After two surgeries and nearly one and a half months of being bed-bound, I was anxious to get back to normal life. So when I found myself at the gynaecologist’s office for a routine post-operative check-up, the first question I asked was whether I could resume my domestic duties. In other words, make myself a cup of tea.
Getting up at the crack of dawn and brewing myself a pot of Darjeeling tea is the single most important thing in my life. That half hour of solitude before the household wakes and all hell breaks loose. Not being able to do that in the recent past has made my life quite miserable. Tea made by others is never the same. The colour, the flavour – sadly lacking.
“So doctor,” I asked cheerfully. “If everything is okay, can I head into the kitchen and make myself a cup of tea?”
She looked at me over the top of her glasses. “Yes, yes,” she said. “You can have sex!”
I was puzzled. Had the woman not heard right? I was talking about tea.
“No no,” I said, my ears growing warm. “I wanted to know whether I can do kitchen stuff. Make tea?”
“Yes,” she said blandly. “You can have coitus.”
Now the last time I checked, tea was not a code word for sex in any lingo. Which brings me to the burning question.
Is it my imagination or is the northern part of India obsessed with tea? Erm. Sorry, I meant SEX.
Yes, I know I come from a city where lovers (or lubhaars if you will) canoodle in every nook and cranny of a historical monument called the Victoria Memorial (doing stuff under umbrellas and blankets that would put Queen Victoria to shame had she been alive). But in Kolkata, there’s a time and a place. You either get a cabin in a sleazy restaurant with grimy green curtains or go to Victoria Memorial if you are so inclined.
Didi doesn’t bat an eyelid.
But here, it’s out in the open. In broad daylight. All people ever think about. Or talk about.
When I moved to Gurgaon, nearly twenty years ago, colleagues at my workplace would discuss contraception methods over bhindi and roti at lunch. From copper T’s to what nots, stuff that was enough to make one want to go off food for days. Made me forget my alphabets, it did. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
That should have given me a hint of things to come.
Sadly, it only got worse.
Colleagues, neighbours and random people I met would tell me that I needed to reproduce and fast. Time was running out. My biological clock was ticking and everyone and his Aunt was keeping time. Best days, methods. I didn’t need a book. I didn’t even need to ask. It was the favourite conversation-starter. Everywhere I looked, people were making babies faster than rabbits.
Twenty years later, I must say things haven’t improved one bit.
Oh well, at least I can drown my sorrows in a cup of tea! The beverage, what did you think I was talking about?