So what did your mom send for lunch today?

First Guest Post by Ashish Mukundan, my classmate from engineering.

I look around. In the middle class  bubble  we interact in everyday, where your daily luggage includes a box or two with lunch (with  a little extra to share with your colleagues), where a print out at home is taken only when necessary (only in front-and-back, in b/w), I many times sit with a particular thought running: How do these people  ever  have sex with each other!?  The middle aged blue-collar army is probably the most unattractive sect I can think of. You can look through the women’s moustaches, the men’s rice fed bellies and see they cover a half way  decent physical  body under all their gross coats. No, not to be shallow and sideline character and emotions and all that good stuff, but in the matter of sex, physical attraction has a huge role to play in enticing and thrilling your partner, I’d think. These unattractive men and women, I’m sure make as good couples as attractive ones in all other realms, except I don’t see them match their prettier counterparts in the deeds of the night. They procreate! They make India a nation of a billion and yet it’s a mystery to me. 

Why is this at all important? Maybe these people are completely satisfied with their appearance; maybe they enjoy making love to their ungroomed spouses. Hmm. This would be quite a feat after media of all kind today bombard our brains with the idea of a perfect body, perfect lifestyle. Anyway, why does this concern you, or I? We’re, after all, the pretty, new and improved generation, right? I see this as a small nagging end of a huge problem. It is why on the night India won the world cup last year, people filled streets and danced up to late in the night, but half the population of the country had to be locked in and celebrate from home, safe from “the men”. It is why many schools have girls and boys sit in separate 
sides of the class. It is why for the silliest reasons, men wear tee shirts and women dawdle in their salwars in the wave pools of Wonder La. I have a problem with this.

As we grow up into our teens in these middle class homes, we’re taught not to waste our time indulging in “trivial” deeds like getting fancy haircuts or exploring a chic wardrobe. Anything done to sexualize yourself is seen as vulgar  or “western” and almost immediately objectionable. With years of reinforcement of these ideas, we’re made sexist, taught to lie about our feelings- very important and very prevalent sexual feelings- and brainwashed to think this right. Boys are made vary of girls, hurting their social comfort around girls and women, and girls are taught that boys are untrustworthy and must be kept at bay. Not only does this make a young adult’s life difficult, but also makes them devoid of an organic experience with their peers.

Next. The kids are old now. They have degrees and jobs and the parents do what “society” deems right next. They start “looking”. This is essentially a process of reinforcing and letting casteism, classism, survive another generation. With “love marriage” deemed a taboo  amongst relatives and neighbours, there is great drama and dialogue the adults experience if they stray. You’d think that today in the global village we live in these matters would be trivial. It is only disheartening to see it being carried forward by much of the crowd. Many alliances come and go and soon the pressure builds. Many times it happens that a choice is come to out of frustration and defeat. Sure, the boy is from “a good background, with an IT job” and the girl is “fair and humble” and there is much pomp and fare at their wedding, that night when these two strangers are to play  coitus. It works. Sure, you’re probably not “in love” or something fancy like that, but you learn to adjust, learn to live with and tolerate the other person. 

The man works, the woman cooks, cleans and might work too and soon she might tend to her baby as well. Oh, where’s the time for little trivial things like lookingpretty for your spouse or to watch what you eat? It’s a middle class life after all. Looks and style are for someone else. The mother’s little girl or boy will grow up. Grow in this middle class household, with the same sacred “middle class values”, reinforced and rekindled at every generation’s advent. But sure again the day will come, a young lad might look at these unattractive parents sitting on a mopedgoing to a wedding and ask: How do these people ever have sex with each other!?