Via WritingInTheKitchen.Com

Sex and the Indian Woman

Does anyone remember Lakshmi Pandit?

I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. Her story was small and insignificant in the face of other stories, but it changed her life.

Lakshmi was a beautiful and ambitious young woman who competed in the Miss India pageant with dreams of changing her life, and, for a very short brief period, she did. It was only a matter of days before she ‘fell from grace’, and was forced to return the crown she had fought so hard to win.

To cut a long story short, she was living with her boyfriend in a middle class neighbourhood in suburban Mumbai. Astounded neighbours who watched her win the title blew the whistle on her ‘marital status’, and the press raked her over the proverbial hot coals. She was forced to admit that she’d lied about her marital status on her rental agreement so that she could live with her boyfriend in peace, without fear of judgement. Her statement reads that she willingly returned her crown, and that it was accepted just as willingly. I bet she did return it willingly. If it were me, I’d give up anything just to get people to leave me the hell alone.

If you’re not Indian, you probably don’t understand this. Why this hullabaloo about two people in love living with one another? If you are Indian, then you know why. It’s because it has something to do with sex, and sex, as you know, is sin. Oh, it isn’t sinful when a man does it. Men, as we are all told over and over again, have needs. It isn’t like Indian women don’t have needs. We’re no different to women all over the world. However, if you’re Indian, and you’re a woman, and you’re decent, you just don’t put out. You don’t live in sin. You don’t sleep with anyone except your husband. You’re supposed to get married a virgin. Imagine how terrifying that would be, especially for women who still go through the Indian system of arranged marriages. You barely know the man, and you’re just supposed to get naked with him. You just are. Your parents signed you away, and you’re someone’s wife now. It’s time to put out.

A while back I read an article in the Times about how difficult it was for single women trying to find accommodation in Chennai, the city I live in. Unless you’re willing to live in someone’s home as a paying guest, or you’re willing to rough it in a working women’s hostel, you can’t find an apartment or a house for love or money. A single woman living alone, it said, is continually harassed, either by her landlord or landlady, or by her neighbours. Her actions are under constant scrutiny, and heaven forbid she ever brings a man back to her apartment – which she legally rents – to spend the night. The writer of the article had interviewed a few women who said they felt their actions were continually monitored. One woman even complained that she wasn’t allowed to entertain _anyone_ in her apartment. If she wanted to meet her friends, she said, she arranged to meet them in a restaurant or a café. She couldn’t bring them back to her place, or she would lose it. Some women beat this system by buying their own place, but the majority just go with it.

What a preposterous, ugly thing. Why is it that Indians treat their women so shamefully? Oh, wait. There’s that sex ratio thing again. That shameful statistic that has come to be one of the definitions of modern India. We can’t stop talking about it. I can look it up on every single day of the week to find articles, interviews, and blog posts harping on and on and on and on about the skewered sex ratio in India. Indians, as we all know, love to talk. Meanwhile, somewhere, as I write this, another baby girl was murdered.

I remember telling my best friend over coffee a few weeks ago that it isn’t with Indian men that the problem lies – although they are hardly blameless – but with Indian women. That’s where the issue stems. You see, Indian women treat their sons like living gods, while their daughters are expected to pick up where their mothers left off. Often, they do. The living gods grow up and expect their wives to pick up where their mothers left off. Often, they do. A large number of women who were convicted of murdering their daughters spoke of unspeakable tortures – not at the hands of their husbands, although these did occur – but for the most part, at the hands of their mothers-in-law. Women kicking women down. How hateful. How despicable. How utterly typical.

However, I digress, if only slightly.

When Richard Gere kissed Shilpa Shetty, I paid no attention to it. It was a little news blip that happened for a few seconds, and then it was lost. But I did sit up and pay attention to it when I heard that three people were suing Gere for the kiss. At first I laughed, and then I boggled. The rage over the kiss spread far and wide. People burned posters on the streets. There were rallies! It was just a kiss. It wasn’t even a full on make-out session. It wasn’t the pair of them snogging on stage in front of thousands of people. He dipped her and kissed her on her cheek, and it was over in a few seconds. Well, apparently not.

