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Dirtscapes

Read. Suffer. Try to Enjoy.

When The Levee Broke...

All the brouhaha over the whole Birds And Bees education thing being too Birds And Bee-ish (clever play on words, no?) for our 'Indian culture' is something which is so trite, that it warrants a slightly nostalgic perspective. Ergo, erat... (and I'm sorry... that's all the Latin I know... if it is Latin.)

I am a proud member of that corrupted population, which actually had 'that education' as part of the syllabus, and I have not really turned out (much) the worse for it...

We had a session in the 9th standard, and given the whole 'hormonal-all-boys' school thingie, it really wasn't quite on time. The whole curiosity part had started off way before that, in the 7th. When there was no Internet. Faced with that, the only option you had, was to consult those grand daddy guides called Fantasy and Human Digest (innocuous name right? The name was the only thing that was innocuous about that mind you... with some really stunning prose. No pix.) available for the princely sums of 20 and 25 bucks respectively. Smuggling the smut in after a furtive purchase from the 'regular' footpath vendor would be a very secretive (and hypertensive) affair. Tucking them behind the bigger sized 'workbooks' usually was pretty difficult. Reading them under the desks while class was in progress was even more so.

But once into them, it was a fascinating trip into fantasia. The irony was that even our addled adolescent brains could make out that the stuff printed in there, wasn't really ALL REAL. (And we are not talking about airbrushing here. Just to make it clear). Especially the 'user's questions' columns... (How did schoolboys like us manage to score with unbelievably attractive older neighbours? How?!! And was she telling the truth about that dog episode?!) As an alternative source of info, some friends and the school library had these printed encyclopaedias (yes, they used to be printed on paper once upon a time)... but the ultra-dry, clinical tone of the descriptions was just not juicy enough for our 'refined' tastes.

For the visual angle, we had good old Star TV. Riviera, The Bold And The Beautiful, Santa Barbara, and the odd late night episode on Zee TV (Shaadi Ya...?) did a damn good job, let me tell you that. And Star Movies with it's late night shows till they started to you know... pixellate.

Given all this background, we were kind of 'aware' by the time we hit the 9th standard, but somehow there was this uneasy feeling about it all... that what we knew kind of 'wasn't totally there'. Till some seniors tipped us off about what was to come. A proper classroom session on you know... snigger snigger snigger. We felt really squeamish, and we weren't *too* sure of what it would turn out to be... but still, some cerebral cortex was really working overtime, flooding us with all those happy chemicals.

Till the big week finally arrived. Going alphabetically, the 'A' division was first. After they were done with it, started the rumours.
"They were actually showing a 'live action movie'!!!!!"
"There were naughty posters!!!!"
"There were live strippers jumping out of a cake as a grand finale!!!!"
(Well... maybe not the last one...)

Jumping Jeetenders!!!! For those saddled with horrendously prudish cable waalahs who would mercilessly beam Manoj Kumar movies past midnight thereby you-know-whatting all over the efforts to stay awake till then, this was too much happiness to take. The rumours multiplied exponentially over the week, till we were expecting nothing short of a proper Roman orgy by the time we were up for it. The teacher announced "It's time...", and 47 flushed faces lit up like them Indian cricket team effigies after every overseas trip. In spite of herself, the teacher remarked to a colleague.
"Look at their faces! Look at their faces! See how happy they are!! (tinkling mellifluous laughter)"

Blushing furiously, we all but trampled over each other as we rushed into the cool, dark audi to check out "Sally", the heroine of the movie (Trust us to know what her name was. Heh heh.). To be greeted by a slightly bemused, old Italian catholic priest, who could barely suppress his laughter once he saw the looks on our faces. He took one look at us, and proceeded to give us what he was there for. Without going into the gory details, a lot of misconceptions did get cleared up in the next 3 hours. A very classily done affair, and he didn't flinch once at our 'questions'. And yes, the movie was good too. Somehow, we didn't really snigger or hoot as much as we thought we would. Caught up in the moment? Not all of us though, there was one guy who had insisted on carrying his Geometry text-book along for the show. Yep.

Once the testosterone levels were somewhat back to normal, we realized the single biggest irony of the whole thing. The priest was a celibate. And an MD in Birds-And-Bees-ology to boot.
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7:55 AM, April 20, 2007
Anonymous Supremus said...

A proper classroom session on you know... snigger snigger snigger.

-- ROFL!! I can so relate to it!

Though my experience was similar to yours. It was a celibate father that taught us all, in a co-ed classroom. It began so embarasing, but quickly became comfortable hehe!

S    



3:51 PM, April 27, 2007
Blogger Sam said...

hey u missed out Debonair!! :P    



11:16 AM, May 10, 2007
Blogger JustSo said...

hey! me thought you would write a new post!!!! and BTW, change the link in ur blogroll :P    



7:14 PM, May 16, 2007
Blogger arpana said...

you are tagged macha - u kno the details already - even then, check out yours truly's blaag    



6:48 PM, June 22, 2007
Blogger Tapan said...

Supremus,
Can imagine... a co-ed setting would have been room for a lot of sniggers :)

Sam,
Hush... we have reputations to keep... :)

Arpana,
link changed    



10:43 PM, June 23, 2007
Blogger blessed_are_the_geeks said...

I totally can, Animal reproductive system was the most thumbed chapter in my co-ed school, though most teachers assumed we knew all about the human reproductive system and refused to teach us. We had to satisfy ourselves with mosquitoes and toads    



11:13 PM, July 12, 2007
Blogger Tapan said...

Blessed are the geeks,
True. Forgot to mention that particular chapter :)    



2:09 PM, July 31, 2007
Blogger Princess Stefania said...

Brilliant! Brilliant!
;)
Though we were in an all girls convent school and had a nun 'instructing' us.
These mirth-caused tear stained cheeks are testimony to your wonderfully written post!


I've never heard of Fantasy, though... I suppose it wouldn't have catered to my gender.    



6:36 PM, June 30, 2009
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tapan you rock... I was witness to this spectacle... the guy with the Geometry book... hahahahaha... well u did miss out on a few details one of our colleagues being nicknamed 'sally', some of the stupid questions being asked by the "first benchers", well according to me we learnt all about the birds and bees from our colleagues who had pasted condoms on a chart for a "SCIENCE PROJECT" and the quarters of vodka stacked in school bags(between the MAGAZINES) and the unforgettable DANNY... And I still vividly remember the teacher who remarked on the look on our faces... mannn I miss those days...    



12:25 AM, March 06, 2011
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI,

I am seraching for Riviera title song desperately. Any help will be will be appreciated.    



2:17 AM, June 26, 2012
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Tapan,

Felt good reminiscing about those old days! The thing I remember about the session was the old priest warning us about little boils that may come up on our you-know-what and making sure to get them checked out if they ever do... Who were the teachers involved in that discussion about our "happy faces" BTW?    



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