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Young Delhiwallas can't find a place for sex.
[Text by Steven Baker; he teaches creative writing in the British Council; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The sad fact is, this is Delhi. Not Manhattan. So just where in the city can you have sex? Well as I found out recently, one place Delhi's young lovers can get intimate is, er, in my house. Being a foreigner with a spacious south Delhi pad can result in some XXX action. It began with a phone call from a friend. Let's just call her Tina - for that is her name.
-Can I come to your place this evening?
-Sure. But I was planning to go to GK1 for drinks with some work colleagues.
-Oh, that's OK. You go. I'll just come over and watch TV when you're out. I'll pick up the key from your landlady.
Strange request I know. But hey, If I lived in a joint family, with an endless stream of chachas, maamis, and ji ja jees; I would probably also relish a night alone with a K serial.
Just as the party was getting started, Delhi's early to bed licensing laws sent us homeward bound. In Goldilocks fashion I arrived to a darkened room, questioning "Who's been sleeping in my bed?" My friend Tina, joined by her current squeeze - a somewhat round, somewhat naked, tyre fitter from Karol Bagh.
Once I got over the initial surprise, it got me thinking. Apart from my apartment, what options are out there for sexually charged Delhiites? A quick promenade around Lodi Gardens? Furtive groping in the darkness of PVR? Moments of sweating palm intimacy on the Delhi Metro? All unsatisfactory I'm sure you'll agree. Besides, Public Displays of Affection can only go so far. For the real deal, where can two go?
One alternative is to do things Brit-style. In the English subcontinent we generally flee the nest in our early twenties or late teens. After discovering love's young dream at the local pub or curry house, kidz there promptly move in together quicker than you can say Salaaaaaaaam Namaste. That unspoken C word, co-habitation, provides us with the space and the place for copious amounts of the love drug.
So perhaps following the western path is the solution?
In a globalised, modern India, we need to change the way we address sex and sexuality. Which includes thinking about places that young lovers can explore (each other that is). Enough 1950's Bollywood bush shaking. Be gone bee pollinating. Farewell shaking flowers. Here's to Sex in the City. Alas, my place is out. Although I'm OK with it, Mrs. Singh, my elderly-Gurdwara-attending-landlady now has her eyes wide open to such GB Roadesque activities on the second floor.