Who is a drag persona?
Mayamma: I want to be intimate with you. No! I am not talking about physical intimacy. Emotional intimacy is the key to any kind of love.
Anand Raja: We have to be honest with each other.
Mayamma: If we are committed to each other, it will work out. I believe in me, you and us.
He smiled and kissed Maya on the cheek.
Anand Raja: Our love is about that.
I chose to marry Mayamma because her story needs to continue. She moved to Bangalore to live with her boyfriend whom she had met in Kuttanad. It isn’t easy to uproot yourself from your home to a new city. Marrying my drag persona gives many from different communities hope about living their dream of finding love and marriage in their lives. I have come across many couples that have similar dreams, but are afraid because of an age old law binding them to live their lives.
I want people to see that any kind of hope or dream need not be silenced. It can be achieved some way or the other. People may have thought it was a glorified bridal photo shoot. But, it’s much more than that. I had a friend of mine who kept telling me that I won’t get the guy of my dreams because I perform drag. I won’t hear that kind of negativity in my life. I deserve the best in my life and I know that the perfect partner in my life will come at the right time. I am just preparing myself for that moment. It will happen.
Mayamma : A Drag Persona
The moment I created Mayamma, I knew I was in it for the big things. I don’t know how it will happen and I had to brace myself for it. For two years, I kept playing many stories on the same background story that I created a long time ago. I was growing tired of it. One fine day, I got the opportunity to do the bridal photo shoot for Maya and I realized that it is a brilliant way to continue her story. I wanted to give her more flesh and substance that make her relevant to the present society.
I had seen her marriage before I had performed as Maya. But, I didn’t know how to portray it and to present it to the audience. It helps me create stories on different moments in life whether it comes to Maya’s personal issues, marriage, and family and so on. I am the magician weaving different kinds of stories that people want to see or haven’t seen as yet.
There are times when people think Maya’s story is Alex’s story. It actually isn’t. Now that’s a wonderful illusion weaved by the storyteller. I have lived for this moment in my life. Before I started the character Mayamma, I was in a state of shock of hearing a 4 year old girl raped by the school’s athletic instructor in Bangalore. I wondered about the root cause for something like this to happen. All I did then was just read a lot, then and over the days that followed. But that’s when I concluded that if I created a character, she would stand for a cause and not be an element of sheer entertainment.
Mayamma had to be a drag queen of substance. I started to travel back in time referring to my Amma’s experiences of helping women from domestic abuse and other issues in life. I wanted to know how would Maya solve issues like this and how will I incorporate this into my performances.
Saying stories of encouragement and hope would help individuals to love themselves and believe in gender equality. That’s my intention for Maya. I’m hoping that she will inspire more people to believe in individualism, gender equality and feminism. It’s the perfect time to share stories and keep reminding people that they aren’t alone in the long struggle of being you.
I want to put her through different scenarios. No, she won’t be just a housewife. She is more than that. She will keep performing and Anand Raja will be support her. I want her to be known throughout India as a drag queen with substance and if luck and time permits, I want Mayamma to go international. It’s high time; people realize that Indian drag queens exist. I hope to fly the flag of drag performances high enough for the world to see. This year has been a good year for my performances and I have reached places that I never dreamt of reaching. I can only be grateful and humble with all my recent achievements and all that is to come.