[For Jean-Luc Godard, of First Name: Carmen]
When Ma was alive, till about a year after my marriage, whenever it rained she would phone me in my office to ask: tell me, which daal would you like me to make you khichidi with? Nowadays, if it ever rains and I mention that I’d like to eat khichidi – she get’s irritated. Although we’ve not even been married for 5 years. Neither of us expects anything from the other now.
Hold the PC muscle in a tightened condition for two seconds, hold it there, after two seconds let go, and then relax. Hold it tight again, keep it that way for 2 seconds, let go. Do this again and again. Hold it, let it go, hold it, let it go. You’ll find that your capacity, what’s called retention capacity, has increased greatly.
I hate my mother – the girl said exasperatedly, shaking her bobbed hair, responding to the remote assault. I don’t call her Ma, I say, Mrs Sanyal. Mrs Aparna Sanyal. I find it disgusting to call her Ma. She returns drunk every night – she flirts with each and every one of Dad’s friends. I smoke, I drink, I push drugs, heroine, smack – everything. Who cares about that? Why does Mrs Sanyal poke her nose into my private life? A woman like that has no right whatsoever to admonish or order me. I’ll do whatever I want, I can share my bed with whoever I wish. I am seventeen years old. I’m old enough to know what’s good for me and what’s not. I will do whatever I feel like.
There are women who are unwilling to wait. Even while the party’s on, she takes her companion to where no one can see and pulls at his shirt buttons, kisses his neck, rubs her head on his chest, and when she’s at the peak of excitement, begins to open his zipper with trembling hands. Tchaikovsky then begins to play behind the scenes, and sometimes Rachmaninoff. Twenty minutes are spent in this manner.
The girl began lying for no particular reason. She spends most of her time at home standing at the verandah. She speaks rudely, whether there’s any justification or not. From all her accumulated grievances I understood that the girl was simply suffering from coming-of-age. She had a kind of complex in her mind about me. She used to get very happy when she saw me ill at ease. As if my discredit was to her credit. And she became annoyed whenever she discerned the slightest intimacy between her father and me.
One afternoon, her father and I were both lying on the same bed. My daughter was in the adjacent room. Thinking she was asleep, my husband became very intimate with me. But my daughter had witnessed the whole thing. What rage thereafter! She wouldn’t speak with me or her father. When I found out about the incident, I called her and explained to her that this was the way of the animal world. If she wished, she too could do all this with whosoever she liked. With her father too. From that day, if my daughter ever had any questions regarding sex, she would ask me straightaway.
The face should not be too dry or too moist. Many believe that for such things nymphomaniac women are more suitable. Open your lips a little bit, but not too much. When a man and a woman are standing together, their heights should be about the same. If you have to do it bending or craning your neck, often the neck, back and spine ache. To find out if your height is alright, measure yours and try to see if you have to strain your neck too much.
When I look back to about ten years ago, to the time when I reached adolescence, I realise I felt a kind of jealousy within me regarding Ma. I felt Ma was my competitor. If someone called Ma beautiful – if they said, Aparna, you’re looking great today – I would feel this was a slight on my own appearance. I would get angry when I heard praise about Ma, but again, I couldn’t tolerate any denigration either. I suffered from a narcissus complex. I would stand for hours on end in front of the mirror, I used to think I looked much more beautiful than Mother. But why did Uncle Robi praise mother and not me? Finding a pretext, I would pick up a quarrel and create an uproar.
It is girls who must accord chastity the greatest value. Whereas when it comes to boys, no one opens their mouth. On behalf of those of us who work outside home, I speak openly – chastity and such like are a joke. Nowadays good contraceptives are available even in paan shops, they are sold openly. By giving men company for an hour or an hour and a half, we can get lots of opportunities and benefits, which we use in building our own careers. Is it wrong to build one’s career?
For any girl, her mother is her ideal. She intuits what her role in life would be in future, as a woman, by looking at her mother. Consequently, there is always an intensity here. Either a tendency to oppose, or a desire to imitate. Whatever it may be, the mother’s influence will always be there on the daughter. He had lost his virginity in a bizarre way. And that happened in Bombay, with an elderly woman. The woman had a 24-25 year old daughter too, who studied at university. He was only 15 then, and inexperienced. Hence it was the woman who had to be active. She had asked him to open the hook of her blouse, and it took him a really while to be able to do it. He just wasn’t being able to do it. He didn’t know anything at all then. You are an idiot – the woman had said, laughingly. While removing her clothes in this way, he had felt that he was removing the skin of an onion. As he removed her clothes, one by one, he was startled, and at the same time despondent. He could still remember, quite clearly, how awkwardly and erroneously he had lost his virginity.
Exactly opposite the writing, an exhibition of
Porn films ran all night long.
