Author Archives: Ashima Dua

Sex education- the need of the hour!!

The other day when I was trying to clear my messed up book-shelve (wondering how I manage to keep so many books under one roof?). Lost in the cleaning process, it was when my younger sister, 14 years old, came up to me to ask her endless questions that she wanted to discuss with me. Left with no other option, I dumped all my work aside, and sat down at the bay window of my room, with a cup of black coffee, to have the patience of hearing her blabbering.

The gossip was about a guy in her class, who out a mere fight, had teased her friend (Rina), mocking at her growing ‘breast’ , then how Rina started crying for being insulted in front of the entire class. And then, my sweet little sister told me, how uncomfortable she gets when boys in her class make fun of the girls.

This entire episode  made me wonder how children of her age are unaware about the nitty-gritty of ‘growing-up’ and this thought induced me to realize the importance of introducing ‘sex education’.

According to me, Sex education should not be just an option but also a necessity for teens nowadays. Children past the puberty stage need to be informed not only about body parts and the reproductive system, they are supposed to learn something deeper about relationships and safe sex, as these will teach them how to act responsibly when the time comes.

Adolescence- a time of both disorientation and discovery now describes the ‘tween’ (due to early-onset puberty) as well as ‘teen’ years between 9 and 19. It is a transitional phase of physical as well as mental development-No longer children but not yet adults, adolescents struggle with issues of independence and self-identity.

Kids of this age are naturally curious. Who knows that in order to solve their unanswered queries, they might make use of ‘internet’, or other media. And internet, being filled up with information of every sort, not able to distinguish between whether an elder or a 10 year old is surfing, might give them the ‘not-so-required’ data and force them to ‘experiment’ with sexuality. Thus, a planned and a systematic learning process of making the teens aware of the basics of the ‘phenomenon of getting mature’ should be taught.

Most young people become sexually active during adolescence. In the absence of right guidance and information, they are more likely to have multiple-partners for sex, which will lead to a rise in STDs ( sexually transmitted diseases). India with 2.47 million cases of HIV infected persons in the country and with sexual transmission being the predominant mode of HIV transmission.

Sex education is not only about relationships and intercourse. Teaching it also includes the stages of a person’s physical development, his body image, gender roles, and even his emotions. Sex education will take away the ignorance that can lead young adults to commit errors in their judgments as far as coupling and sexual interaction is concerned. With proper sex education, the incidence of teen pregnancy and irresponsible parenthood can be controlled. Sex education will also boost the confidence and self-esteem of children, which they seem to lose as they enter the puberty.Those with inadequate learning about the changes happening in their bodies end up being either afraid or confused about the situation they are facing. And if this dilemma is not addressed right away, the child may grow up shy and intimidated amidst other people.

Sex education is a gradual and an evolving process. It’s high time when the need to make the growing children aware of the changes in their bodies should be acknowledged. Introduction of sex education will definitely reap an informed and a healthy Gen-next!

First Love….!!

Do you believe in “love at first sight”?

let us have a trip down the memory lane and recall the first time when we fell in love with someone– the magic of that first look; that very microsecond when you saw him (her) for the first time; that mystical moment when you knew that yes, he (she) is the one for you; you knew before you’d taken the next breath that he (she) was the one you could spend the rest of your life looking for but never find again!

Falling in love for the first time is a very fresh and an immature experience. In the first season of love, the magical flow of every moment takes us into an altogether different path. With this new episode, tremendous feelings; varied emotions crop up- a hormonal rush creates such a dream world that we don’t even mind getting ourselves drowned into the sea of complications. When in love- just one call; a single good night wishes; long hour conversations or even a mere silence between the love birds is enchanting enough to make it the most memorable phase of life. The splendor is magnified if it’s a first affair..! A sudden spurt of change is seen- both inside and outside us- when in love for the first time!

“I remember that first love…

The warmth of the moment when you hugged me; The charm of the second when you smiled at me; The innocence of the time when you held my hand; The brightness of the sun when we walked over the sand!  
The blues of the waters who witnessed our journey; The greens of the gardens who cheered with us happily; The width of the road that narrowed when we walked together; The length of the path that elongated when we got lost in each other!

I remember that first love…

The dreams so beautiful; the moments so wonderful; The happiness of the world around; the excitement that took me upside-down; The disappointment of not seeing you; the frustration of missing you!

I remember that first love…

The depth of the trust you had on me; the strength of expectations you had from me; the everlasting moment of togetherness; the ecstasy of our liveliness!

I very well remember that first love…!”

But not everyone is lucky enough to marry their first love (I have used the word marriage because according to me marriage is the only logical step to carry forward a significant relationship to the next level). Even then the first experience is worth cherishing. The first time you fall in love, it changes your life forever, and no matter how hard you try, whatever you do, the feeling never goes away. It stays with you forever!

