“Do not resent those
who have found Peace
without first experiencing Chaos.” Author unknown
Neither Man nor Woman
by Serena Nanda
What If I Wasn’t Crazy?
An Inside Look – for the Normals
and Other Scary Individuals
“FROM ME TO I”
(o) Main: Recounting
(i) Addendum: If I/he was as sane as he thought he was
-Dreamcat Megashaman The 2nd-
– ..from Me to I.. –
- HIJRA GENDER IDENTITIES AND ROLES
In order to gain a wider perspective, I provide a more general context to hijras through an excerpt from Neither Man nor Woman by Serena Nanda.
BEGINNINGS AND BECOMING
“The hijra role is a magnet for individuals who have different motivations, gender identities, personality constellations, and cross-gender behaviour. One cannot assume that there is any one psychological or behavioural constellation or series of life events which is the cause of becoming a hijra.”
Few born to inhospitable worlds have trust
But survival instincts, and matchless natural resilience
My Only Advice:
Do not resent those
who have found Peace
without first experiencing Chaos.
2. What If I Wasn’t Crazy? – An Inside Look, for the Normals, and Other Scary Individuals
The hotel staff pressed his naked body to the ground. His initiation was almost complete. Lots of things buzzed through his mind as they held him, face pressed into the cold hotel floor. Probably none of these staff members were fully aware of the process underway -and those who were aware that there was a standard procedure to these initiations probably didn’t care to know any more about it. Occasionally restraint was necessary. Officials turned up, and the restrained party was not seen again. It didn’t matter to the hotel staff – faith in a system that worked relatively smoothly was what counted. And they got to return home to their families when the shift was over. That was the important thing.
The naked man, restrained face down on the cold hotel floor, was soon to be known as simply “I”, though he was unaware of this – other more pressing matters were on his mind. Like the intense pain in his shoulder and knee. It was the left shoulder he was really concerned about – the knee hurt intensely, but it was the shoulder he thought he’d lose the use of.
It had been a strange night, and I had realised the state of emergency before anyone else.
He had seen the madness of it all, after days of eating only minimal amounts of bread, and not sleeping. This world had become insane a long time ago. Those few who noticed, and acted on it in a certain way, were introduced to exactly what they wanted: a new life of service to a greater cause. It involved accepting a lot of the world’s madness first, of course, and so before joining the agency it was understood that an extreme end to an agent’s old life was necessary.
The man soon to be known as simply “I” had rearranged the hotel bathroom, ready for emergencies, with the various containers of his female companion’s makeup and remover arranged according to their medicinal properties – those containing alcohol were important. The rest were superfluous.
It would have made more sense for the toilet’s flushing to have been designed as a sink – the flushing mechanism, with it’s pulses of two or three bursts of fresh water, was akin to a flowing stream. Surely a more natural way to wash the hands and face, from a flowing source resembling nature more accurately. The drain in the bath would be better suited to urination, a waste disposal system using no water as the wasteful flush did. So much water, clean potable water, wasted flushing away urine – which could more simply and elegantly go straight down a drain.
Not that any of this mattered, as any sanely awakened person would understand that this entire building was an expensive and wasteful use of resources. What did it matter, that the pulsing flush would be better suited to hand washing, the drain better suited to urination? None of that would matter, as the whole building needs to be reassigned… (Destroying it would be another waste of energy and time.) But if we are all to leave these wasteful places, for a more simple and logical existence, of equality for all, then what is to be done with the buildings before we abandon them?
In a moment of commitment to the idea that he was not alone in these realisations (surely there was at least a minority prepared to abandon these wasteful embarrassments, these overly engineered monstrous buildings, our castles where we resided while millions starved, surely “I” wasn’t the alone – he wasn’t that arrogant – there must be others.) I had decided to abandon the mess of the bathroom. We clearly need organic waste – human shit – to be left in the bath, with some water. This would stimulate growth of funghi and a little ecosystem eventually, in these soon to be abandoned buildings. But the human race must be doing this abandoning, now, already. There was no time to be shitting in the bath at a time like this. This was an emergency – there’s no time to prepare the wasteland of this hotel bathroom. Nature would surely take it’s course eventually, he thought as he left the bathroom.
