The last time I visited Udaipur, 5 years ago, I spotted him when I was walking down the street from the hotel. His laundry shop is situated at the road junction leading down to the bridge that crosses the lake from the old town.
Chatting with customers, joking and laughing while he was ironing and sorting through their shirts, salwar, and kurta.
He left a lasting impression and I was curious to find out if he was still there. Armed with notebook and camera I picked my way down the street, dodging manic scooters, treacherous holes in the road and the general everyday flotsam and jetsam that is chucked everywhere.
And there he was. Unchanged. Smiling and gracious.
I handed over my laundry and mentioned that I had been a customer in past years, oh! and by the way, could I take some photographs and ask him a few questions?
Born in Udaipur, he left school at 14 and studied classical Kathak dancing, folk dancing , balancing classes and fire dancing. By day he helps run the family laundry service with his mother and father, drives a tuk tuk, and is a trained masseur. By night he becomes a graceful and exotic entertainer.
At 37 he is a happily married man and has 3 children with Ethel, his 29 year old wife. I tell him that I am fascinated by his life which is so full of contrasts. No, there is no mystery, he smiles.
“I have the body of a man, but the mind of a woman”.