Apparently, that kiss went against the grain of ‘Indian culture’. Excuse me? Is this the same culture that gave the world the Kamasutra? Is this the same culture that has hundreds of statues of naked men and women doing the dirty, all dating back to thousands of years ago? It’s that culture we’re talking about? We were once a proud people who enjoyed sex, and we enjoyed letting the world know that we enjoyed it. We sang songs about it. We wrote a book about it – a book that has become the definitive book of sex and love. And suddenly sex is against our culture? Yeah, I know. Excuse me while I pick my chin up off the floor.

Do you think for one moment that if Lakshmi Pandit’s boyfriend had been in the male equivalent of Miss India, and he’d won the title that she won, that he would have had to give it back just because it was revealed that he lived with a woman? Not in a million billion gazillion years. One rule for the Indian man, and another rule, a whole other rule, for the Indian woman. Do you think Indian men are subjected to rules about whom they can entertain at their apartments? Not in any universe, they’re not. Is the male child in danger of dwindling out, slowly? Are there advertisements exhorting people to ‘love the male child’? No. Sons are always welcome. They’re precious, and wonderful, and join the family like they were always a part of it. The hated daughter isn’t, and yet she’s the one who will probably look out for her parents until they die. Your son’s your son until he takes a wife, but your daughter’s your daughter all of her life. Isn’t that right?

It’s time India woke up to the facts. Sex isn’t taboo. It isn’t a sin. Indian women have a right to live their lives the way they want to live it, with the person of their choosing, and they don’t have to get married first in order to do it. Come on, India. There are over a billion of us, and we still pretend we’re all the products of immaculate conception.

Well, balls to that.

49 Comments

  • Avatar
    stace8383 28th January 2012 at 2:37 am

    Italians and Greeks are often the same. Idolise their sons, spoil them rotten, permit them anything and give them everything. But the daughters are simply expected to grow up, marry, and keep house. And BE NICE! It truly is an astonishing double-standard, perpetuated by the very women who should be rebelling against it for the sake of their daughters.

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    Logan 14th March 2012 at 5:38 pm

    I totally agree to your views here. There is too much inequality when it comes to boys and girls and must be removed. The problem is, even when people want it to be removed, they don’t speak out.

    Though here, in Ahmedabad, things are different. Girls are treated much nicely and are allowed to bring their friends with them to their flats. They don’t have much issues in renting a flat all by their own, and live-in relationships are also allowed (in some areas, not in all).

    Hope our next generation will see things differently…….

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    moonbeam5153 5th April 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Don’t have my head buried in the sand, but this always surprises and saddens me. I hope things change, but we all know that change happens too slowly at times!

    I know that here in the U.S. my neighbors are probably celebrating (more so because they all know that I’m 60!) now that there’s a new vehicle in the driveway on a regular basis – and definitely overnight!!!

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    tvaraj 18th April 2012 at 11:05 am

    Reblogged this on Impressions and commented:
    What a preposterous, ugly thing. Why is it that Indians treat their women so shamefully? Oh, wait. There’s that sex ratio thing again. That shameful statistic that has come to be one of the definitions of modern India. We can’t stop talking about it. I can look it up on every single day of the week to find articles, interviews, and blog posts harping on and on and on and on about the skewered sex ratio in India. Indians, as we all know, love to talk. Meanwhile, somewhere, as I write this, another baby girl was murdered.

    Reply
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    tvaraj 18th April 2012 at 11:20 am

    Awanthi,

    Your post is thought provoking; and I have reblogged it on my blog site “Impressions”.

    Reply
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    kapilguitarist 5th May 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Wonderful Post!!

    My Views – Human being is not a liability be it a Boy or Girl. It’s unfortunate that ‘obsolete society’ of India is still in majority, but i.e. y they are loosing its grace. In my life they have. Truth need no ‘Announcement’ it’s alone enough. I have never been able to divide Boy or Girl psychologically, anytime in my upbringing and life. Am I an exception? May be Yes. But one can see the ‘point’ where different perspectives prevails for boy and gals. But It has to, as you said “Women kicking women down” but do you think they have a choice? If Yes then why they don’t choose it?

