For some, the world is akin to the first rains that wash away the cheerlessness and oppression of a scorching summer. And for some, it is like the first break of spring – when the morning dew glistens in the balmy sun, and the lush green is set against the brilliant blue.
Yet for some, it is like the cold, lifelessness of winter – the inexorable blizzard that erodes the soul, until there is nothing but a brittle void, left inside your heart.
Birthed into a strictly conservative, academic Hindu family and schooled in an institution that espoused, strong Christian values of abstinence through the (largely redundant) moral education class and the whack of the cane – I spent most of my childhood in Saharaesqe conditions: devoid of any form of contact with anything that even remotely resembled the female form. My discovery of man’s fundamental purpose on earth (and the associated pleasures), was an outcome of chance, choice content on TV and a lonely, warm summer afternoon, when I had left the fetters of homework and extra classes far behind.
My roommate and close friend from undergrad, on the other hand, was born into lavishness. He was schooled at South Point – an institution famous not only for the volumes of scholars and researchers minted, but also for the myriad romantic liaisons that thronged the historic alleys of Mandeville Gardens, home to the rich and influential of pre-independence Calcutta. His discovery of male sexuality was also by chance – albeit under slightly more dramatic circumstances.
Before we begin to investigate what transpired that day, we must understand the various circumstances that led up to the same. As one of the more progressive communities in India, our infatuation with mastering Math and Science is notorious. Often many a bright child has seen the back of a khunti (a device found in the kitchen, that elicits contrasting reactions from a Bengali mother and her child) or the underside of a chappal (rubber footwear, especially helpful in dealing with rain or fractious children) over a wrongly inserted decimal point or a forgotten molecular structure. As such, most of a Bengali child’s time is spent in averting such calamities. Invariably, appreciation for literature and arts is cast aside callously into the dank, dark corners of one’s academic exploits.
As such, in the sixth standard, when my friend found himself faced with the seemingly insurmountable task of composing a Bengali essay, he naturally panicked. This, combined with his new found appetite for excellent female bosoms, was too much for a young soul like him to handle. With a throbbing heart and a pounding, erect appendage, he fought valiantly – a classic case of verse against perversion. Just when it seemed that his creative juices had tided over his bodily ones, the unthinkable happened.
Two events, in quick succession, precipitated this young man’s crushing defeat. From the distance, floated in the sound of a tolling bell – signalling the end of the stipulated time for the essay, aggravating his dread and his handwriting. Almost immediately after, the class monitor, a young woman he found moderately enticing, hurtled towards him – with the solitary purpose of tearing away his answer script from his hands. Like any true gentleman who cherished his work and wanted to see it through to completion, he resisted her nefarious efforts. Unfortunately, it is at this very moment, when in his attempts to push away the vile woman, he accidentally chanced upon her bosom. And the whole world around him grew ominously dark, as the perpetrator snatched his priceless possession away.
My friend collapsed in a heap, as he felt something down below give way. He felt himself sinking in the sensation of a warm wetness that had begun to spread in his pants. The rush of blood to his head drowned out his ability to reason, as his throbbing heart almost exploded in the aftermath. His limbs went numb, and he plummeted further down, gasping for breath and trying to make sense out of an increasingly alarming situation. Suddenly a cold, crippling fear grabbed his heart, and took the life out of his poor soul. What if, in the ensuing commotion, his gonads had exploded – leaving behind a void filled with darkness and hopelessness? What if this incident had marked the end of what could have been a promising career of exploits? On the verge of tears, he flailed about for support – before gripping the sides of his desk and hobbling away towards the gents’.
From the distance, the sobs of an adolescent floated into the classrooms – as a grief stricken Tathagata checked and rechecked his privates for any form of physical (and emotional) trauma that had been sustained.
Of course in my case, the transition was swift and left unspoken. I suppose my parents figured out the obvious, as my hours spent on the internet lengthened and those spent poring over text-books shortened (except probably the chapter on reproduction, that I took special interest in,) and I grew strangely attached to our new internet enabled mobile phone. There was never going to be a talk, or a round table conference in my case. For a long time, I blamed my parents for their callousness in dealing with such a sensitive issue. Of course, all that was put to rest, a couple years back, when I was about to board the bus to Calcutta to meet my girlfriend, Sampriti. Just when I had stepped foot on the bus, she placed her hand on my shoulder, leaned in and said, “Look, I know you are going to be meeting her in a long time. Just be careful.” I froze for a moment, and paused with bated breath. “Don’t stay out too late into the night. Make sure you’ve dropped her home and return.” I regained my composure, and was about to reply, when she added, “You are adults. I don’t need to tell you the obvious.”
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