Long queues of people. Of the third world.
Hungry and angry. And parallel to this,
The writer wanted to test the patience of the readers,
To read something perverted … I
Love him with my heart and soul and
He wants my body. What shall I do – what shall I do, Aparna –
Tell me, what shall I do?
The female character in this story thinks that her daughter should not have any inhibitions regarding sex. And translating this thinking into practice was the most important thing for her. In the Victorian era, men used to get terribly excited if they saw a woman’s ankles or a bit of lace on her tummy. Whether there’s blazing heat, or freezing cold, or a night of pouring rain, entertain your loved one wearing a silky nightie – and if there’s some artistic naughtiness in it, a little bit – then there’s nothing more to add. Yes, plainclothesmen keep watch everywhere. There are people from the security forces every few yards. And in the middle of this, two heroines, mother and daughter, naked, bathing next to each other, oh, what splashing and frolicking around with water. For most of the time, the camera gazes at the splashing water. Exactly behind the camera, at first a hard-core film was played, and thereafter two soft ones, one after another, and finally another hard-core one. Sex-starved masses. Of the third world. They were head over heels. The camera catches them too. Does the camera alter even the reality of realism? At first some kind of lubricant has to be applied inside yourself, and the rubber applicator attached to the vibrator too needs to be lubricated. The pain is reduced thereby, and the intensity of feeling is enhanced. But the whole thing is made of transparent plastic. Its length and thickness can be increased or decreased according to your preference. It is fitted with an electric motor. At the peak moment, or for that matter even midway, the velocity of the thrust can be increased. It is reported that the speedy rotation of the vibrator brings supreme ecstasy in a minute or even less, it can definitely do so. A local daily’s photographer went to take a picture. His camera was snatched away.
Shirley Tomcuse, of the women’s liberation movement
Men want us to wear lace and silk, because apparently these arouse them tremendously.
Ms Gloria Steinem, editor of New York’s Ms magazine
We don’t want to show our breasts to men. That’s why we don’t wear brassieres, because it flagrantly increases the sex appeal. But in the next century, boys and girls will first establish sound physical relations, and there’ll be marriage according to their individual needs. What’s actually needed in marriage is physical compatibility. All talk of meeting of minds and so on is rubbish, a sham. And remember, it’s because of sexuality that human progress won’t cease.
Subhas Roy, age thirty two, married, college teacher
Only married men and women have a right to sex. Men and women are biologically very different. Because the male’s desire for sex is much greater than the female’s. That’s why men can enjoy unhindered sex before marriage. But women should not do that. Because if a woman has sexual experience before marriage, then, for her, the experience after marriage might seem terribly monotonous. The man himself wants unrestrained sexual intercourse, but from the woman he demands virginity, because our social heritage has taught us to think in this way, and it is absolutely correct.
Shailendra Goyal, age twenty six, film director
Most men love to boast about their sexual experience before marriage. And women boast about their virginity. If that’s so, then where did all these men get their sexual experience? Either most of what men say is false, or else most of the girls are actually not virgins, however much they may boast about it.
Tripurari Ghosh, age thirty, married, stage artist
I wholeheartedly support the notion and existence of chastity. Because this strengthens the basis of mutual trust and understanding between husband and wife. Besides, if this remains intact, a woman would never get the opportunity to compare her husband with other men. And that’s what’s best for all. Women agree to pre-marital sex only to blackmail men.
Ambika Patel, age twenty five, unmarried, reporter
The notion of chastity has not become as extinct as we think. The women who decry this loudly, especially unmarried women, actually accord this a lot of significance inwardly. Sometimes for fear that this might come in the way of a good marriage, and sometimes for fear of dishonour. After all, everyone wishes for marriage into a respectable, aristocratic family. The more aristocratic they are, whatever they may profess outwardly, inwardly they are just as conservative.
I value trustworthiness much more than chastity.
You’re a writer aren’t you? No, just like that … that’s what I thought as well. If that were not the case, no one would waste their time like this. The way she sat with one leg lifted high, even the lace on her panties was visible. However much of a writer he may be, after all he belonged to the male species. He did not want to poke his nose into other people’s affairs. He was gazing in that direction every once in a while, as he breathed in the fragrance of the French perfume. Even though she knew I was looking at her, she didn’t lower her leg. In the end she stated her view about chastity. I think the girl was Goanese, it happened on a train from Bombay to Goa, at night.
A slender, doe-like body which should emit fire like Vesuvius during love-making. She had to be extremely artful in bed – otherwise men, the male species, could not be held on to. There is a class of women who, whether they are beautiful or not, are very self-assured. Without the slightest hesitation, they quickly take off their clothes and get into bed, and call you.