    The reason is that they are unable to uproot themselves from the influence of system. To believe, to self-realize and grow consciously to take step. One is a thought, other is a decision and there is a life between it. But India has started..:)

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    newheavenonearth 27th July 2012 at 2:07 am

    “hated daughter” makes me weep
    “another baby girl murdered” makes me weep exponentially
    the Dalai Lama said “the world will be saved by the western woman” but I would like to amend that statement to: the world will be healed by women being accepted and allowed to be all that we are created to be…
    the last 12,000 years was the season of masculine ways,
    the next 12,000 years are the season of feminine ways: peace, love, joy, harmony, inner empowerment, inner knowing, inner wisdom, inner healing resulting in the external world healing and being restoring to wholeness…
    God bless women, girls and female fetuses….oh, and we ALL start out as female fetuses until about 8 weeks when the testosterone starts and changes the female fetus into a male. While the fetus is growing a penis and male sexual characteristics, the female fetus is growing more brain connections between the left and right hemisphere of the brain. It is time for women to take their whole brains into their whole hearts and bring wholeness to the earth.

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    Akash 19th September 2012 at 12:38 am

    Just 1 Question that can answer everything: Say, If you are not a virgin & you are getting married, what would you tell/admit to your family / husband ?

    Awaiting response.

    Reply
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      Awanthi @ Sybaritic Pleasures 19th September 2012 at 9:39 am

      A woman’s sexual history is nobody’s business but her own. What is the point of your question?

      Reply
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        Akash 19th September 2012 at 12:40 pm

        Wow, do you mean a married couple have nothing to do with each other’s sexual history ?

        I’m sorry but I disagree with so many things written here…
        >> Your son’s your son until he takes a wife, but your daughter’s your daughter all of her life. Isn’t that right?
        LOL. That’s not true. Infact, I know my parents would love my wife much more than me. (I’ll have to take the heat :-)) Its just that some girls these days believe in ‘eye for an eye’ stuff with their in-laws, which is not advisable.

        >> It’s time India woke up to the facts. Sex isn’t taboo. It isn’t a sin.
        If you believe it is not a sin, why is it that most would-be-married girls tend to “hide” everything from their husbands ? Same is the case for married women who cheat. How many girls stand up and say that ‘yes, we have had partners before ?’
        The problem is that most girls who think sex is not a taboo (like you) do not respect those who dont agree with you… result is that they cheat & hide.
        http://www.google.co.in/search?q=how+do+I+hide+that+I'm+not+a+virgin+india
        AND
        http://www.google.co.in/search?q=should+I+tell+him+I'm+no+virgin+site:in.answers.yahoo.com
        Forget the questions, look at the answers. More than 90% suggest the victims to keep everything behind the curtains.

        IMHO, India does not need to ‘wake up’. It is much better than any country on the relationships front. I know many girls have gone through brutal stuff (in some parts of India) but it is much more in the western countries.

        There are so many blogs who talk about orgasms & advertise sexual satisfaction, that people always look upon it with an adventurous journey rather than to add to their knowledge.

        Sex is not a taboo but not that casual either. Why is it that we dont ‘look up to having’ only ONE sexual partner for our life ? Sexual pleasure & desires dont have any limit… The more you get … the more you want.

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          Awanthi @ Sybaritic Pleasures 19th September 2012 at 6:32 pm

          If I felt the need to run and hide, I wouldn’t be blogging about it, using my real name, with links to my real life. Do you really think I’ll marry the kind of man who’d have a problem with my sexual history?

          At no point during the entire post did I say anything about sex being casual. The entire post was about empowering and celebrating the Indian woman and her decision to live her life without feeling the need to bow down to pressure from men like you to be something she is not. Sex is a private thing and a sacred thing, but everyone has the right to view it the way that they want to. I have no problem with sex between consenting adults and I don’t refer to them as ‘victims’, which is what you’ve done. Unless the sex was not consensual, I see no victimisation here.

          Why did you use the word ‘admit’ in your initial question? And what do the guy’s parents or the woman’s parents have to do with anything? Your sexual history and your partner’s are first and foremost your business, and then it is between you and your partner. Why do families have to even come into it?

          And then you trot out – what – search engine queries? Do you know how many anti-male search engine queries I can find if I wanted to? The reason why women are even googling stuff like that is because of men like you and your archaic attitudes to women’s rights.

