Taboo Taleshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/taboo-tales/

Taboo Tales

Show: Taboo India

Show: Taboo India

Channel: National Geographic, 9 pm,every Wednesday

Rating: ***

IT WAS after the success of decade-old documentary series Taboo, that the makers decided to introduce an India-specific segment that talks of the tales of quirky traditions and rituals and odd jobs in Indian society. Each episode of Taboo India is dedicated to specific topics that range from prostitution to the third sex,from freaky remedies to unheard of wedding rituals that exist in our country.

The 30-minute-long show,which went on air this Wednesday,thrives on its shock-and-awe value. One of the episodes with transgenders as its theme tells the story of how the society treats hijras,and interestingly acquaints us with some of the community’s rituals. So there’s Mona,the head of a eunuch family in Delhi and her disciples,who dance at weddings and crave for more acceptance. While down south,30,000 hijras gather each year to get married to their god,Aravan,at the Koovagam festival. We get to watch some backstage excitement as the annual beauty pageant of hijras in Tamil Nadu takes place during the festival. Festivities precede the ceremony in the temple and a day later,the brides of Aravan turn widows.

It’s not an exaggeration to call this one of the most well-researched shows on air these days and that is reason enough to watch it. It’s a show that disturbs the viewer,but also a solution.

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Taboo India has been shot extremely well and apart from following the stories of people who challenge convention,there are a number of sociologists and anthropologists who provide their viewpoint. But it’s not a show for the faint-hearted. In one of the episodes on freaky remedies,a family travels to Hyderabad to get an asthma medicine for their young son. The medicine is a harmless yellow paste but it’s consumed with a tiny,live,wriggling fish.

Taboo India is a show that doesn’t pass judgment and is meant for the western as well as urban Indian audience. Some might feel that the show stereotypes the country for the West,but most of us sitting in cosmopolitan cities too,know little about the dark secrets of our own country.