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?