          You know, you have no link to your blog or your real life. Is Akash even your real name? Why are YOU hiding? What are you afraid of?

          Reply
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    lundunlass 19th September 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Hey, this Akash guy is all about blaming women too, the whole ‘it’s all the woman’s fault’ thing. Are all Indian men such arseholes, A?

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      Awanthi @ Sybaritic Pleasures 19th September 2012 at 6:40 pm

      *rofl* Who knows? I haven’t surveyed them, and I’m not about to start. 😉

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        lundunlass 19th September 2012 at 6:42 pm

        Maybe he didn’t think about the fact that you wouldn’t even have approved his comments if you ‘disagree and cheat and hide’. He’s pretty much implied that women who have sex are cheaters, liars, victims and sluts in one comment! Wow he totally achieved the impossible!

        Reply
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      cavalierme 25th November 2012 at 11:29 pm

      NO we are not….but many are. But change is happening, from my personal experience i can say that slowly yet surely the Indian society is bound to change. Soon the new more liberated generation would be in charge and a proper perspective on such things should emerge. I for one divulged completely my past to my partner and left it to her to tell me hers, with assurance of no consequences. And there exist others like me i suppose. Its whole virginity=purity concept that is prevalent to blame for this !!

      Reply
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    lundunlass 19th September 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Take care!

    Reply
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    Akash 19th September 2012 at 9:58 pm

    It is difficult to understand women. I dont need a blog when I’m not interested in writing one.
    I did not get how do some women who advocate sleeping with other men.. (i.e. consenting adults) say that sex is not casual ? How can it be sacred for you to sleep with your husbands friend if you feel like doing so.
    >>your archaic attitudes to women’s rights.
    Utter nonsense, I’d never consider women inferior.. I’m just against some women (may not be you) who believe in sex with multiple partners but do it behind the curtains by hiding the facts (for WHATEVER reason).

    Reply
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      Awanthi @ Sybaritic Pleasures 19th September 2012 at 11:20 pm

      Er. I never said anything about ‘a husband’s friend’ or having sex with multiple partners. Please read my post again. I merely maintain over and over again that a woman – as a man does – has the right to make decisions for her life no matter what those decisions _are_.

      As to being open with your motives and honest about your actions and OWN your life, that is true of both men and women; I don’t think either sex should conceal their true intentions or lie about their past. Those actions are pointless and shameful, no matter who does it. 🙂

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      Abhishek 22nd September 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Akash, mate, we get it. You want your wife to be a complete virgin, who was born and raised in a tall tower in middle of nowhere, with super-short hairs and not a creature with hint of a Y chromosome in sight.

      And that is completely your choice. Problem here is, that you are being an idiot here trying to protest against things that were never said in the blog. All Awanthi said was that if someone wanted to sleep with someone, it is THEIR personal business. Not yours or mine. You do not want to marry a person who was not a virgin, that is entirely your decision. You also have full rights to NOT want to marry a person who is drinks coffee.

      But just because YOU would not want to marry a coffee drinker, you do not have a right to demand that all females should stop drinking coffee. That is not for you to decide. And yes we get it that you are really worried that your wife may have had sex with someone else before she met you. I suppose lots of Indian males think it would be a bummer if she started comparing and found you, well… coming short.

      And unfortunately, it is kinda tough for Indian guys to go and ask their prospective arranged marriage partner during the first “interview” … “hey so did you ever do the dirty with another guy?”. And even if you did(and did not get slapped), what if… oh! horrors! What if she lied???!!!! So yes, I see your problem. It would be far easier to put ALL the girls on the straight path and see to it that they are not led astray. I bid you good luck Don Quixote! Don’t let any windmills escape!

      Btw, some girls hide their history, because of the harassment they would suffer from certain nutcases, out to put girls on the straight and narrow. You might notice, that most of us Indian males practically brag about the girls we laid, and yet every single one of such Indian males would be horrified if they found it that their spouse had a sexual history too. Hypocrisy much?

