Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday musings...

Do you remember the computer jokes that used to come around in the early days of IT? Even we got them and we shared it with our friends in school.

Girl 1: Heard this joke? Back in the good old days a Hard Drive was a long trip home.
Everyone: Ha ha ha ha ha
Girl 1: And a Cursor was a profanity
Everyone: Ha ha ha ha ha
Girl 2 whispering to Girl 3: Hey what did that mean?
Girl 3 whispering back: I have no idea.

I then went home and consulted with the tech gurus and got the answers for the crowd waiting with bated breath back in school. By then some new joke about new and old terminology would surface and we would go back to the pretend game.

Then came pre teens and books like Mills and Boon…a little more solid than the baby food called Enid Blyton and the cycle repeated again.

Girl 1: Did you read Twilight Passion? I think the girl was stupid to get pregnant!!
Girl 2: Absolutely!!!! err but how did she get pregnant?
Girl 1: ahem err I mean, you kids won’t understand.
Girl 3: What do you mean ‘you kids’?? We are in the same class!!
Girl 1: No baba. I am not telling. I don’t want your mother coming with a fight.

The reality was that even she didn’t know and wouldn’t be caught dead admitting the same. I marched right back home and confronted my mother who was left very red faced and distracted me into another topic .

Pregnancy was a hot topic in class as we entered early teens though none of us knew how it happened. It was fashionable to talk about the the problems of girls getting pregnant before marriage after reading about the same in Femina and Savvy and other women’s magazine. But no one knew how it happened or thought in that direction. There wasn’t much to arouse curiosity or questions in a convent school.

Love was a simple emotion for us then. People in love held hands, give each other gifts and maybe a kiss as shown in on TV and since TV viewing was strictly limited and censored we lived in the ignorant bliss till a Harold Robbin happened and if we were not caught with it.

Then my aunt was enlisted to tell me about the birds and the bees and it was like a bucket of cold water being thrown on the lovey dovey couple we picturised. I refused to believe that the lovey dovey couples who looked so cute would do something so dirty. I was so mad at my aunt for bursting my balloon! Wasn’t there anything sacred left in the world anymore I wondered!! Having told me the basics, my aunt then proceeded to soften the blow by telling me how it was natural for two people in love “and married” and that that is how “married people” expressed their love blah blah. The emphasis on the word ‘married” was like a hot branding iron on my young mind and it sort of reassured me, as at that age growing up and getting married was a zillion years away!

Then came 10th standard and by now most of us knew about the birds and bees and had lost all interest in it. We were all young South Indian ladies by now and our talks mostly veered around career options, clothes and make up and Hollywood and Bollywood stars, though not exactly in that order.

This period also had its moments of comedy when a Nun gave us our first and last sex education class just before we left school. If the Nuns wanted us to be perpetually scared of men, then they succeeded with that one class. We looked on in horror mouth agape, as the Nun told us how a guy cannot stop if he is aroused and has to complete the act!! We were immediately reminded of the legend of the “Gurkha” who has to kill someone once he unsheathes his knife. Petrifying!

Today we laugh hysterically when we talk about that class, but we also gratefully acknowledge those nuns for saving countless young girls from falling into the trap of wily guys who knew how to play with the emotions of the Indian girl, most of whom were used to being second class citizens in their homes and grateful for the attention. The Convent gave these girls self esteem and self worth and more than a decent education and this is why there was/is a craze for Convent education.

It didn't matter from which strata of society the girls came from. Most were sitting ducks for smart guys due to the street savviness denied to girls by segregating them from guys and the taboo on mixing with boys. The Nuns were/are a big help in this kind of social set up even if it means that in their zeal they ended up dissing all guys as bad. Considering the fact that the percentage of gentlemen to cads in India is very low, I wouldn't blame those Nuns at all. It is better to be paranoid than sorry when you are an Indian girl.

A salute to all those Nuns who run convent schools. Inspite of all your doddering and gaffes in matter pertaining to love and relationships, your concept of every child being a gift of God helped millions of Indian girls in ways most people will never know or appreciate. It is no point promulgating laws to help the girl child. She has to be nurtured too and for most Indian girls their first experience of nurturing comes in Convent schools. God bless you all and may your tribe increase and teach the girls because your values will never become outdated and we have a long way to go before the Indian girl child comes into her own.


silverine said...

Kavi: LOL!!!

Anyways let us stick to the "positive" aspect of their contributions to womankind in this post :)

Kavi said...

Defenitely, no one can deny the postive side of their contributions not just to the womankind, but to the entire humankind.:-)

Aravind said...

I seriously don't know why they keep a lot of Harold Robbin books in library. Anyway, I wasn't complaining.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha a good run down throu memory lane..interesting..but do you know the opposite effect..the repression at such an early stage will cause a very small % of women who will go to the other extreme to taste the forbiden fruit. A huge majority (perhaps an overwhelming majority) wiil benefit short term from this "wrong advice". In general this is true also ..a man once aroused cannot be put down so easily. So also a girl if I am not mistaken. I dont think any girl child in a lower mid class or mid class (the classes who go to convent school) are second class citizens in their homes. In fact on an average they are zealously over protected by their dads/brothers/mums . Maybe in poor and below poverty line families..and maybe agragarian families, the problem will be there due to old way of thinking. If a family is troubled it will affect the boy and girl child equally. At the rootcause is troubled family if the child is not getting love from either and/or both parents. Not the girl child. (unless dowry is a problem..but it usually surfaces maybe at age of 20~27 thetypical marriage age of the girl.


