Ardhanareshwar: Half male, half female or simply two dimensions of life longing to meet – outside as well as inside.

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In the silent city of Coimbatore thrives a movement of change brought about by an NGO working to empower transgender people, training them in vocations that will ensure them a deserving place in mainstream life. Shanti Banaras, a conscious brand, based out of Varanasi salutes brave
people with AKATHYA (Inexplicable in sanskrit), a photo essay crafted to salute their inner beauty and power to fight the odds of societal rejection, ridicule and violence. The photo essay presents the life journey of eight prisitne souls, wrapped in weaves, hand picked from the Shanti Banaras master weave series. Each a celebration of colour, craft and the rich culture of inclusion that
the mystical city of Banaras is known for.“ Its incredible how each of these fiesty people have risen above the ordeals of rejection and disdain to find a life of dignity for themselves. Each texture of their life as rich as a loom, hand woven in our atelier and each shade of their life as bright. It was our privelege to capture them in our weaves,” Shared Amrit. “This photo essay above all is an ode to the
city of Varanasi that is a symbol of co existence. The abode where the most vibrant of life lives next door to the abode of death.” Indian mythology gives generous refences to their existence. Shikhandi
the warrior and Mohini the tantalizing temptress, both traipsing their way across the topsy-turvy terrain of fable and myth. The life story of each of these women is incredulous to say the least. And
beautiful, as exotic as the enchanting florals found in Shanti Banaras’

jangla print. As rare as their brocades and as rich as the tapestries that transform their saris, shawls and blouses into pieces of art. The photo essay salutes 8 transgender people and their tales of fortitude:

YOUNG RAZIA IS A CLASSICAL DANCER, ASPIRING ACTOR,
STUDENT OF HISTORY AND A BELIEVER IN KARMA.
You never know how strong you are till being strong becomes the only
choice.

SARA IS A MAKE UP ARTIST BEAUTICIAN AND A BORN NURTURER.
Beauty is soul deep. It must pierce through the eyes and reach the heart,
capturing you like a reckless romantic.
SHOBHANA IS A DANCER AND A CHEF. SHE COOKS UP A STORM ON STAGE AND IN THE KITCHEN.
I believe in miracles. I am one. Born speech and hearing impaired, I
sing today to my heart’s desire as I hear the birds sing to me.

ANUSHYA IS AN AUTO RICKSHAW DRIVE
Torture followed me like a train and brought me to a life of fruition.
For, hurt is the only way to heal.

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