VILLUPURAM: The road near the old bus terminus at Villupuram has rarely been as abuzz with activity as on Monday. Hordes of men lined up on either side of the street, some looking on curiously, while others looked distinctly uncomfortable.
Shopkeepers point to two dingy lodges along the road as the reason for all the activity. The men waiting on the road were apparently eager to get a glimpse of occupants of the lodge or perhaps just wanted to have some ‘fun’.
When this reporter toured the lodges, she was greeted by scantily-clad transgenders sauntering about with liquor bottles in their hands. The corridors were unsanitary and empty liquor bottles lay strewn around.
And then there were the hosts ‘servicing’ their customers with the doors wide open.
The occupants said these were the best few days of the year. “We get more customers in these few days here than we do during our regular sex work. Not that we charge more. It could cost anywhere between Rs 500 to Rs 10,000 depending on the transgender’s looks and the services required along with additional services like liquor and cigarettes,’’ explained one of the occupants, who hailed from Chennai and did not wish to be named.
As one of the transgenders from the lodge walked to the street, she looked around and immediately identified her customers. She quickly walked up to two men who were staring at the lodge and struck up a conversation with them. Ten minutes later, the men followed her into the lodge.
Sometimes, the transgenders walk up to their ‘customers’ making things easy for them, but in most cases, the ‘customers’ themselves walk into one of the two lodges.
“There are some lodges here known and meant only for such activities,” says Mani, a shopkeeper. And the whole town knows that these two lodges house sex workers at this time of the year.
More than the transgenders, male residents of Villupuram were present at the all the cultural events, making it appear as if the festival was being held for them.