      Awanthi was NOT advocating for orgies, one night stands or swapping partners or anything your fanciful mind is coming up with. Those things ARE a bad idea just from STDs point of view alone. But if you wanted half a clue, a decent guy would NOT ask his partner about their sexual history in the first place. You would be perfectly within your rights to ask for a STD test, provided you were willing to undergo the same. And Even if you did marry a virgin, and were fighting with her every single day and making her life hell, there is a strong chance she would be vulnerable to the first sympathetic shoulder that came along. Loyalty has nothing to do with how many sexual partners your spouse had, before she met you. It has everything to do with mutual love.

      No wonder you claim you have difficulty understanding women. You are too busy trying to tell them how you want them to be, rather than trying to understand them how they are, in the first place.

      Reply
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        Awanthi @ Sybaritic Pleasures 22nd September 2012 at 11:04 pm

        Abhishek, I don’t know who you are, but you the type of Indian man I didn’t know existed! In other words: THANK YOU!

        Reply
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    dpk 20th November 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I said the same thing to a bunch of friends. All I got in response was some raised eyebrows and a snigger.

    “We just know you want sex. You don’t have to give such lame excuses” is what they tell me.

    I’m a guy, they are girls. Its different when a girl tells them I suppose.

    Its always different when a woman says it in India.

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      dpk 20th November 2012 at 4:06 pm

      BTW, I agree with you completely. Its time desi girls started to enjoy le sexytimes and feel proud about it. “I got laid last night” must be something every girl should feel proud to tell her friends.

      I’ve grown tired listening to all the “but that’s not our culture” bullshit. That entire argument is wrong on two counts:
      1. culture. [noun] : the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.
      Culture is not dictated to us, not enforced upon us nor is it programmed into our DNA or souls. Culture is something we choose to follow and accept. Anyone who wants any girl to accept the doctrine that she should not do what she wants to do, because it is not part of the behaviors or beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic or age group, is trespassing on your rights to liberty and freedom of choice and freedom to live the way you want to.

      2. “Our culture”. If by this you mean the couple-of-thousand-years-old culture that we follow is the best system of values and ethics to live by, remember that this very culture has seen a whole bunch of shifts and changes. Arranged marriages did not exist a few centuries ago. Marrying someone for love was considered to be perfectly normal (read between the lines of Mahabarata or Ramayana if you don’t believe me). A formal engagement with exchanging rings is a European concept that is now part of the desi arranged marriages.
      Our culture has one characteristic feature- it has evolved and adapted over time to suit the needs and the circumstances of that generation. It was once acceptable for court appointed scholars to meet and write a book on sex (Its called Kamasutra today). It was once acceptable for 6 year old kids to be married to each other. I believe its time we accept that girls have libido too, and they want to get some every now and then.

      Its time desi girls start opening up and having fun. You’ve got my support!

      Reply
  • Sex and the Indian Woman by Awanthi Vardaraj « Impressions 21st November 2012 at 10:08 am

    […] By Awanthi Vardaraj […]

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    krishna 22nd November 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Abhishek, well said bro. The thinking that Aakash here stands for, put that head on the shoulders of a brat, narrow-minded individual with progressive, smoking/coffee drinking women with enough male friends (not even sleeping partners), and he would be quick to assume that she is a wayward, immoral, spoiled female, and if the poor gals gets raped/molested, he would be one of those trying to justify the atrocity by calling her character in question, if not secretly desire to give that treatment to her, himself.

    I m taking the liberty to assume a lot of things from Aakash’s frame of mind because he did the same in his arguments.

    To what you said Aakash, realistically in India what would you think is the ratio of virgin boys getting married/ virgin gals getting married? I would put it at 3:7

    If you think you are for equality of females, you should be happy that culturally it is not common for females to ask that question in India to their would be legal partners or expect an honest answer, as opposed to men who would probably sulk and destroy their marriage if they find out that their woman had a boyfriend she slept with.

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    krishna 22nd November 2012 at 12:13 pm

    To the author, you would appreciate that the case of Laxmi Pandit had it happened today, it would be entirely different in terms of her retaining the Crown and the reaction from the masses to the incident. One simple reason is because owing to the exposure to media, larger public is aware of the existence of Live-in relationships, even if they still dont accept them yet as part of our social setup, and also because it was legalized by law, and court jurisdiction recently. Yes Laxmi Pandit wouldnt be seen as the model Indian girl fit to represent India but i believe the public reaction would be to just ignore that aspect and let her have what she deserves.

