The Great Indian Sex-Ed Scam

Gender

The Great Indian Sex-Ed Scam

Illustration: Akshita Monga

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hen I was nine years old, my mother decided it was time for me to learn about “girls growing up”. She commandeered the services of my cousin who had hit puberty three years ago to teach me about my “baby bag” and “eggs”. I couldn’t look at an omelette after that and turned vegetarian soon after. My nine-year-old brain couldn’t fathom the idea of eating someone’s baby.

As girls in my class began hitting puberty, I patiently awaited my turn to try out the exciting yet super-secret product endorsed by some highly confusing commercials (those were the wonderful days of “chupchup baithi ho zaroor koi baat hai”). I also never missed an opportunity to unravel the mystery of where babies come from and popped in every time more than three older girls got together and shared wide-eyed whispers about some mysterious knowledge. Neha didi (back then it was mandatory to call them “didi”) told us that after people get married they go to the temple where a “divya jyoti” that is invisible to everyone else comes out of the deity’s hand and touches the belly of the mommy to be. If the divya jyoti is pink, a girl is born, if it is blue, it’s a boy. But only the mommy can see this divine light.

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