Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sex

A well-meaning reader, in response to my previous post, scolded me: "Hey...very soon you will lose your popularity...Is SEX the ultimate thing in your world?" My turn to respond.

To begin with, there is no question of losing my popularity because I am not popular. Technorati ranks me between 50,000 and 60,000; and the average number of unique hits by blog gets every day rarely exceeds 150.

Sex and popularity, by the way, are not inversely proportional. Some of the most popular blogs on this planet happen to be sex blogs. In fact if I steal pictures and stories from them these blogs, apart from writing about sex, the popularity of Ganga Mail is bound to soar. But my blog merely carries thoughts on sex, and does not intend to provide sexual gratification.

And what's wrong in having thoughts about sex? Having thoughts about sex is better than thinking about sex. And what is wrong in thinking about sex? If people didn't indulge in it, the world would have resembled the Sahara desert or the Amazon forests. But there is a school of thought, which includes preachers and saints, which believes sex is OK as long as it is limited to procreation. Then there is a school -- and most Indians belong there -- which equates sex to early morning ablutions: it's a function that has to be performed, but you should be as discreet as possible and also not talk about it. It's like having a glass of water: you feel thirsty, so you go to the kitchen, get a glass, open the tap, fill the glass and drink it. Similarly, when you feel lusty, you wait for the elders/kids to sleep, then switch off the lights, and quickly perform the act while being careful not to make any noise. The man turns around and goes to sleep, while the woman -- well, does she matter?

These two schools of thoughts get highly irritated whenever sex is treated as a source of pleasure. They want the act to be as brief as having water: they get scandalised when sex is treated as a full-course meal.

Actually most of the time, it is not even irritation -- just plain jealousy. Given a chance, they would wring sex by its spine to extract as much pleasure as possible, but, alas, they have certain obligations and -- at times -- limitations. Not that they don't try to find a way out. One episode is still vivid in my memory even though it is five years old. I had just come to Chennai, and one of my pastimes then was to look up the Hindu classified columns and hunt for shady massage parlours. It was the hunt and the atmosphere of those places that gave me the thrill, not that I sought anything from them. One such parlour happened to be in Spencer Plaza, which was right opposite my office. I hopped across. I wanted a facial. I walked in and was shown a chair. As the female attendant prepared for the facial, I noticed the occupants of the next two chairs through the mirror: I was stunned. They were two old men -- so old that you could've imagine them only in a hospital bed or coughing endlessly in a bed at home. But presently they had taken a short holiday to heaven. I felt sorry for them: at 80, you can seek sexual gratification only on the sly, at least in India.

But why should I feel sorry for those pot-bellied, middle-aged men, who keep their wives and daughters behind bars, curse channels like MTV, and hand out ostracisation threats to young women living in the same apartment who dare to entertain men in their homes? These are men who lech at women on the roads, stare at the curves of their women colleagues and, if out of town on official work, keep whore-hunting on top of their agenda for the evening.

On Minto Road in Delhi, there used to be a cabaret called Blue Star. Now they have shut the cabaret and turned it into a 'family restaurant', but each time I pass the place, I can see the ghosts dancing. The audience would mainly comprise middle-aged men, who would have the full course meal in the cabaret and drink the glass of water at home. They would insist on stuffing 10-rupee or 50-rupee notes into the panties of the dancers.

Talking of cabarets, there used to be one in Nagpur, called Lahori Deluxe. Wonder if it's still there. Once we all -- as in journalists covering the BJP -- went there, to witness the coronation of Bangaru Laxman as the party president. Can't recall the year exactly: I think it was 1999. We had taken the G T Express from Delhi and got down at Nagpur, where we spent three days. I had not seen Chennai till then and was very curious how the South looked like, so I was very upset that I had to detrain midway without the travelling the whole distance (that's when the desire to come to Chennai was born).

Now there are two varieties of journalists: one, the young and the not-so-experienced, and the other old or not-so-old but experienced. The categorisation, however, has no bearing on the quality of journalism or writing. Anyway, the BJP programmes got over in the evenings, and journalists like me -- the young and the not-so-experienced -- would wonder how to spend the nights. One night we went to Lahori Deluxe, bought tickets for the front row, and walked across to a bar to create the thirst for lust. Back in the cabaret theatre, we took out seats. Minutes later we saw a huge group trooping in -- the old and the not-so-old, who otherwise assumed a serious and business-like look. Sex seemed to be the leveller.