In the unfortunate cases, there can never be any regrets with the first love, but only lessons! I can recollect when I fell in love for the first time (but this realization came in very late). Though I couldn’t get him, but trust me, I have got no hard feelings for him or God, for not making him my destiny. I learnt a lot in the process and can never ever forget the best of those moments which I shared with him! We don’t have any right to blame our fate, or God or anyone else for not getting our first love (just peep inside your heart and ask yourself- I’m sure you’ll find something which you had learnt from your first experience for which you must be grateful today).

Now the issue is ‘what next’?

After having lost our first love, how can we move on? Aah… Leave that to God- somewhere, someone is being wrapped for us! And the depression of having lost our love will surpass as soon as we’ll meet the final one!!(*wink*)

Accepting Homosexuality- The Paradox!!

I walked out of my house with a wallet in my one hand and a broken mobile in another (must get this phone repaired soon). Just to get rid of my mom’s angry words for not helping her in work (I guess it’s every girl’s gloomy story), I preferred inhaling the fresh air (doubtful about its freshness though). Lost in the jungle of my thoughts, of how impatient I have become, my eyes caught hold of a couple (don’t know if it’s the ‘perfect’ word used). The girl, with appealing eyes, was laughing with a slight dimple on her left cheek; and her counterpart, the other ‘girl’ was innocently watching her giggling. Seems innocuous! Looks simple! BUT, is it?

“Ooo…they are lesbians”; “OMG! She has a girl friend”; “this is illegal in India!” etc. These are some of the initial remarks that strike most of our ‘intellectual’ heads. Since the de-criminalization homosexuality in India, there has been a vibrant debate about the validity of this contemplation. Despite the Court reforms, homophobia (fear of or contempt for lesbians and gay men) still persist in the nation. Many cultural organizations categorize homosexuality as a western/foreign import and deny its existence. To them it is alien to Indian culture, and looked upon as a corrupting influence that needs to be curbed. The irony here is that homosexuality is not something the West has taught us; the West taught us how to criminalize this very concept. The fact that we are unaware of is- that homosexuality has a reference in our religious texts. Ancient Hindu scriptures, such as Rig Veda make clear mention to sexual acts between women. Further the carvings and depictions in the famous temples of Khajuraho, Konark, Puri are proof of the same.

The next debate that has turned the clock is whether gay marriage should be allowed in our country or not?

No doubt that in the past 50 years, social life has been under continuous change with the introduction and propagation of globalization. ‘Gay (same sex) marriages’–is one of those topics which has come up often for discussion and India is no exception to this. A recent State of the Nation CNN-IBN survey revealed that as many as 73% Indians feel homosexuality should be considered illegal while 83% felt that homosexuality is not part of Indian culture.

Yes, ours is a traditional nation, with morals and values. Yes, marriage is considered as a very pure ritual on our land. Yes, sexual intimacy between a female and a male is a convention among our people

But I fail to understand, why can’t we have a revolution— in terms of changing our conventions? Don’t we have a freedom to make a choice? Is it ethical or moral when taking away from someone the right of choosing a life partner? Why in our country, LGBTs (Lesbian, gay, Bisexual and Trans-sexual) are seen with an “Oh, my God!” kind of outlook? Why is our country so critical of homosexuality that it dismisses even the slightest hint in this direction with an embarrassed yet stern approach?

Is it not time for our country to stop trying to control what two consenting adults may do behind closed doors? Is it not time for our country to come out of its cocoon of misconception and realize that as much as they hope for it, the gay and lesbian community in our country isn’t going anywhere; they will remain here and keep demanding their rights until they get it? For our Country to accept certain norms and shun others is quite hypocritical. While the whole world has started recognizing and respecting homosexuals and granting them all legal rights due in today’s era to any human being, our Country treats consensual adult love between people of the same sex as sodomy, and refuses to grant same sex relationships the sanctity that is due to them.

The universal law of Human Rights states that social norms, tradition, custom or culture cannot be used to curb a person from asserting his fundamental and constitutional rights.

The gay relationship can be legalized through marriage which will prevent the cases of illegitimate secret relations. Marriage not only gives to people the right to co-habit but also gives them rights as far as issues like property, inheritance, maintenance, adoption, pension, insurance, employee benefits etc., are concerned. Another point is of respect. A satisfactory personal life is as much a right of gay couples as straight couples.

There is no cure to a darkness that refuses the light of the day. It’s high time that we come out of the closet of our pre-defined notions, and think rationally!

Hmm…While I got lost in my thoughts, I can still see the love birds chatting! Taking departure from staring them since a ‘very’ long time, I better be going back home now and lend a hand to my mother (perhaps she might give me an extra dollar for my pocket money! *wink*)