He marched past his female companion, Taco Belle, who seemed distressed, and he felt the oppression of the room. He had seen the tiny electrons whizzing in the neat perpendicular lines across the tiled floor. Clearly a system of control, to put those who are not caucasian at unease. He had felt this unease in the square, right angled room. So superficial, so unnatural. He had felt so free, and at one with his nature, in the $60 a month room, in a complex shared with locals. But this hotel, though owned by local people, must have had systems in place, to make non-caucasians, the true people of the Earth, feel unwelcome, uncomfortable, and distressed. I, being half Indian, felt this sinister engineering, and felt Taco Belle was working with this system to keep him enslaved.
This was his paranoia – a common delusional state brought on through this sudden initiation into the agency – as Taco Belle had no ill-will against I. She was simply pushing him into this state of awareness, knowing he had made the wise preparation barely eating, and drinking only water, to assess whether he was genuinely ready to join the agency. “I” could not see this at the time – Taco Belle had done her job well – and was experiencing psychosis, a step too far, as was to be expected. Agents like Taco Belle had seen these transformations before, but she had a particular soft spot for I, seeing in him potential. He could offer a lot to the agency. So she left him to his paranoia and delusion, her act of worry and concern a loving way of letting him show himself to the agency. They would soon pick up the interference – the systems within this square room must be picking up his realisations.
I smashed the door to the balcony off it’s hinges. It was necessary, he felt. And Taco Belle, in her well performed state of mock worry, was glad. That disturbance to the square field would definitely be picked up by various headquarters. A new recruit – pushed too far, as he couldn’t bear understanding the inequality of this world. She knew he would do well. Once he was done with this, the fun part – remaking the small world of the hotel room in his image – came the initiation. A real character builder.
Taco Belle noted to herself that he’d pressed his naked body against the door, before smashing it off it’s hinges. “Bless”, she thought. “He thinks there’s helicopters with some kind of scanning technology outside – and he’s letting them scan and preserve his identity.” She knew he’d prove to be good stock. Honest to the end.
Now his hand was bleeding, from smashing the glass window of the now fallen door. And he was putting his bloody fingerprints on the wall – identifying himself for the lower ranking police officials who were bound to arrive, in case his body no longer existed at that point. “Such an honest boy” thought Taco Belle, as she maintained her appearance of intense concern and worry. It was all part of this short-course training – he’d need to be accustomed to doing his own thing – the right thing – among screams and protestations from the well meaning public. “I” was still frantically rearranging the room, converting the heavy TV into a chair by upturning it onto the floor. It would be over soon, thought Belle. And a new beginning for him. She could barely remember her induction. But such was the nature of the work, seeing so many new recruits go through their initiation. She’d been through hers without gaining a scar, which was for some reason more common among female recruits… It was the males who needed to vent – females had more class in their pre-agency initiation, rarely needing restraining.
And now he was one of them, almost. I was on the floor, held by a handful of hotel workers, each mildly shocked at this mad Westerner, but glad to have the situation under control. He thought to himself.
“I can’t breathe.”
He gulped down some air, lungs restricted as he was held down.
“My chest is too hot.”
He inhaled deeply a few times, and coughed up the phlegm that resulted.
“That’s disgusting. But I’m not going to die.”
He saw military boots walk up the stairs.
“What do I like about society?
What do I need?”
He thought to himself. He could feel his identity slipping away, feeling like his face was being reshaped to a distinctive form as it was pressed into the ground.
“Cigarettes. Marlboro Red.” He had experienced how little food and sleep were required to survive in an elated state. All he needed was cigarettes, a nice famous brand to support, regardless of the risks to his own health.
Yes, he needed cigarettes. That was his vice. Cigarettes.
And a nice suit.
The higher ranking personnel were speaking with Taco, who gave the official account of a young man losing his mind, safe in the knowledge that his initiation was complete, as the doctor carefully inserted the hypodermic needle into the naked, now calmer man. Who had accepted death, accepted the world as it was, but was ready to give the rest of his life to the service, anonymously, of making the world a better place.
As I passed out, the doctor thought to himself, “We’ll get you a suit”.
He’d been wearing this suit a while now.
When he’d awoken, falling out the door of a slowing moving vehicle, he’d been glad the vehicle was moving slowly. “Awfully nice of them”, he’d thought. He knew they cared, as he did. He’d dusted off his suit – a perfect fit – and checked his pockets, in the sunbaked heat. Found $2. Excellent.