The point is, eveybody has sex on their minds -- and most often it is priority no. 1. Only that the no. 1 position is either masked or marked dormant for the sake of other considerations -- the primary among them being, "What will people say." The masking could also be the result of the years of conditioning: "Sex is a bad thing", "Sex is a bad thing", "Sex is a bad thing". Come on, even the Supreme Court has said that if you deny sex to your woman, it could become a ground for divorce.

The bottomline: sex is not a bad thing. It is a good thing. Don't gulp it down like a glass of water, but savour it like a three-course meal. I know my thoughts make me a "bad person", but I am never constrained by the thought: "What will people say." Because people say something, and do something else. They do something when people are watching, and something else when no one known is around. I invite such people to come out in the open and let go: life is too short to be lived in denial or to do things on the sly.

16 comments:

Nilu said...

:) -- another aspect is, one need not explain the obvious.....but then, why not -- it does make a good post when the obvious is restated.

Anonymous said...

:)
wow, your rant could be almost ayn rand-ish in its absolutes.
nice job, 'name dropping' buckaroo!

Anonymous said...

Well said. You echoed the thoughts of millions ....of males.

Reshma Sanyal said...

Kudos. To an extremely rational and well-thought out piece. Proud of you.

Anonymous said...

Excellent.

Zeppelin said...

excellent write up bro ! extremely well expressed.. I regularly read your posts but most of them are so spell binding that I am left with a gaping mouth.. and of course a very big smile.. :)

keep 'em comin! :)

cheers!

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Nilu, Reshma, Zeppelin: Thanks a lot.

Anon 1: I take the 'Ayn Rand-ish' bit as a back-handed compliment. But name-dropping?

Anon 2: Why only males?

Anon 3: Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Great work. The sunday article 'Sugar and spouse' was good too.

Rubic_Cube said...

:-) glad that you chose to write about it and made a good post. what you have pointed out is extremely pertinent. i would also choose to add something but would raise a strong risk of deriding some community... so, i hold that.

Anonymous said...

{{If people didn't indulge in it, the world would have resembled the Sahara desert or the Amazon forests}}- neither of these states have anything to with human evolution, at least not until the 19th century. How about a better truism?

Actually it's the other way round. Sex, especially in Indian blogosphere, is one of the most subsumed, if not discussed, topics. Everyone talks about it one way or the other. And I'm not talking about the smut pedlers. I'm talking to those "reveal facts" about orgasm, sexual positions and what not. TV has been on to it for a long time. Magazines were never off of it. Movies? probably.

No need bring on the defensive-pseudo-modest BS. "The more you play it the more they praise" is quite old (but yeah, it still seems to work)

Anonymous said...

Good one.. I appreciate your use of the language. I am surprised that I find Indian Express journalists to be writing well in the blogsphere. I was biased towards The Hindu earlier because it was claimed to have good English.. Now I find that you and Baradwaj (film journo) do a great job. I am not in India so I dont read either of the two papers but hell I would prefer yours to anyone from Hindu.

dharmabum said...

clean, honest, straight on the face peice of writing.

completely agree with u that our varied responses has all to do with our conditioning. i wonder why we have all been made to think that, in some way or the other, sex is bad. really bad, that.:(

Anonymous said...

ur writings obviously say u r open about sex. but being open about it gives u that much more chances to sound so right about everything in the world. because the world revolves aruond sex - right? but does ur sex-saviness mean u get away with murder! u probably will. long live `open' sex. sly gets the hits!

Adithya said...

Bravo 'bad man'.. Bravo!!!

If you are aiming at making this thought process into a revolution... count me in.

Its about time we got rid of this pseudo morality stance on how the topic of sex should be discussed. We dont need rules or guidelines... there is no right or wrong...

Anonymous said...

hiii SPARKLING MAN..
While the women... well does she matter? ......

when u get a chance to dug deep in to a woman heart,, u will be amazed with a wealth of information present there.. no man can ever imagine..
- sam

Anubhuti said...

Mr Ghosh, I have stiff competition from some Sam I see. Never mind. I shall win.