A Different Tribute

Participant in Hyd Pride

The Lady Gaga tribute

Anirban met Justin during Hyderabad Pride, whose special preparations for the pride left him amazed

I was looking for a break from work but was unable to find a suitable holiday destination. But when two pride marches were scheduled back to back in two of the most prominent cities in India, I was left to look into the innumerable options. After a lot of deliberations, I found Hyderabad to be the most feasible option. So here I was, off to attend the first ever Queer Pride March 2013 in Hyderabad.

I was well received by the host, Chanakya, who did his best as a host. At his place I met another Bangalorean, Justin. Justin is a call center executive in his early twenties. Though still not out of the closet, he has all the talents to give many renowned artists a run for their money. I found Chanakya’s place strewn with paper cut-outs, dilapidated cassette tapes, glue and paint. I was wondering whether these were for the placards meant for the pride. But that thought quickly evaporated when Chanakya told me that from last night, Justin had been busy doing some mysterious stuff. Justin was actually busy preparing his costume, all he needed was a little time and seclusion. I eventually befriended him, wondering whether he was going to put something related to ‘Statue of Liberty’.

“No,” he replied promptly.

I was really getting curious by now. But when he started putting the words ‘Lady Gaga’ on a green colored linen cloth, I could somehow start figuring out what was in his mind.

“Actually I am a big fan of Lady Gaga. And this green colored cloth containing these words would add a Hyderabadi touch. You know Hyderabadis do have affection with green. But I am not doing anything drag,” Justin quipped.

So here it was, a call center executive with one of the most innovative methods to express himself-‘Lady Gaga adorned with a blue colored Vishnu Chakra in a Hyderabadi style’. I am also a follower of Lady Gaga but would have never thought like Justin.

“You know, I could have had these things done by a fashion designer. But how do you pay a tribute? I would never enjoy the charm if I don’t do these things myself,” the passionate enthusiast continued to remark.

But there were more things to follow. When we took an auto-rickshaw on our way to the venue, I could find Justin worried about his costume being not ready in time. So it was left for me to keep him motivated. The long shirred old soft-drink bottle caps all over his legs, each one of them painstakingly punched by iron nail and all of them knitted meticulously by a single thread, just added to that ‘wow’ factor. He did not bother about the resulting bruises from those sharp metallic caps.

Moments later he was the cynosure for the boisterous shutterbugs but that did not restrict him to proscribe them.

I later learned, he was the same person behind the widely reported, masked-mummy-man of Bangalore Pride 2012.

Wasn’t it a real tribute without getting overwhelmed by even a touch of glamour?