Flashback - 2

Thursday, December 11, 2008

June 29, 2006: 'S' for Sex - Awareness
A few weeks back there was a demonstration in the streets of NY urging Indian authorities to do something about the AIDS menace after a study revealed that India was well set to take over and become the number one in terms of HIV affected people. As the demonstration passed by me, I tried pretending to be from an obscure sounding planet Crapatonia. This way, I believed, I could project myself as being totally free from any fear of contracting AIDS because geographically speaking, Crapatonia was created to be quite removed from the Indian soil and demographically speaking, Crapatonia was created to be inhabited by just me!
The results of the study did not sound like a revelation to me. We, as a nation are indeed way behind in tackling the menace and the rising number of people affected by the disease in our country only reiterates the fact. We are not educated about safe sex, rather anything about sex at home or school. It is considered taboo.I remember my growing up days as a teenager when the word SEX created a lot of awkward situations for me at home. Unlike what I have seen or heard of American teenagers in movies, we do not have that TALK with our parents ever. Even then we have managed to be well over a billion. No wonder our genius is acknowledged world over!
Leave alone any education on sex, in most cases even a mention of something related to sex creates some real funny situations at home where everyone involved simply doesn't know how to react.
Scene: A comedy show being telecast on TV. Dad and me watching it intently
Host: What do they call French Toilet in Bihar? Well, they call it La-Loo.
Reaction: Dad and me laugh our hearts out - Can't help it, we both have a low IQ and bare minimal sense of humor!
Host: Another one, why can't they prove anything in the Monica Lewinsky case? - Because she swallowed the evidence.
Reaction: Complete silence in our room. Dad digs into the book he has in his hands and I excuse myself to get a glass of water - We didn't laugh, we always pretended to have not got the joke.
Even in schools, the issue is not dealt with in the manner it should have. We had a couple of chapters in our Biology course about human reproductive system. The teacher just skimmed through the chapter without getting into any details and we on our parts kept our questions to ourselves thinking that asking such questions in the class would only reflect our pervert instincts. We(Indian kids) basically gain our sex knowledge in much the same way as the protagonists in the movie The Blue Lagoon or from watching films like The Blue Lagoon.There has been some effort however in this regard with NGOs coming forward to help the Government out. AIDS awareness campaigns now involve celebrities and even films based on this subject are being made to make people understand the need to address this problem before it gets out of our hands.
I think I am being a bit preachy and documentary-like and that suffocates me. It becomes mandatory for anyone writing on social issues like these to put his points and then suggest ways to tackle it. But I am no Mahesh Bhatt so I find myself running out of ideas and solutions to put forward here. I am like the ordinary quintessential Indian who can be categorized under any one of the following categories:
A: AIDS sirf gareeb aur pichde tabke ke logon mein hota hai
B: Hum middle class wale. Humein kahan is AIDS ke jhanjhat ke baare mein pata. Ye to sirf ameeron aur gareeb logon ko hota hai
C: Kya sahab, humko kya maalum AIDS. Ye sab to ameer logon ki beemari hai.
But I will unlike many of us accept it for a fact that a campaign in US did actually make me think. Its not that I am going to be the new-age Dad someday who would decorate the house with air filled condoms instead of the normal balloons for my kid's birthday to give him his first feel of sex education but in order to save him from walking down the lanes of Timbactoo pretending to be the newest addition to planet Crapatonia, I need to tread the untrodden path. I pledge to have that TALK with my kids when my time comes despite the fact that my biggest fear of ending up being an imitation of Jason Biggs' dad in American Pie looms large over me.


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