Deepti said...

ROFL... absolutely

mathew said...

i must say girls are lucky in that sense..for guys it is hard truth that most of em rely on porn to learn "things"..No parents would teach the son because of the obvious discomfort in discussing that..and no school would do is a welcome change that our education has included the taboo topic..

I know many nuns whom I met after school and they are really nice things about talking to nuns is that we dont feel that kind of "priest superior" which we feel while talking to clergy..except for few over zealous conversion agenda folks..

on a lighter note even i wanted to study in a convent school...;-P

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

4th standard
scene: inside a bus,
A: hey, i'll tell you something if you wont tell anyone, and give me that eraser of yours
A: you know what they do when they get married?
B: No way! you mean my ppl too?

time flew. the daddy once decided to have a man-to-man conversation with the son (i think this was 6th std)

daddy: so, you know what sex is?
son: yes.
daddy: ugh.. *surprised like hell* what is it?
son: it is either male or female. :D
daddy: (takes a deep breath) oh, but there is also something else..
son: hehe.. i know that too!
*big grin*

Alameen said...

Reminded me about a jayaram movie which i watched long time ago. In the movie Jayaram hugs a lady.. And later she becomes pregnant. I used to believe that hugging is the reason for the pregnancy and was damn scared when some elder ladies offer me a hug.. I never wanted to spoil their life.. hahahah


Jiby said...

lol...i wish i could write a post on our coming of age years. though unbelievably hilarious, unfortunately most of the stories are unfit to print. Trust me, i have a post composed half-way and abandoned! For most of us too, adoloscensce hit before we realized what was happening and the first year was a period of mental trauma until we all got close enough to seek each other's counsel and started sharing the "bad news" with each other. by the time we were in the 11th these stories had become folk-lore amongst us and was part of our bloopers list!!!

anyways, i can't forget our sex education was taken by our biology teacher, a lady. One day in the 9th, she announced without warning that the class would be held outdoors, and we assumed it was going to be a botany class, where she would show us trees and plants! our shock was so immense when she said the topic was sex, and i still remember the poor teacher squirming in discomfort as the rowdier guys asked uncomfortable questions, the less rowdier giggled uncontrollably and the nice boys sat red-faced, and the guys who were yet to get there putting on a show of knowing it all!

neways, good times. how i wish now i was an anonymous blogger!

ap said...


@Mathew ....that is so true!!!!

silverine said...

Kavi: True! The positive side will always be making girls vary!

Aravind: We didn't have them in our library!

Anon: Wonderful memories indeed!

Deepti: Strikes a chord yeah?! :p

Mathew: To be frank, no one liked the Mallu Nuns. They didn't have what it takes to be Nuns and behaved like ordinary mallu women. The foreign and Goan and Mangalorean Nuns on the other hand had all the qualities of a Nun as they had willingly become Nuns and not because their parents couldn't afford the dowry. From my cousin sisters in Kerala I hear similar experiences. But yes, the real Nuns are people whom I adore to bits and you find them among mallus too :)

TW: Lol!! Reminds me of my Dad giving my eldest bro a Beer on his birthday so that he would hence forth drink in front of him and bro squirming because he had already done that chadangu with my Dad's youngest bro when he was 15 :p

Alameen: Gosh...even we have gone thru all those misconceptions!

Jiby: Wise decision indeed to abandon the post :p I think guys go thru more tensions than us and I pity that poor teacher taking sex education classes for boys! Horrible! Poor lady! :))

AP: :)

Adorable Pancreas said...

I'm sorry I have to diagree. Not exactly disagree, more like the demerits of convent education. All the convent educated girls I know are unable use their creativity and think for themselves. The emphasis was on getting great marks in their exams and not on understanding the subject. Maybe this is true only of convent schools in Kerala, where SSLC ranks are prized beyond anything else. But I have to agree that their contribution to education is enormous, but I keep thinking about the price we paid for that. The declining standards of our education system? A girl I know translated 'kaattuvalli' as 'wild rope' on her English paper and got 50/50. And that was the SSLC exam. God.

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

The Nuns were/are a big help in this kind of social set up even if it means that in their zeal they ended up dissing all guys as bad. Considering the fact that the percentage of gentlemen to cads in India is very low, I wouldn't blame those Nuns at all. It is better to be paranoid than sorry when you are an Indian girl.

Silverine, it is never advisable, especially with kids, to treat some subject with undue caution or censor. It only makes the child more curious, and obsessed with that subject. I think an open attitude to the whole subject of sex, at least in school, if not at home too, would be the most appropriate. One of the repercussions of the 'all guys are bad' myth is that most girls, as you said, become paranoid, and overly calculative, losing out on a great degree of true love that can be gained from some more faith in their male friends. Ah well...