For Shilpa, that one incident has changed her impression about the festival. She was harassed by some men, who came to the temple village and forced themselves on her. When she refused, she was brutally beaten up.
Kalki, on the other hand, hasn’t gone to Koovagam for three years since some boys tore open her blouse while she was walking her way to the temple three years ago. “Now, I don’t believe in this ritual of marrying a god and living the life of a widow for a day. I want to lead a normal life like any other woman,” she quickly added.
They claim that men from about eight villages surrounding Koovagam pay visit during the fest only to fulfil their sexual fantasies and their numbers swell more than the transgenders every year.