By Aditya Aamir
Rights activist Trupti Desai might as well be a hanger at the Kochi Nedumbaserry Airport. She’s been hanging there at the airport like a terminal patient in ‘recovery’ since Friday 4.45 am and cannot get out because the climate outside is not fair weather for her to make a glorious entry into the forbidden Swami Ayyappa Temple in tiger-country Sabarimala.
And Trupti is one for glorious entries into places of worship which make it a point to keep the fair gender out. Calls by the BJP and Congress and Ayyappa devotees to “deport” her to Maharashtra went unheard. The police of Pinarayi chose to keep a close watch on her, giving the impression they were fully in her mesmerizing gaze, ready to do her bidding if it comes to that.
Trupti is one for sanctum sanctorum of holy places; battling, of all the people, women devotees of Gods that kept women at bay! Trupti’s best moments are captured in pictures and video-clips showing her raising the ‘V for Victory’ sign with a toothy smile. Trupti’s reputation precedes her even if those she confronts are more likely to label her an adversary of notoriety. Friday, Trupti made 75% of Kerala’s womenfolk her enemy for life.
And at 1pm, Trupti and her band of six temple-spoilers had lunch, squatting on the terminal floor, watched by a circle of khaki, food she and her fertile age ‘sakhis’ had brought from ‘home’; prepared for a long wait, adamant that they wouldn’t leave God’s Own Country till they made Devi Purrotamma aware of what she was missing by holding back desire.
Mrs. Desai knows how to turn the celibate into excess. Her hubby Prashant Desai is her greatest fan, attesting that she’s a devout wife and steadfast in her prayers to the Lord! But Trupti doesn’t know the ‘Lord’ of Sabarimala has a code different from the codes she’s been breaking. And that he has an army of the “fertile” of Trupti’s age to protect him from the horde of debauch.
For the record, Trupti Desai doesn’t believe in ‘aacharams and anushtans’. She proclaimed before she arrived she was coming without undertaking any of the required rituals. Not for her the 41-day fast, the irumuddikettu (head kit) with offerings to the Lord or the black garb and ‘bead necklace.’
“I’m coming with none of that,” she told Ayyappa activist Rahul Easwar. “I will not leave till I have had darshan of Swami Ayyappa, doesn’t matter how long it takes.” Trupti Desai is the founder of the Bhoo-Mata Brigade, an army of women sworn to reduce the male into softened, sweetened jelly.
The progressive liberals adore her. But apart from goading her on with Facebook posts and twitter handles, they do not amount to much. Mother of a son, Trupti’s world is all-female! The literate Kerala woman is baffled by her! She’s feminist of a different kind; one who isn’t the usual chic all-fired-up-in-English contempt written all over the face. Trupti speaks only Hindi. The women who tag along plain women in salwar and kameez, sari-blouse!
Arriving at the airport at 4.45 am Friday, the stubborn as a cowhide Desai found herself unable to exit, under siege by hundreds of Ayyappa devotees who made it clear that she’s not welcome in Ayyappa Country. However, 14 hours into the siege, she was adamant she wouldn’t leave Kerala until she rewrites every Ayyappa tradition observed to date. For sheer obstinacy, Trupti Desai cannot be more stubborn!
Except maybe by the “true Ayyappa devotee”. The lot who stood eyeball to eyeball with Trupti, doing the ‘Namo Japa’, a singsong chant that refuses to die down. No taxi for Trupti, no Uber for Desai! Mrs. Desai had underestimated the “resistance”; probably thought it would be a piece of cake like her rendezvous with the “astrological” Shani Shignapur.
Every now and then, Trupti voiced her incredulity to sympathetic newspersons from Delhi/Mumbai, saying that all she had to do was to step out of the airport to present herself before Lord Ayyappa, quite unaware that the devotees of Swami Ayyappa had the entire stretch of road from Nedumbaserry Airport to basecamp Nilackal staked out with Malayali-ire. The police made an aborted attempt to sneak her out through the “cargo terminal” but were caught with the goods!
There was no gateway for Trupti to escape. The police stood to staying still. Around this time, the Kerala High Court ordered that media-persons be left free to cover Sabarimala and no “true devotee shall be stopped” from proceeding to the Ayyappa Temple. This after devotees were told not to call each other “Swami”, another centuries-old tradition sent packing.
Swami Ayyappa and Trupti Desai had one thing in common on Friday – both were under siege; one by khaki police in a temple compound, the other by Ayyappa devotees in nondescript garb at an airport terminal! Trupti and Pinarayi are an item without the song! (IPA Service)