Measure the depth of your love
(1) Tell me, do your husbands’ fondles and caresses still give you the tingling sensation, or is it just the opposite? (2) Do you think the sexual act is an expression of deep love or is it a duty of marital life? (3) When any other man lavishes praise on you, do you try to draw your husband’s attention to the man’s plus points? (4) When your husband jokes about you with his friends, or relates some intimate story about you, do you enjoy that or do you actually turn grave? (5) Did a situation ever arise when some matter or subject was disclosed to your husband, that you didn’t want him to know, and you became terribly angry?
She wants to establish a sexual relation with the masses
The massacre has to take place as the night comes to a close, when dawn’s breaking. All night long, the youth dithered. The character emerges from a closely-guarded train. Actually it’s a story about the physical relationship between man and woman. He wants to make myth and modern militarism stand face-to-face. He selects a woman from among the masses, one who wishes to establish a sexual relation with the masses … If you don’t obey your Dad, he’ll give you such a bleeding fuck that … Mother says to her daughter, giggling and frolicking as they play with water.
Slip in the two blades together, and spread the handles on the two sides. The two blades find place at the sides of the walls. And with practice, you’ll get a clear view – right to the mouth of the distant womb. With a speculum – which looks a lot like kitchen tongs – one can see oneself well, by oneself. You can and should try it out. At the time of insertion, the body should be as still as possible. It would be good to keep a mirror opposite, direct the light from a table-lamp at the mirror – you can then see your insides in the mirror. Insert it slowly, gently, keep inserting it, like how a tampon is inserted, keeping the two blades of the speculum pressed together, very slowly. Never be in a hurry with excitement. If you like, you can also apply a bit of jelly. After insertion, if you move the two handles apart, and lock it in that position, the two blades move to the two sides, giving a good view of the inside. Look now, right at the end of the passage, the neck of the uterus – clearly visible. Dome-like, smooth – a brownish colour, engorged, you’ll be thrilled to see it, astounded. And it’s so near, that merely by stretching your hand, you can see the mouth of the uterus – the womb-hole.
I really liked his mouth-work on me. We split up in Delhi. Earlier, he had enticed me with the bait of a good job and called me to Delhi. He arrived, staggering, one dawn. His daughter was with him. He smelt of whiskey. After a bitter quarrel, I returned to Calcutta. Perhaps women want to enjoy their sexuality, while males only want to brag about it.
Want a gigolo? If a woman wants a gigolo, in today’s marketplace they can get one for as little as a bottle of booze, a bit to eat and just a few rupees. The women who set out to hunt prey can easily spot the gigolos. In a secret survey, it was found that, in Bombay, at present, married women engaged in extra-marital relations more than their spouses did. The woman he was with told him that some of the gigolos may be quite ugly-looking – but once you’ve downed two pegs of whiskey, all men are the same – life becomes colourful.
At first I caress her back, I press her earlobes gently, and sometimes I kiss her straightaway. In this way, through hints and signs, I convey my feelings, purely through the language of body, through looks, but not a word even by mistake, no talk at all. Later, if I get the chance, I say: it would be nice to go somewhere and have a cup of coffee. Or: I feel like going back home, I don’t like it here. Eight out of ten times, I don’t have to make the effort to say these things, the women themselves come up with the proposal. To the extent that even if the woman’s come to the party with her husband or male friend, she then evades them most artfully. Initially there’s some shyness and hesitation, and then they suddenly get excited and readily agree to novel means, and what’s more, generously offer up their bodies for enjoyment. Most of the women like my first performance, and I push their face to my groin, some love to use their tongue or lips. Some turn into artists then, and become unceasing inventors in bed. However, if the girl is in a bad mood, she has to be handled very carefully. Most importantly, one must always remain alert regarding the minutiae of the girl’s preferences. And of course, one ought to help her to remove or put on her clothes, take her to the bathroom and bathe her, rubbing soap all over her body, wake up early and bring a cup of coffee to her face. Women are charmed by such small things. One needs to know well what they want, and when they want it – for instance, suppose you sense that the woman wants you to use force over her, then do exactly that. You must always say – don’t call me, I’ll call you, I’ll phone you. At your place or somewhere else, it’ll be difficult at my place. But never in your own house, for you could get into trouble at any time if you did that. For the rendezvous, it’s best to make an arrangement in a known hotel or restaurant.
A handkerchief wound up lengthwise is held in the hand, with 2-3 knots coming down from the top. It looks a lot like that. It indicates the size to the woman. Rich, lonely women love such gigolos.