“Awfully nice of them.”
I walked down the dusty road, looking for a place to buy a pack of cigarettes. Only cost $1 in this part of the world.
Awfully nice of the tobacco companies to get such cheap affordable child labour involved.
He, I, walked and walked, rotating ideas in his mind. Motorbikes passed, time passed.
He was thirsty, though the sun was lowering from it’s midday height.
Thirst didn’t matter – it was time to buy his first pack of cigarettes.
“Hello my friend” said the stall owner.
“One pack of Marlboro, please” said I, one finger held up for clarity.
I handed over half his money, and took the pack of cigarettes. He asked to borrow a lighter, deciding that buying one was too expensive on his now $1 budget. He could always chain smoke while considering how to acquire more dollars.
I thanked the man, and continued walking.
Ms Belle had a mess on her hands, but no worry. The agency dealt with these matters.
She walked into the room, observing the damaged door. “Not too much expense for such a recruit” she thought, hoping she’d see him again. No need for that kind of sentimental thinking though – she needed to leave this area before more questions were asked. She looked at the bloody fingerprints on the wall, allowed herself a quick moment reflecting on how sweet this new recruit was at heart (really, bless him thinking to identify himself to authorities while he thought the world – or his life – may be about to end) and walked out of the hotel room, holding nothing.
She nodded at the senior military personnel, who was standing by a man in a suit who was leafing through his note-filled wallet (dollars, of course), and discreetly, wordlessly, walked past them onto the balcony bar.
This was not protocol, of course – all agency personnel were due to leave the sites of mayhem as soon as an initiation was complete, to avoid the risk of further questioning and/or imprisonment, leaving behind instead an aura of mystery.
But she had the sense of a job well done, and needed a moment to herself, away from her busy role as agency recruiter, to look into the distance across the buildings and palm trees – to accept that she may never see I again. She had actually particularly liked this one.
The agency man inside was bound to understand.
Belle also wanted to make sure that a significant amount of money changed hands. She’d learnt over the years that details, such as who actually receives the money, didn’t matter so much. As long as some significant sum was handed over, she could still be proud to be in this line of work. Taco Belle liked to ensure that those left to clean agency mess were rewarded accordingly.
The agency man inside was bound to understand this also. Ms Belle never faltered.
I continued walking. The sun continued to shine. I wasn’t sweating as much as he’d expect to, wearing a suit in such heat. Odd, but he felt odder things had happened recently. He didn’t know how recently, or the details of what had happened. He’d find out soon enough, how long had passed… If he found a newspaper before he forgot the last date before he became simply “I”.
I ignored the occasional polite men on motorbikes offering a lift. He knew he may be able to get a left free of charge, but his mind was still whirring, too freshly ejected from a vehicle and dazed to think of these social things. He was working hard on not thinking about his family. It was too soon for that sentimentality.
As his cigarette was nearing it’s end, he found his packet of Marlboro Red and pulled out another smoke. He lit it with the end of the first one, and threw the butt onto the ground.
“Is that moral?” he asked himself. He decided that the tiny spot of littering was acceptable, as he was internalising some trauma at the moment.
He recalled suspecting a syringe, and wondered what he was injected with. He wondered if he had done the right thing – he had faith in all other parties involved. But he searched his own mind, questioning his morality.
He turned back and picked up the cigarette butt. He quickly decided to eat it, and chose to take a motorbike ride. He gestured to a moto taxi man, and held out a dollar, his last dollar.
“Where you go?” asked the taxi man.
“How far for one dollar?”
The moto taxi man shook his head and drove off.
The next moto taxi man looked at the dollar, took it and drove on once I was sat firmly on the back, still smoking his cigarette.
“Where you from, England?” asked the driver.
I felt his social skills return – and knew he’d probably be asked for more money once they stopped driving. Should he run for it once they stopped? Should he aggress this innocent taxi driver?
How should he progress, morally?
I took another drag of the cigarette, and enjoyed the passing scenery.
Fin De La Grande Speculation
“Few born to such inhospitable worlds
will readily trust those
who have not endured what they have.”
“Instilling appropriate discipline
is a difficulty faced by many commissars,
but the difficulties are regarded as acceptable,
given the matchless survival instincts
and natural resilience
of such peoples.”
– Extract from the Tactica Imperialis