Sunday, April 13, 2008

dancing with eunuchs

"What are you wearing tonight Joanne?" Suvir asked. The bus tried to make it's way to KaKa's house but after a while, we had to give up. The road was too narrow, the tree limbs too low, the bus too big. We had to walk. Here we were, a tribe of fourteen hobbling along in Prada heels and Armani slacks held up with Gucci belts , led by a turban-clad Indian wrapped in an ivory sari through the tiniest village. It was really dark, the town lit by a little sliver of moon. The villagers stared as we made our way along the dirt road dodging cows, dogs and hungry kids. The village eyes were on us. I caught them again and again. As much as I was interested in them, so too, they were interested in us. Around one last corner, our guide unfolded his hand to show us the entrance. Ahhhh.... Sanctuary. We had arrived for dinner at the home of KaKa, Suvir's friend. KaKa met us in the courtyard wearing a red turban and wrapped in a saree all gilded with gold. To paint an even better picture, this raging queen is a friend of Paul Smith and Missoni. He's a designer, surprise, surprise! And the house was magnificent. From ground up, he built it over a 3 years with antique pieces and artifacts. Chosen by Elle Decor and Architectural Digest as one of the top 10 homes in the world. So imagine! Hundreds and hundreds of candles, thousand year old columns, red rose petals, inlaid tiles, marble, incense and white-gloved waiters dying for me to be their passage to America. We ate kebabi, hot from the tandoor, and so rich with fat that they melted in my mouth along with the tart and spicy mango pickle and fresh mint chutney. All kinds of hot breads: naan to paranthe, poori and roomali and of course, curries and dahl, and all kinds of meats cooked in the tandoori. The night was magical with a turn toward the bizarre when four eunuchs arrived to dance for us. My God, have I been living under a rock!!! A eunuch is a castrated man, at times thought to bring good luck. Music blasted as we chewed betel nut and watched the eunuchs dance one by one in "sexy" silver bras and sheer gauzy black sari skirts with bangles from their wrists to their elbows and tingling bells at their ankles. They twirled around the floor. The movements at times sensual, at times aggressive. They pulled me onto the floor to dance. Why me? Did they see me tapping my foot? I didn't know if I waas dancing with a man or women? This was the closest I'd come to sex in a while. Ah, this is India....

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