(Names changed to protect identity)
The cross-dressing festival for men in Kerala
“Are the pleats okay?” Renji asked for the last time before exiting the green room. He checked himself in the mirror. He was wearing a maroon chiffon sari, with sequins on it. His face shone more in joy than due to the chamayavilakku he was carrying.
Renji was a transgender from Palakkad, Kerala.
He was attending the chamayavilakku at Kottankulangara temple, Kollam, Kerala for the seventh time. A celebration, an offering, by men of all ages, cross-dressing as women. They adorned themselves with jewellery and beautified their faces with thick makeup. Men did it as a thanksgiving for the blessings of the goddess Vanadurga.