So, I Googled “Aravan” and Found Out This
Posted by Alan Edwards
I use Aravan as my main online avatar name. I don’t want people to know my real name or associate the mild-mannered individual who bears it with the rude and uncouth babblings under that particular nom de plume. Naturally, it would have been smarter to not have my real name plastered all over this site and everywhere else I use the avatar name, but whatever. I still like to pretend.
I chose the name because – WAIT! ALERT! SEVERE NERDERY AHEAD: USE CAUTION. SKIP TO NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU HAVE ALLERGIES TO GEEKNESS OR PEANUTS – Aravan was an NPC is a tabletop game I was running at the time, a sort of grey-bad-guy type who was helping the PCs off and on because it helped him eliminate his rivals. I just pulled the name out of my ass and thought it sounded good. This was 10 years or so ago. Even better (for reasons we’ll go into in a moment), he was Lord Aravan. I really liked him as an NPC, so he became my default Nerd Avatar thingy.
So then I decided to Google it today, just for the hell of it. Actually, I wanted to make sure that my Global Brand was secure, and that no other upstart Aravan was around trying to steal my potent online mojo. Instead, I learned the following important pieces of information:
Lord Aravan is Arjunan’s son and he is believed to be the guard of Lord Muneeswarar. Therefore he is considered to be a kaaval dheivam.
So far so good. I don’t understand a lot of the words, but it certainly sounds impressive. Then I read the next line.
In India, Lord Aravan is mostly prayed by the homosexuals.
Oh. Well. That’s, uh, cool.
I then did some further research:
Following the hundreds of ‘weddings’ the previous evening, when transgenders tie the knot with god Aravan in the Koothandavar Temple in Koovagam village, the deity is taken in procession through the village atop a two-storey high wooden car, hand-drawn by dozens of devotees.
Transgenders gather individually and in groups, all along the route, to worship their god.
Well. So there’s that, then. I do have a wedding to go to this weekend. I did not, however, realize that I was going to be there in a divine capacity. Maybe the invitation should have spelled that out a little more clearly.
All in all, I feel pretty good about it. I mean, some people might feel funny if their chosen and beloved avatar name was actually an Indian deity worshipped by homosexuals and transgendered people. Perhaps they feel like it might make them a target of ridicule. Not me. On the contrary. I quite embrace my new place in the world, as the symbolic husband for transgendered women everywhere. In fact, I am honored that people centuries ago took the time to research the future to find the perfect representation of the kind of guy that would be totally OK with all of this. It is a mantle I will wear proudly.
Seriously, though, just a thought, maybe even call it advice, if you will: When choosing a fake name, it doesn’t hurt to Google it. You know, just to see what you’re getting into. I mean, you don’t want to realize that your chosen appellation is actually the ancient Hittite God of Eunuchs and Irritable Bowel Syndrome or anything. It’s a thought.
And to all my worshippers, look, sorry, I just found out, and I’ll be sifting through your prayers just as rapidly as I can.