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      Awanthi @ Sybaritic Pleasures 22nd November 2012 at 3:28 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Krishna.

      I’m not sure why a confident woman who is in love with a man so much so that she is in a committed relationship with him and living with him is unfit to ‘represent India’. My entire post is about living and letting live, about not being quick to judge, and about acceptance of the strength and independence of women in a supposedly modern democracy. I don’t know that things are so very different now; the media seems to leap from one sensational news story to the next. Of course they have more of a voice and more of a presence now, and perhaps there would have been a hue and cry about it, but the fact remains that the fuss would have been made in the first place.

      I’m just saying that there’s nothing to make a fuss about. 🙂

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    Ashish 23rd November 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Dear Avanthi,

    I agree and support most of the points you have made here and truly empathize with you. According to a new poll by the Thomson Reuters Foundation India is the worst place to be a woman among top 19 economies of the world, SEX is a private affair between a man and woman and I believe that it really doesn’t concern others’ opinions, thoughts or uninvited attention. Sex is not a sin but outside a committed relationship it is. It’s a special expression of love, this implies that love has to be there first and commitment follows as a result of love. Now, Adultery is equally bad for men and women. This is all about my opinions.
    Now India as a society is based on double standards (I am also an Indian, so there are exceptions!). We are taught double standards through children stories, in our families, tv, religious texts. much glorified Vedas & Puranas don’t put women in very respectful position. A woman is seen as an object – adored, worshiped, enjoyed but not respected as equal.

    As far as moral concerns are there regarding sex, I say, it must come from within a person’s heart. Outsiders interfering in someone’s sexual life only brings a negative air which hampers all sorts of progress in an individual’s life.

    God Bless you! And be proud of your emotions & feelings.

    Ashish

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    Surya 24th November 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Dear Avanthi,

    Its been 2 days I read this post and still, I find questions ringing in my head, puzzling me all the time. Thanks for such enlightenment. (Being an Indian Guy, I need a bit more of such sessions, for sure :P)
    I would suggest your emotions and energy deserve a better place than a WordPress blog. Hope will see you in action, if you aren’t in any by now.

    Reply
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      Awanthi @ Sybaritic Pleasures 25th November 2012 at 3:32 pm

      Thank you, Surya, for your kind comment. Watch this space, as I hope to be published soon.

      Thanks again, and keep reading. 🙂

      Reply
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    Harshid Sridhar 25th November 2012 at 12:28 am

    Great post . I believe that Although it is the most natural thing to do the concept of sex is over-hyped . If sex is a sin why are we the second most populous country ! We come from a culture who were open enough to write about the ‘Kama sutra’ for godsake !

    I believe that people should move on and focus on their work , instead who is dating whom , which gal/guy are hooking up. Its high time we start respecting the privacy of an individual. (especially women)

    Reply
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    Chetan 26th November 2012 at 2:58 am

    I agree completely with you opinions about the society forcing people to live in double standards. However, coming back to the question of having her as a model for The Indian woman, I think not. She was coward, fearful of society. She shouldn’t have told about being married just to rent a flat. Do you want such liars to represent women? Do you want the Indian women to live in the same hypocrisy that she did? I believe if she had stood up for her rights and firmly supported her beliefs, she’d have been more respectable and more beautiful. She succumbed to the pressure. The jury had accepted her marital status as unmarried. But she herself did not. She should have kept the crown.

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      Awanthi @ Sybaritic Pleasures 26th November 2012 at 8:55 am

      I completely agree with you, Chetan. But I did think long and hard about the place she must have felt herself in and I suspect that a lot of pressure must have been placed on her, and possibly a threat of legal charges. Perhaps she just felt that she didn’t want to deal with all of that.

