When my 5-yr-old picked up paperback Kamasutra
What do you do when your under-10 kids get hold of a book on sex education? Find out how this petrified father wriggled his way out of one messy conversation...
There is a time and place for children to be exposed to everything. While most things can be taken up when the child begins asking questions, one thing that cannot be taken up before its time is the talk about the birds and the bees.
One must wait for the child to turn a suitable age, ideally 15, before one can actually sit down and reveal what goes on when it comes to sex. And then too it has to be done delicately.
A shop at the airport with the younger child bouncing off the walls is not the best time to hold this talk. But life, as you know it, is a practical joker. It will land you in just such a situation and when you least expected it. And that is what happened with me.
We were heading to Singapore with our two children a few weeks ago. While we waited for our flight, I decided to go pick up a book from the bookstore inside the airport.
While my wife waited, the two imps followed me. I thought I’d let them run around and expend some energy so that they will sleep on the flight. Inside the store, I told them to not touch or break anything. But do children listen? No!
As I browsed through the books, I realized that there had been peace and quiet for an inordinately long time, considering that my kids can’t stay without raising hell for more than 5 minutes. Were they alright? Where were they?
My heart sank deeper as I wandered around the store looking for them. I spotted them sitting in front of a rack marked ‘Health and Lifestyle’ giggling away to glory. As I drew closer, I could see that the elder one had a book in his hands and the two of them were peering into it very diligently.
Me: What are you two doing?
Son: Oh, nothing. (Trying to hide the book)
Me: What book are you reading?
Before he could reply, the younger one piped in: It’s a funny book. It’s got all nudey photos.
Me: Really? Let me see.
The book’s cover and its contents left me shocked. The book was titled ‘Sensational Sex’ and had explicit photograph of men and women’s body parts. Near full-frontal nudity (yessir, the book displayed a woman’s breasts and a man’s penis being manhandled) was the order of most of the photographs.
As I put it back, the little one, being the more curious, piped up.
“Daddy, why is that nangu (naked) girl holding the boy’s pee-pee?”
I would have preferred to have had this conversation with the two brats in a quiet environment. But we were at the airport, and the little one’s voice carries a fair distance away.
There I was holding the book and two kids looking up at me waiting for the answer while the rest of the people in the store were looking at me suspiciously.
“I’ll tell you later,” I tell her.
“But, papa, why aren’t they wearing clothes? And why are they hugging each other nangu-pangu? Couldn’t they hug while wearing clothes? Do clothes get dirty if you hug while wearing them?”
What was I supposed to tell her? That they were in the middle of foreplay? And that the woman was handling the man’s penis because she was putting a condom on it? That they were kissing in the throes of passion? What would a five-year-old understand of these things anyway? After all those are big words and she has a limited vocabulary considering her age.
“Hush. Let’s go from here. I’ll answer all your questions later,” I tell her trying to put the topic off for later and hoping that she’ll forget about it even as I kept the book back.
Unfortunately, a gentleman from the shop arrived on the scene and asked me if everything was alright.
“Sure, everything is fine,” I tell him, feeling uncomfortable.
As the man turned to go away, I told him that maybe they shouldn’t keep such books on shelves which children can reach. Also, why would anyone, who is flying out, want a book like that to read on the plane?
Sheepishly, the man tells me, “Sir, books on sex are the most sold ones in the entire store. ”
Shaking my head, as I was about to step away from the man, I spotted my little one trying to pick up another book from the same section. And guess what the book was? A paperback Kamasutra!
I quickly took it from her and keeping it back, almost ran out of the store dragging both the brats with me.
But the fact that this particular store had kept sex education books in such a place where they could be easily accessed by children isn’t a one-off. Every store in the NCR, for lack of understanding of how to sell books, ends up displaying sex-ed books in a similar fashion. And sometimes, the book covers are such that they leave you red-faced or at worst, aroused.
Book stores all over India would do the parents a service by keeping such books related to sex at a height where only the adults can reach and not where children can have easy access which would lead to them asking embarrassing questions from the parents in public.
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