As told to Anney Sam
I was born in the ‘60s – a lot of importance was placed on being a virgin until marriage. It was referred to as ‘the first night’ in hushed tones. I was a curious girl and though I got all my information from my school library, I soon realised that this is a matter of practical experience and I wasn’t waiting for TFN – the first night. In 1975, I got through the tenth standard board exams with flying colours. What else could you be in those days except good at studies or sport? I was also a terrific sprinter and my coach wanted me to train for state-level running.
My school library had also fattened my imagination with all the fairy tales that I could have asked for. Then there were the Mills and Boon romances, Georgette Heyer, and page 98 from The Godfather with Sonny having raucously aggressive sex with the heroine. Every convent schooled girl thought she would find her TDH – Tall, Dark and Handsome – man to sweep her off her feet and they would live happily ever after.
Suppose I never have sex?!
The year was 1976, I was 16 and the bubble burst – my brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and I knew no respectable family among the Syrian Christian community would come forward with a marriage proposal. That I was brilliant and beautiful did not count, and my father did not have the monies to make up for the stigma of mental illness in the family.
My biggest worry was that I would never experience sex, and die a spinster.
I must say I was never indoctrinated enough by the church or society to follow the rules, and smart enough to not let on. Then, I came upon the book Memoirs of a Geisha; the hymen or mizuage gave way to the next stage of training, the senior maiko. Mineko Iwasaki, a geisha who Arthur Golden met while writing Memoirs of a Geisha described mizuage in her autobiography as being an initiation party, symbolised on the geisha-to-be by a change in hairstyle rather than the loss of virginity.
I decided that I was not about to pay a dowry to marry a Malayali Syrian Christian to take away my virginity and continue slaving for him the rest of my life. In Fergusson College I did not find anyone worth my mizuage among the Maharashtrian mama’s boys; fair and cute, but no spark.
Related reading: Sex, then and now
Ripe for the event
So here I was 17 years old, wore saris, and ready-made blouses from Calcutta where my folks were transferred. I lived in the 100-year-old stone hostel building – I was lucky to have a single room. I was studying Chemistry – I was studious, earned good grades, quiet, radically independent – though no one would guess that from the outside…
Then the universe conspired to give me a gift. It came in the form of a selection to the first-ever admission to 5 girls from Poona into the Air Wing NCC. Parades were on Sunday at Wadia College’s immense grounds. On the first day, I took the first bus from Deccan Gymkhana at 6:45 am. Not a soul on the grounds, but a grey overalled man waving at me from the far end of the grounds.
I had on my blue uniform and smart topi-like cap and shoes and stood transfixed on the spot, with my eyes locked on this figure running nimbly down the steps of the C-shaped stadium. By the time he reached me, my heart was galloping, my ears turned red and I stammered a ‘Good Morning, Sir’.
Tall and handsome, oh my!
Out went the D off the TDH, standing in front of me was a God – towering over me at 6 feet 2 inches, blue-green-grey eyes, and a shade better looking than George Clooney. He owed his stunning looks to be a second-generation Jew and his fitness to be an ex-NDA cadet and graduate. An Air Force officer, he trained cadets in flying and was CO of the NCC HQ in Senapati Bapat Road. This place was walking distance from my hostel.
I like to think that he seduced me intellectually – he gave me a book on Gestalt by Fritz Perls, and we discussed matters of psychological interest, and Transactional Analysis. Thirty-seven, married and with an 11-year-old son, he taught me to fly – in the NDA campus. He initiated me to much more – when on one Sunday afternoon he looked me up in the hostel. I failed to show up at parade and he was concerned. I was recovering from a fever. “Hop on,” he said, Come and have lunch with us.”
By then, I had built a trust that you can have only with a good teacher.
“My wife is away…”
From Fergusson to Hadapsar where he lived was about 10 km, and halfway through the ride on his grey Vespa, he said, “My wife and my son have gone to Bombay to her parents.” My heart skipped a beat. I said nothing. He said “Do you realise what that means?” And in my mind I thought, “Yes I shall give this man my mizuage.” A mixture of dread and excitement filled me. Never once did I think I was doing wrong. This was my moment – and I grabbed it – it was not a conscious decision, but in my mind the jackpot was won. He met all the criteria to be the recipient of my virginity. If nothing else, he had 12 years’ experience of making love.
To cut the story short, after a warm shower that we took together, he stood me in front of the full-length mirror at the dressing table and the memory of this gorgeous man holding this superbly ethereal girl in the nude was etched into my mind for eternity.
The deed was done… So what?
We did ‘it’ on his study table, after long foreplay – for me, everything was a ‘so this is it’. I suppose his choice of study table was to eliminate the possibility of red stains on his marital bed. As an aside I may add, his wife was a doctor who taught at AFMC, looked like Venus and held many a medical student in a trance with her serene beauty.
He dropped me back at the hostel after sunset, and I ran up to my room and stared at my reflection in my mirror – searching for some earth-shattering difference in my visage. Nada. Hm, so much for virginity and sex. What a let-down! People kill for this! Don’t get me wrong – I learnt how to enjoy the beauty of sex – but that is again another story. No wonder the geishas changed their hairstyle!