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        Abhishek Srivastava 26th November 2012 at 11:40 am

        Another anomaly I find is, that googling “Mr. India” or checking it on wiki, invariably leads to the Anil Kapoor movie about the invisible/unseen fellow.
        There was a Mister India/Mister Universe competition that was held for just a few years(Aryan Vaid and a person I happen to knew, Diwakar were the only Indian entries I can remember from it) and then it just stopped in 2003. Apparently Indian men do not AT ALL have similar competitions to select role models or representatives with “good morals”, “strength of character”. etc.
        Pity 🙂

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      Abhishek Srivastava 26th November 2012 at 10:57 am

      Chetan, the point however was, why was her personal life society’s business in the first place? 🙂

      Why should any landlord care about the tenant’s “morals” etc.? I understand that in reality they would care, because if the neighbors saw a single female, bring in strange guys, they would complain to the landlord… or call up the police to report the “unethical stuff” going on. And police will then pay the lady a visit to have a word with her about the complaints. And then they will drag in the landlord too. Or the neighbours will simply complain to the resident association which too, will take landlord to the task.(Since unless there was something, illegal going on, the only one they can actually harass is the landlord “for being greedy and renting to immoral people”). So the poor fellow simply decides that it is not worth the hassle, even if he personally didn’t give a two hoot about what you did in the privacy of four walls, as long as the rent was paid on time.

      What is interesting is that same neighbors will usually turn a deaf ear to the cries of help from the woman next door, who was being beaten brutally by the husband, on the pretext that it was their personal matter. Practically speaking, there was a recent breakin case in Bandra where not only the neighbors but even the security guard ignored screams for help from a spanish female, and chose to believe it was from next building. “The watchman of the building told the police that he heard the screaming, but assuming that it was coming from some other building, did not follow up on it. She screamed for over an hour before a maid, who was passing by, informed the police.”…. an hour!!! If it is a man bringing in females, the neighbours will quite likely just chalk him a “bad guy” and ignore him since there was a chance he would beat the crap out of them. We are bullies with soft targets only. And I have seen this stuff personally. Heck, half the time the guy will say “office friend” or “cousin” and neighbors will choose to accept the obvious lie. And the girl, would be doubted even if it was her REAL brother(“How do we know?”).

      Question is, not why Lakshmi chose to lie to get a house. Or why the landlords would want to avoid hassles from others residents. Why do the “other residents” who are not really directly affected in the least, are bothered about the morals of the girl next door?

      Why are we such busybodies in the first place?

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        Chetan 26th November 2012 at 1:07 pm

        So we want these neighbours to stop doubting morals and start respecting personal lives. But how? They have been taught for ages about morals and ethics in a perverted, hypocritical manner. They will doubt. To change this mentality, steps must be taken. This post by Awanthi is one such wonderful step. Another step could have been that the girl stood up for herself and was open about her relationship.

        By the by, I want to add two facts that I learned.
        1. In an interview to Indian Express, Lakshmi said that the male friend of hers was just a friend and not live-in boyfriend. She just wanted a roof over her head and so got him as a fake husband. Remember the movie “Hungama”? Kind of like that.

        2. The male friend of hers was also a model who was banned from contesting in a pageant after this incident. So there you go, the answer to the question posed by the author if a man would have this kind of pressure.

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    Abhishek Srivastava 26th November 2012 at 1:50 pm

    But Chetan, while you say she should have been open about her relationship(or lack thereof as you point out in #1), problem is the again the reaction of people. My new neighbors are have come over to welcome, and I introduce them to the lady in my house “meet my wife” and they are all smiles. If I introduced to same lady, even as a prank as “meet my gf”, and by evening I will have a visit from the president of the association.

    For a single woman, it is 10 times worse.

    Believe me, I have done this abroad as a prank/social experiment. We had met this single young lady, and I fabricated a tale of how I and “my gf” were living together here in Japan. It was said in the most casual manner, and my wife just smiled and nodded, to play along. The lady, who had been exposed to the culture abroad, nevertheless stood there with mouth a big “O, eyes wide in shock, and she kept lecturing us about how we should get married, and what we were doing was wrong. We had met her for the first time. Along with us were other actual foreigner couples who were really NOT married and living together at times, and yet she had expectations from another couple, who she had met for first time, based on just being from her country. The way she went about it “You guys should REALLY get married soon. This is WRONG!”, it seemed like she had a personal stake in the marital status or lack thereof, of strangers she had met 5 minutes back.

    Is it any wonder, many of us want to take the easy way out by just saying what the other person wants to hear?

    The way society changes is by people questioning the status quo and the “rationale” being forwarded for it. And then by people defying the status quo, and others supporting them.

