The rain drenches every aspect of my life at the moment – creating a soggy heap of heavy thoughts. In Chennai, where I’m headed soon, there’s been a scarcity of water for a few months after a disappointing monsoon. My father is inserting a few more concrete circles down his well to reach more ground water. Here the ground burbles as you squelch through the grass.
This in many ways serves as a metaphor for my split identity. One dissolves into another without too much fuss. Today, I struggle to lift my walking boots out of the viscous mud. Next week, I’ll be skipping across the hot ground, hopping quickly to reach a cooler floor. Both are as normal to me as they are alien to each other. And that is why I realise how hard it is talk about my different identities when the overwhelming urge always, is to merge in, to fool others and myself into believing that is where I belong, wherever I find myself.
Shape-shifting is an age-old device in old and modern fiction – Beauty and the Beast, The Frog Prince, in many a Star Trek episode and of course more recently in Harry Potter and Twilight. In Indian mythology – shape-shifting is used all the time. For example, Ravana sends his uncle who transforms into a graceful spotted deer that Sita is captivated by and yearns to have. For expedience, Arjuna has to become a transgender dance teacher in the Mahabharata. In small ways, we all indulge in a little bit of shape-shifting – to try and get away with it.
And like the rest of life, what goes on inside is a little more complicated. That quest for the authentic feeling, the need for a credible reason to do the mundane and then wondering why that urge is so important. As someone from a Hindu upbringing, I believe in circles. So much so I imagine inside me circles of different kinds rotating away constantly, sometimes helplessly. A jumble of Venn diagrams, springing spirals, concentric formations and much more. The wheel keeps on spinning – its the yarn that varies!