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Wayside Story

The News

Men have always been the ones who are supposedly genetically and psychologically geared for a no-strings-attached sex life. And there’s a reason why ‘getting lucky’ is usually something a guy boasts about in the locker room. But things are changing and today’s Indian woman is slowly moving away from the ‘touch me not’ syndrome, where even if she did indulge in a physical relationship, she had to assuage the ‘guilt’ by assuring herself that the man in her life was there for keeps. “Now, sex is not taboo anymore. Everyone’s indulging in it. In this scenario, young girls, too, are talking about sex and initiating casual encounters quite unabashedly,” notes Mumbai social psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty.

Twenty-nine-year-old Mumbai-based investment analyst, Girish Bairagi (name changed), although single and happy to mingle with this new breed of bold and beddable women, admits that he is a little bewildered. “I’m not complaining, but yes, it was a little difficult for me to accept at first. There’s just no emotion involved! These 23- and 24-year-olds are very cool about going away with someone for the weekend without any fears. And suppose I tell them I’m busy, they don’t sit at home and feel upset about it. They just go with someone else or wait till I am free. It’s become as casual as having a cup of coffee together!” Delhi psychiatrist Dr Avdesh Sharma explains why this attitude prevails, “There was a time when boys in their 20s witnessed a sexual revolution. Now, it’s the turn of the girls, who are willing to experiment with their sexuality. There’s no emotional bond between partners. In fact, girls don’t want to get emotional about the boys. Here’s a new generation that just wants to satisfy its desires. We’re living in a world where popular culture is dictating our relationships and sex life. Sex is seen as fun without responsibility. There’s a lack of emotions when we have casual sex. Young girls are enjoying this emotionless hook-up.”

According to analysts, this attitudinal shift stems from increasing levels of self-confidence that could be a direct result of financial independence. “BPOs, marketing and PR companies hire young employees and pay them a packet. These youngsters are then tempted to lead a lifestyle that’s far beyond their years. Influenced by books and programmes like Sex & The City and Coupling, they believe that appearing sexy raises their ‘cool quotient’. Actually having sex with a significant other or even experimenting with casual affairs is just a progression from there,” says HR consultant Binaifer Adenvala. While not all casual sex can be attributed to the BPO boom, The Times (London) did report in mid-March that one in four Indian call centre workers regularly had casual affairs.

— Inputs from , Delhi) TIMES NEWS NETWORK

The Story

There were four of them: S, P, T and G. All quite well off, middle aged executives, running from the chores of making money and tending families – the perfect ‘bachelor’ party landing in a hill resort with enough booze, cash and devils in hearts. Life handed them boredom and all they were looking for was fun. They were on a holiday that promised Nature, leisure and some romance that they have lost over time.

There she was, sitting on the bench by the side of a foggy and desolate hill road, all by herself. She was young, with a life as obscure as the misty windblown peaks at distance. At 26, she saw the cruel vagaries of a failed relationship, a child she could not dispose of and a job lost just few months ago. She was on a most imperfect tour; all she was looking for was money that might buy her some precious time before her ship sinks.

All of them met, rather awkwardly, at a point of time and place where stories are born. But unlike stories written, you have no control over this story as this was happening with five human beings with different demands and wishes. S and T were looking for promiscuity – for them it was simple enough to start with. She needed money and they needed sex – that was society’s most primitive exploit. For G it was an unpleasant rift between an adventure and a guilt trip – female company was the last thing on his mind. P was suspended between the right and the wrong. As a writer, he was incapable of judging people. Amidst this chaos of sentiments and misgivings, she agreed to hop in on their car for a journey to a remote hamlet. It looked as though she could sleep with all of them.

But you know, this is hardly a thriller. It’s a pretty uninteresting turn of a story because all four men talked too much to this girl, laughed too much and shared too many frustrations of their individual lives. She told them about her lost job, recently deceased father, a struggling downtown home with a baby she decided to grow old with. They told her about their schools, education, jobs and families and joked like silly goofs. They boozed together and slept together too. There were four beds – the men slept on those. There was a big sofa – the girl slept there. Most uninterestingly, there was no sex.

By the next morning she was preparing tea for them and the men were busy figuring out how they could smuggle this brat of a girl out of the hills and return her to her home, particularly knowing she didn’t have much money and a train ticket. T was a shrewd manipulator so it was not really a surprise that he got her parked in a reserved sleeper coach despite a general ticket – and it was not really a feat that she slept peacefully through the journey, courtesy few hundred bucks suitably changing hands. The men took turn sitting the night out and smoke illegally in the lavatory section of the train.

She was required to get down at her station at 4 in the morning. Cold wind rushed through the door as she stood there waiting for her station to come. It was dark and the clamor of the wheels of the train made conversation difficult – so P kept on standing and watched her back. Just before the train started to decelerate, she looked back. You can never be sure as lights were not good, but it looked as though she was crying.

S carried her bags at the station and said goodbye.

As the train picked up speed again P sent an SMS to her saying, ‘Keep in touch. Best Wishes’. After a while, the reply came. It said, ‘Thank you.’

Post Written by
Pabitra is an Honors graduate in Civil Engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. He has specialized in the field of River Hydraulics working for more than two decades training rivers, protecting banks and beaches and fighting erosion of the river banks/beds. He has worked with Bio-Engineering models involving mangroves using them as tools for cost effective and natural means of anti-erosion technology.His work is mostly concerning the extremely morpho-dynamic Hugly estuary with Bay of Bengal In course of his work, he got exposed to indigenous people of the Sunderban wetlands, who are fighting a losing battle against aggressive Industrialization. Pabitra loves to read and write and he is full of crazy ideas. He is a Youth Leader and Adviser to Climate Himalaya. He is also a contributor member of THINK ABOUT IT platform of European Journalism Center and a winner of the recently concluded competitive blogging on Water. Pabitra believes that he has a tryst with the strange river-country south of Bengal.

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