have to say. I won't try to change your mind, although I do think if you don't give this conversation the attention it deserves: shame on you.

Those of you who do, are you as impressed as I am?


Deepak Iyer said...

The video page doesn't load, presumably because of the excessive traffic you diverted there.

Also, she-male is derogatory.

Xeb said...

Hmm, not sure why video page would not work. I couldn't possibly have diverted that much traffic.

And 'she-male' is a term they've begun using here (possibly because the alternatives may be even more derogatory). I don't particularly like it, but it's either that or hijra/khusra. Take your pick.

Zunaira said...

Interesting, thanks for sharing. I was really moved by her intelligence and wit in answering question. I can not think of one answer that impressed me most, all replies were great.

Thoth said...

After you posted, that song from punjabi movie, there is no way in hell that i am clicking on any of your video posts. Which reminds me of you being a speaker on a TV show. Where is that video, dude?

Xeb said...

Z: :)

T: You really should see it. She's great.

sharbet said...

I really enjoyed that and the pedantic in me wanted to understand each and everyone of her words. I know what you mean by her carrying off the interview with grace. The best part was when she brought up one of God's names, the Portrait-maker, and asked who the people were laughing at really. Brilliant.

Thoth said...

No mood to marvel at the tyrannies and ironies of fate on Christmas. I'll pass.