Is that a naked man? Technically not.
The gentleman in the photograph isn’t totally naked. If you look closely at his feet you can see he’s wearing a pair of black flip flops. But apart from his footwear he is butt naked.
I took this photo from behind to save him, me and you any embarrassment. Saying that, he’s probably the type of guy that doesn’t get embarrassed easily.
India, once again, makes me ask myself the inevitable questions, “What is happening and why is it happening?”.
To get a better idea I walked behind this almost naked man for a little while. Nobody he walked passed batted an eyelid. He wasn’t on a quiet suburban street. He was on Aurobindo Marg, a main road in south Delhi. There’s also a mainline metro station, which naked man walked right by. I followed in quick pursuit.
Now, this isn’t a everyday sight for me. I’m also pretty sure Indians don’t see naked man walking around every day either, but there was no fuss. The man went on his merry way. I suspect more people were wondering why a weird foreigner was in the neighbourhood and were asking themselves whether he was from some sect that followed naked man.
So, back to the question, why was he naked? I’m not sure, but I think our home borders a pilgrimage route for followers of Jainism. It could well be the answer.
This fascinating religion has two sects; the Digambara (which means “sky clad” where the male priests wear no clothes. Nuns do wear clothes) and the Svetambara (which means “white clad”, where priests and nuns wear, yes, you guessed it, white).
Around this time last year I saw a couple white clad nuns walking the same route. This is my first sighting of a sky clad priest on pilgrimage? Maybe.
Where was going? I don’t know. I didn’t have the courage to practice my pigeon Hindi on a naked man, in public, in broad daylight.
Maybe I’ll never know whether he was a Jain priest or just a random man who fancied a naked stroll. If he walks past next year, I’ll try and pluck up the courage to ask.