Usha
Lekhni
desires that I reveal 10 secrets about myself. I wish I had so many secrets - that would make me so mysterious and intriguing. But given my penchant to talk about everything in the open, I wonder if I can even dig up 2 or 3. But a tag MUST be respected - it is an unwritten code of blogging culture, an integral part of good blogging behaviour so I would rather invent some secrets about me than break the tag.
So some of the following are true and some aren't. Let us see if you figure out the false ones.

With all my bitchy posts about Karan Joker and Shahrukh Khkhkhan, I watch every program hosted by them.(the slime!)

I actually bought a tube of fair and lovely cream once to see if it would help get rid of the black patches on my arms! ( so sue me)

I lick the cake box clean before throwing it in the trashcan and the foil that covers the cornetto? mmm yum... Now of course I give it to Munni. Can't bear to see such good chocolate or cream go waste. (even the birds have a word for me. cheep, cheep!)

I am not comfortable eating with a knife and fork. I usually come back hungry after such parties. (Junglee, country bumpkin -ya,that's me alright. But then why do you think nature gave you fingers? and seriously, have you ever tried licking a finger after curd rice? losers!)

I was offered a role in a film once. ( well, I thought Sridevi needed it more than me. I could always find another career. Poor Shri!)

I never learnt to swim because I could not bear to be seen in a swim suit. (I was ashamed of my 36-24-35 figure. go figure!)

I feel bad to give an honest opinion when people ask for my honest opinion on some personal issue. I would sooner kill myself than say something to hurt them. (but tell me when people want your honest opinion on what I think of their fiance/e, how they look, how good is the glass painting they made etc. do they really want you to be honest?)

I always look at the prices on the menu before ordering in a restaurant. I can never buy something simply because I want it unless I know the price and know it is worth so much for me. Even if someone else who can well afford it is buying it for me.
(I know, totally middle class saar. what to do, we are like this only.)

I can't sleep without a blanket and my ears should be covered.(If I cant hear them monsters they can't hear me also right, that's the idea I suppose!)

I cannot count up to 10. I always say 10 after 8. So that is ten now!

This was tough. So I am not naming anyone to take it up. But if any of you like it, please feel free and do it secretly.
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Usha
There was a time when the word Virgin was only used in the feminine. It referred to ‘a woman who has had no carnal knowledge of a man' as answers.com nicely puts it. But in fact it refers to ‘a person who has never had sexual intercourse’ as Merriam –Webster clearly enunciates. In many cultures especially in Africa, Asia and middle-east, a woman’s virginity is a matter of societal concern whereas it is a matter of individual choice in the case of a man. Most societies do not worry about the virgin status of a man before his marriage whereas for a woman it is a matter of honour – not only hers, but her family’s and the whole community’s; hence the practice of ‘honor killings’ among certain sects even today when a woman has sexual relations before being married.

While virginity has lost most of its sheen in the western world, even today there are communities where they look for blood on the nuptial bedsheet as a proof of the bride’s virginity. Many African communities go one step backward and insist on a certificate of virginity from their family doctor before the wedding. Since the revelation of not being certified a virgin could lead to dishonour, shame and in extreme cases ‘honor killing’ many young muslim women resort to surgical restoration of their hymens to pass the virginity test.
This article in NYtimes quotes a doctor saying that he performs this procedure 2 to 4 times a week. Such is the kind of demand.

‘So is virginity about abstinence or is it about having the hymen intact?” I asked a young man. He was outraged and said that one meant the other in his culture and so this was a silly question. I gently reminded him of the story of Madhavi, daughter of yayati from Hindu mythology.
Munikumar Galav, a student of Rishi Viswamitra was arrogant enough to ask his guru to name the gurudakshina he wanted. So the rishi named the impossible and asked for 800 white aswamedha worthy horses with black ears. There were 600 horses but in the possession of 3 different kings. Galav sought the help of king Yayati who was spending his life in an asram. Yayati’s daughter Madhavi was extremely beautiful and had been blessed with the ability to renew her virginity and youth when she wanted. She had also been blessed that every son she bears would be a powerful one, a Chakravarthy. Yayati gave her to Galav who then sent her in turn to all the 3 kings to get the horses in return for spending a year with each of them and bearing them a son. The last 200 horses were with Viswamitra himself and she had to spend a year with him. After helping him fulfil his promise, Madhavi goes back to Galav who rejects her as she has lived with his guru and hence cannot become his wife. *