    The interesting thing about tradition and culture is that there is no real right or wrong. They were things that made sense once upon a time. Like the caste system. And then later they stopped making sense. And thus the culture evolved and changed.

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    vignesh90 2nd December 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Reblogged this on vignesh90 and commented:
    Bitter truth !

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    avyuktaa 18th January 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Reblogged this on avyuktaa and commented:
    An awesome blog so apt for mst of the cities in india 🙂

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    Natasha Kini 21st January 2013 at 10:37 am

    As an Indian girl who recently got married through the ‘Arranged Marriage’ route and having a few close friends that have done the same – I believe things are changing for the better. We have more options and opportunities to say NO if we wish to. Also, in my opinion this change is coming through because of the mindset of the parents. A girl’s parents are always worried and desperate to make sure that their daughter is happy, safe and secure. They have now become aware that it is important to not ‘force’ your child into matrimony and ‘force’ her to fall in love with a man that they deem perfect…
    On the other hand, I know of people who co-habitat and I agree that it is very very very difficult to get away from the scrutiny of your neighbors/relatives, etc. But again, the Indian society is changing and moving along towards being more accepting. Let’s all just hope for a brighter future 🙂

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    Sunil 22nd January 2013 at 1:47 am

    Very engaging and well written blog. Nice to see reasoning on a topic usually laced with raves and rants…

    Reply
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    Sherry 22nd January 2013 at 9:21 am

    I think everyone should be given the freedom of choice! Because we live in a culture where single women want to get in the sack with someone but tradition makes it difficult. But will that stop any determined person to get what they want? There should be standards defined where every lady gets honor, respect and love. Men have to rise up to become true men and not wait for an opportune moment to get in bed. Although many metro-males deny such thoughts but society / media / culture make it seem cool to have an intimate time with the next available girl. Why is it cool to get in the sack before marriage and why is it associated freedom? There is a reason why especially women should be careful – there are women who have oborted children of 1 night stands – live the rest of their life regretting that decision. Some others like my friend decided to raise her son alone. She paid a heavy price for her decision not to abort. But she says her sons smile makes all the pain go away.
    Women hold out till the shine wears off (like atleast 1 year)! Men wait till you get married to really know what an intimate relationship is like because you a lifetime to go thru!

    Reply
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      Awanthi @ I Speak Awanthi 22nd January 2013 at 10:11 am

      Of course. Freedom is very important. That’s what my whole post is about. Live and let live. 🙂 What’s good for the gander is also good for the goose. 😉

      Just because _you_ do something doesn’t mean that everyone should, and vice versa. It goes both ways.

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    http://yahoo.com 10th February 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Exactly what seriously inspired u to post “Sex and the Indian Woman | I Speak Awanthi”?
    I reallydefinitely adored the blog post! Thanks for your effort -Chelsey

    Reply
  • Why I’m Thinking of Deleting My Post That Went Viral | I Speak Awanthi 20th March 2013 at 2:36 pm

    […] at my blog. I feel brief excitement for a moment thinking that perhaps today _someone_ will see the post where I advocate sexual freedom for Indian women and speak about the importance of progress and the consequences of misogynistic double standards […]

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    Aditya 26th December 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I hope the author and women read this. I agree that women have been treated in such an unfair manner by these hypocrites, and quite a lot if indian men are assholes by asking for a virgin when they themselves have sex but i also want to say, why are women so worried about what will other people say? I mean there are still so many people who believe that women should not have careers, just get a degree, and get married, and those people include their own relatives, but of course many women study further and make a good career for themselves. So why is it that when it comes to having sex, something comeplety normal, that women get so anxious about what will others say, why not accept and fulfill your desire for sex? Stop treating sex like it’s a big deal, instead of waiting for the “deserving guy” ( god knows what the hell that means). It’s just a vagina ladies, just another organ with it’s own desires, not a national treasure that only a deserving guy can get. Lot of good men out there.

    Reply
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      Awanthi @ I Speak Awanthi 24th January 2016 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks, Aditya. That’s heartening. I completely agree with you; I wish more women would just follow their own desires and walk their own paths. Men, too. Everyone needs to stop living for ‘society’, and living for themselves.

      Reply

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