Despite the intervention of many well-meaning aunties and friends over cups of chai, I don’t think I was aware of how truly strange, let’s even say ridiculous, I looked at the time. Because although I was wearing kurtis nearly every day, I didn’t really understand the ‘rules’ of wearing kurtis.
The women taught me how to navigate the city, as I learnt about the different ways the body is marked in public (and in private too). I often tried to discern when ‘bold’ became ‘reckless’, and what the underlying politics of this rhetoric shift might be. How arguments were stacked up pre-emptively determining who was deserving of protection and whose transgressions left them out in the cold.
No two human bodies are alike, and our different bodies arouse curiosity. But our fascination for the aesthetics of the perfect human body has historically created a space within art, science and religion for the examination of the ‘abnormal’ and the ‘imperfect’. As a result, some bodies are normalised while others become oddities.