nandi   Drei Monate nach meinem ersten Besuch in Bangalore erschien dort ein Artikel über "Reisen mit einem Transvestiten". Freunde aus Hyderabad erkannten, dass es sich hierbei eindeutig um mich handelt, und spielten mir den Ausschnitt zu. Tatsächlich trifft die Beschreibung sehr gut auf mich zu, auch wenn einiges so geändert wurden, dass eine Identifikation für Außenstehende kaum mehr möglich ist.

Kenner meines Reiseberichts werden die Passagen identifizieren können. Für alle anderen habe ich neben der ursprünglichen Version eine Version zur Verfügung gestellt, in der falschen Passagen dunkel gekennzeichnet wurden. Durch ein Klicken auf den Absatz wechseln Sie zwischen dem ursprünglichem und dem markierten Text.


deccan herald

10. June 2000

Travels with a transvestite

Seeing her graceful form and delicate features,
it was difficult to imagine Helga as man.
PADMA RAO narrates her travel experiences with Helga, er... Helmut

Would you like to smoke? She asked me in German, heavy with a Bavarian accent during a lull in the Bhajan. To my startled no, she whispered, "Do you think they'll mind if I smoke?", indicating the Bhajan singing women. When I nodded vehemently, she got up with a graceful feminine motion and went out to smoke her favourite bidi.

I had met Helga in my neighbour's house, where she was spending a few days during her stay in India. When she learnt that I knew a smattering of German, she became very friendly with me.

With her blue eyes, delicate features and slender figure, she attracted attention wherever she went. It was only when she opened her mouth that one got a jolt hearing a deep masculine voice issuing from the beautifully made up feminine mouth.

She had arrives in Bangalore directly from Munich with no baggage, as her luggage had been lost by the airlines. Since her suitcase not only contained her clothes and toilet articles, but also her hormones, she was in a peculiar situation.

Within two days, she had a considerable beard and moustache growing, so that when she wanted to try on some brightly coloured Rajasthani skirts in a boutique, the shop girls where thrown into utter confusion. When her luggage did not arrive even after a week, in desperation, Helga barged into the airlines office and demanded to see their President. She made a big scene shouting, "Do you know who I am? I am the President of the Transvestites Society of Europe. If you don't send my baggage to me within 24 hours, you'll have cause to regret it!" The baggage arrived within an hour with a note of apology and a handsome compensation.

Seeing her graceful form and delicate features, it was difficult to imagine Helga as a man, but she was born a male and named Helmut.

She had a daughter whom she had fathered. Even after Helmut became Helga, she has kept in touch with her former wife and daughter.

An accountant by profession, her hobby is to study different cultures. She had come to India to prepare a radio feature on the eunuchs in India.

She told me about the American Indians of old, who behaved like men for some period, and like women for some other time. Their most precious offering to their God was tobacco.

I accompanied Helga to Soundatti where there is a temple to the goddess Yellamma, who is worshipped by the Indian eunuchs.

Yellamma was a loving wife of a sage who once suspected her fidelity and ordered her son to cut off her head.

Her son Parashurama cut off his mother's head without blinking an eye. His father, pleased by such obedience, told him to ask for a boon. Parashurama immediately asked for his mother to come back to life.

Since the sage was very powerful, Yellamma was restored her head and her life.

The eunuch who told us the story said that a transformation took place inside Yellamma when she came back to life. She gave up all desires and attachments, and thus became a goddess.

Although Helga was enchanted by the story of Yellamma, she was moved by the plight of her devotees - the Devadasis and the hijras who are forced into prostitution. To top it all, a villager urged Helga to buy his one year old daughter, which she refused.

Mysore was a pleasanter place. The Mother goddess on the hill there is loved by tourists mostly foreigners.

After we went round the high monolith, Helga stood in front of the bull for a while in silent communion.

Before she came away, she took out her precious packet of bidis, extracted one and laid it as an offering at Nandi's feet.