All the Flashers in My Life

Social Commentary

All the Flashers in My Life

Illustration: Akshita Monga

Iconsider myself something of an expert on Indian penises. I have seen too many in my life, and not always of my own volition. I am talking about men who have taken the time and trouble to flash their penises at me.

I have asked around about this, discussed the subject with friends: While they’ve had their own weird experiences, they haven’t had quite as many dicks presented to them for inspection. I wonder if it takes a special kind of person to make it big among exhibitionists. I wonder if it came pre-ordained by the universe; maybe a line in my kundali said that I’d see too many dicks and I should wear pearl to avoid.

My tryst with penises (penii?) began early. I saw my first at age 10, while walking home. I saw a man on the other side of the road who was smiling so pointedly at me, that I had no choice but to beam back. As a reward, he signalled me toward something in his hand, and said, “Jab aati hai toh nikalna padta hai (when you have to pee, you have to whip it out)”. My kid brain processed that information slowly and paused for a moment to consider that practical thing Captain Obvious was saying. Then the flight response kicked in and made me run all the way back home. I didn’t bother checking if he was waving it at me.

But still, that was only a glimpse. The close up came two years later, at age 12. My friend and I were ambling around the colony as girls at 12 are wont to, chattering about this, that, and boys. A man came along and mumbled something incoherent at us. I looked from the man’s face to his hands, and there it was, throbbing between his palms, the male organ in all its glory, pubes and all. I screamed “Run!” as if a grenade was about to explode and we made a dash for it. This time I looked back and the man was walking away calmly, no doubt searching for a more appreciative audience for this priceless gift.

My roommate, who was in the drama society of her college, told me of a man who would watch them rehearse from a distance, stand behind trees and jerk off.

By age 14, I knew I was going to form a vigilante group, that went around the city and castrated all deviant men. Whether they flashed, heckled, or did anything else. The source of their disease was the phallus and so off with their heads. And shafts, of course.

During graduation, aged 18 or so, it became so commonplace to see a car parked outside our hostel with someone or the other jerking off, that when they were not there, we wondered idly what emergency had called them away.

My roommate, who was in the drama society of her college, told me of a man who would watch them rehearse from a distance, stand behind trees and jerk off. When they would throw stones at him, he would dodge the stone missiles and take shelter behind another tree and continue with his job. The enactment of this shagging man running behind trees and determinedly sticking to his job, gets me great laughs to this day.

When men walking around and jerking off became too everyday for me, life decided to spice things up and present me with a man biking around and jerking off. The city was Mumbai and I was in a taxi full of girls which attracted the attention of a man on a bike who promptly took his hand right off the handle and began unzipping his jeans. The sight of this curiosity had the girls tumbling over each other to get a proper glance. But the pressure of having a gawking audience, got to our performer and he was confused between gripping the accelerator or gripping his hard-on through the busy city traffic. He began to lose speed and kept having to interrupt his act to accelerate. I felt for the man. Death while riding was easier than this.

I’ve spent a considerable part of my adulthood trying to understand this desire to display the prowess of this appendage. As if we won’t understand its power until we see it work – a demo if you will. A manager for a rock band in Delhi and the owner of one of the city’s best south Indian restaurants did his demos with a twist. A friend once woke up after a party to find him rubbing his dick over her back. The next time he met her, he asked her why she was acting weird and not talking to him.

In all of this, the one thing I can never get over is the fact that there was once a mental illness attributed to the uterus. Hysteria was a female “disease”. But even now, there seems to be nothing linked to this crazy urge to display the male appendage, when it is clearly a widespread malady.

It’s now been 20 years of dick displays, so I must be something of a veteran. At the end of it what I have to show for it is a deep knowledge of the average Indian dick. What is it, you ask? To paraphrase Thomas Hobbes on the life of man: nasty, uncircumcised, and short.