I suppose the renewal of virginity referred to in the story is nothing but the restoration of hymen. What else could it mean? (Incidentally Guinea pigs are supposed to have this characteristic too – their hymen dissolves during their mating season and grows back when not in heat). So then virginity was not about abstinence but just about a mucous membrane forming the external lining of the vagina.
The young friend was agitated. “no, this was different. She did it for a noble purpose. She did not do it for her enjoyment.”
Now this was even more confusing. Was he saying that it was ok to have intercourse as long as the woman did not enjoy it? Did that somehow make her a “good” woman as compared to someone who indulged in sex for pleasure? So how were these vestal virgins who abhorred sex become active sexual partners the minute they were married? Would that explain questions in "ask your doc" columns: "dear doc, my wife is not very co-operative in bed. She performs mechanically. She refuses to try new stuff. My sex life is nearly non-existent" etc...

I remember a conversation many years ago with some male classmates on why they would like to marry a virgin. These were some of their reasons::
-I want someone who keeps her virginity intact for me as a special gift.
- A woman who has let her desires get the better of her cannot be a ‘good’ woman, a ‘chaste’ woman who can be depended upon to be a ‘good’ wife and bear ‘good’ children.
- A woman who has sexually experimented may be promiscuous even after marriage which isn’t good for the family.
- I cannot handle an “out of control” woman.

Well, it is a matter of personal preference and I know a lot of women who agree on the virtue of being a virgin (almost 99% of all women I know in fact). Sex is a very personal matter and how and when they want to have it and whether they want to have it at all should be nobody else’s concern. The only thing I find difficult to comprehend in all these arguments is that somehow it is supposed to make a person morally better than a person who is not a virgin. Why is a person’s goodness judged by their sexual life?
In my family, I have heard about some virgin widows spewing venom on the other women of the family. I wrote about one such in this post. Even psychologists agree that repression can be a source of frustration and anger and such people may be expected to be more hurtful towards others.

To me it seems that virginity is just a physical state which has no correlation with the person being good or bad, moral or amoral especially in today’s context where men and women marry late. It is perfectly alright if someone prefers a virgin as a partner but there is absolutely no reason to stigmatise people who are not virgins as bad, immoral, sinful, dishonourable, shameful or out of control. And the converse is true too - being a virgin doesn't automatically qualify one to be classified as a better human. It is just a matter of individual preference and should be their own business and nobody else’s.



* Read a wonderful review of the play "Madhavi " here. Story of every woman indeed!
Usha
A-kay tags me. This is so different from the tags I have done which are usually about me, myself.
So what are the rules of this one?
"Pick up the nearest book." - Yes, ma'm . here, what's this? Being Indian by Pavan Varma. (nice book)
"Open to page 123." - Okiee ( wonder where this is going...)
"Find the fifth sentence." - That's easy, I can count up to 10!
"Post the next three sentences."

In James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a young man, the character Stephen Daedalus expresses the anguish of an Irishman at having to speak English: '
The language in which we`are speaking is his (the Englishman's) before it is mine. How different are the words home, Christ, ale, master on his lips and on mine! I cannot speak or write these words without unrest of spirit. His language, so familiar and so foreign, will always be for me an acquired speech. I have not made or accepted its words. My voice holds them at bay. My soul frets in the shadow of his language.'
Indians have fretted too in trying to learn English, but their souls do not appear to have been in much anguish.

(I know that is more than three. There was a reason: Three sentences would have made no sense. So I posted the whole paragraph. Nice food for thought there, no?)

Now what?
"Tag five people, and acknowledge the person who tagged you."

I know Altoid would like this and Dotthoughts? I know I can always depend on JLT. Two more? Ok, where are you Padma, come to my rescue. I am sure you are reading something interesting. Itchingtowrite, I know you read a lot. Come on, take it up.

And as I was just about to press the publish button, Laksh tagged me for the same. Word has gone out about my expertise in tag posts and I am in great demand for tags as you can see. hm........the price you pay for fame. hehehe

P.s: Noticed that Fluff_n_stuff has tagged me too for this one.
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