Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sex-Education and the 'Butterfly-Effect' !

Courtesy: Huffington post
Sex Education has always been an emotive and controversial issue in India. Schools have stayed away from including it in their curriculum preempting a backlash from the parents. In fact, Dr Harshvardhan, our ex-Health Minister wants the “so called ‘Sex-education’ to be banned” and expose students to India’s cultural traditions and yoga.

Kids, however, are least bothered because they get to know whatever they want to know anyways via TV, films, internet and friends.

Of course, not the best of the ways. Because the majority of the media focuses more on titillating the senses than educating the mind and the peers might not know (if at all) more than the person himself. But in absence of any formal sex-education, what else they gonna do? After all, people will go to quacks in case of a medical emergency if there is no MBBS Doctor around.

I, unfortunately, didn't even go to a quack. First I ignored the symptoms, then I suppressed the disease in its early stages and later resorted to self-medication until that little ailment became a full-blown malignant tumor!

Through out my junior high-school life I had been more or less a book worm; would play cricket when not doing homework or reading textbooks. I was pretty good at studies and always stood first or second in my class. My home never had a cable TV connection, so I couldn't get ‘corrupted’ by the western culture. Internet connection was a far cry.

I was such a nerd that until class 7th, I had no friggin idea how a baby is born. I and some of my equally ignorant friends would often ask this question in the class and when a ‘learned’ friend would tell me the process, I would reject him saying, “Dude, gimme a break. My parents are too ‘moral’ to do that!” Finally a girl, whom I considered equally (if not more) ‘intelligent’ and more informed than me, did convince me that to produce a baby it’s important for a man and a woman to do what’s called ‘Sex’.

Few more years passed and by the time I was 14, I had already passed class 10th. I chose science stream in my high school with an aim to become either (yeh, the usual stuff) - a Doctor or an Engineer!

11th class is one of the most crucial academic years where students choose their career paths and due to sudden expansion of the subjects, it’s also one of the toughest. To focus on my studies better, I opted for a study room. It was a secluded room away from the busyness and noise of the main building of my house.
That was also the year when I, probably, came of age. My hormones started doing tricks what they are expert at.

One fine day, while clearing a store room full of old books; I got hold of a porn magazine. I don’t know for sure, but it’s highly likely that it was my father’s stuff. It was a bizarre moment. Believe it or not, I saw an image of a nude woman for the first time in my life! The text (in hindi) inside was mind boggling. I can’t even describe what was going on in my head and ‘down under’. I felt as if I have committed a sin and felt an obligation to protect others, especially my younger sister, from it.

I took the magazine in my ‘safe custody’ for ready ‘reference’ in the future. The study room no longer remained the ‘study room’. It became my ‘dream room’ where my imagination would go wild. It also became my ‘laboratory’ where I would experiment on myself. Without going much into the details, I would only say that going by the creativity of my experiments, I am thankful that I didn’t have a vagina! Otherwise, I might had been making headlines like these.

I had discovered a new ‘toy’ and I would play with it quite often. Sure, I would enjoy the rush and the feeling every time I would masturbate, but I would also get swamped with guilt and shame after that. I felt as if something was wrong with me and that I had lost all the discipline in life.

I wish somebody would have told that kid that masturbation was absolutely natural and normal. I wish I knew that pornography existed and its OK to be curious about it. I might not have been as possessed by it when I confronted it.

Studies, inevitably, suffered. At a time when my friends were highly targeted, aiming to crack top Medical and engineering exams in the country, I lost all my focus. Though I didn't understand most of the concepts in almost all the subjects yet I managed to get decent marks in the tests, thanks to my brain which could still hold a lot of stuff that was taught in the classes, and vomit it in the exams.  I fared well in most subjects except one.

 I flunked in Mathematics. It was a shock of my life. I didn't know what it meant to “fail” academically before that. Class 11th was the darkest year of my school life which has profound impact – like butterfly effect - on my life. I could have become a Doctor or an engineer or an Officer in the Army but such was my level of confidence during these precious two years that I didn't even fill most of the entrance forms and where I did apply; I didn't appear for the test!

Of course, one can argue that there’s no guarantee that I would not have behaved precisely the same way even if I had all the knowledge. All I can say is, “May be” or “may be not”. And my hunch and common sense says that the probability of the latter is much higher.

To brush aside ‘Notional Loss’ is a very easy thing. That was precisely the response of UPA-II government to the allegations of 2G-spectrum or Coal Scam. Same can be the response of our ex-health minister or anyone who undermines the importance of sex-education.

Unlike a medicine, where the effects, in most cases, are clearly visible and quantifiable, there is not way in which one can prove that it was because of sex-education that the person did or didn't succeeded in life. And that’s why, for every one person advocating sex-education, you would find 10 who would say, “I never got any formal sex-education but I figured it out myself and look, I am doing absolutely fine in my life today!”

Having said that, I am glad I did recover in the second half of my final schooling year. I did score a decent grade which helped me to get in a good college of Delhi University and get my life partly on track. I never became a doctor or an engineer but I eventually became a journalist and I think I kinda like what I do. (Of course there is a tremendous scope to improve, grow…and probably earn!)

As far as sex-education, I did figure out most of it myself by reading stuff on sex, relationship, dating, human biology and psychology. So much so that I went on to the other extreme. Today, my friends playfully blame me for having most of my Facebook status updates on either girls or sex!

But what if I couldn't have been able to make a come-back? Where would have I been lurching today? I don't know. But let's just say "all's well that ends well" and sweep sex-education under the carpet once again.

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