If you want a gigolo, then come down to the coffee shop of a fancy hotel – between 12 and 3 at night. Alone. After ordering a coffee, look carefully for whether any man is sitting alone. One or two of them are bound to be gigolos. After a while, the man himself will come up to you. If nobody comes, you will have to advance on your own. If even this doesn’t work, be aware that in every elite hotel there’s a list of gigolos, just as there’s one for call girls. But in such matters, bear in mind all the time that nothing happens overtly. There’s code language in all trades. You need to learn that, or at least a few terms. And learning these things is not at all difficult. Someone taught me – it was under him that I was an apprentice – that the first thing to know is how to get out of any situation one might get caught in, especially at the very moment when you feel that you ought to get out. Godard? Of course it’s Godard. The one who imposes Van Gogh’s yellow on hard-core.
His protest is against sex & violence and he wants to protest through sex & violence
Perhaps in this story, Stefania Sandrelli could have acted in an important role, in the role of the mother, the one who openly offers her daughter to her own husband. Amanda Sandrelli would have played the role of the daughter. Amanda is Stefania’s daughter in real life. Mario Soldati’s Lie would have begun in this way. But Aparna, our Aparna, snatches away everything of the character. Whether chastity ought to be preserved or not – that becomes the issue. Through quarrels, fights and all kinds of action sequences, the rich man’s daughter falls in love with the tonga-wallah hero. Mard enters Lie, wholly. While being screened, the film’s reels somehow got mixed up, kept getting mixed up, on and on. Such incidents occur in a few more spheres. The sex symbols emerge. But rather than sexual intercourse with the one who ought to be slept with, it is sexual intercourse with the one who ought not to be slept with that becomes more manifest. The camera keeps altering the reality. After a reel and a quarter, love blossoms, and as soon as the second reel begins, their song-and-dance routine starts. Aparna keeps saying in an endearing tone: please put the hook on the blouse. The one she says it to is her son’s friend. The hero and heroine are standing in front of each other, he would sit down and shake his knees, and she, who’s now sitting, would stand up. Then the two of them hug each other, a real life kiss is a thousand times better than the kissing pose they adopt. Instead of that, as Subimal says, why doesn’t he shove it in? Love, love and love – have a baby.
In the middle of all this, in the midst of so much trouble, it is difficult to identify the PC muscle accurately, because it is often confused with the sphincter muscle. But of course, there is a way of telling whether you are correct or not. Sit on a stool and spread your legs apart as wide as you can. Now don’t be reluctant at all, start urinating. As soon as you start urinating, you have to hold back the flow of piss. The muscle that you used to stop the flow is the PC muscle. Start pissing again, and then stop pissing the very next moment. In this way, for a few days in succession, if you hold your piss every time you urinate, you’ll figure out how to tighten the PC muscle. In the first week, you should do this at least seven times, and then do it ten times before you go to bed, having removed all your clothes. Do it about fifty times whenever you want, at any time of the day. In the following week, increase the duration of the exercise, until you are able to loosen and tighten it a few hundred times. Each time, you must hold tight for at least two seconds.
Parallel to this, as an epilogue to all the physical techniques and exercises, there’s the film Sacrifice. At the height of the threat of nuclear war, a perturbed Alexander makes a sacrifice by destroying his own beautiful house. On the other hand, his own infant son, Little Man, protects the environment by watering the plant that father and son had nurtured. They had watered it at the time of planting. Sacrifice was Tarkovski’s final film, he dedicated it to his son. Sex for the sake of the son, or son for the sake of sex? Yes, so it was that till the end not an extra kiss was planted on his cheek. After a point the camera, which deceives the writer on and on, begins to deceive reality too. Word gets around that there’s a strong dose of sex in Love Me Physically. What a boy actually does with a girl is shown openly. The tickets were to be sold from nine in the morning, but there was a queue from noon of the previous day. Fuck, what hot stuff … must see it! Great turmoil on the day of the show. Stones rained down on the hall. The police were unable to control the situation. Para-military forces were called in. The assembled masses kept declaring their demand: We must be permitted to see this film. Such a hot film had never before come to this city. A cigar in his mouth, Godard of First Name: Carmen smiles wryly, with lips askew. He wants to protest against sex & violence and he wants to do that with sex & violence itself. Unseen, unsaid. The real becomes unreal, reality embraces the unreal. Someone secretly smears butter-acid on the screen. When the projection began, the screen would erupt in flames. The screen keeps burning, Godard lets it burn. What sex would the masses like to see – they sit agape as the naked niece swaggers, spanning the entire screen. The sex-starved masses of the third world are left astounded by such a presentation of the naked female body – in such Van Gogh-ian yellow. The screen keeps burning, not because of butter-acid, but with Godard’s sex. He flings sex at our faces – at all the agape faces of eunuchs. Sex comes down like a whip – sex, whoosh, whoosh. It fiercely scorches the skin of those of us who secretly, furtively, watch hard-core. And then, together with the camera’s realism, you keep testing and observing whether or not you have been able to correctly learn how to tighten the PC muscle, by yourself. Unknown to you, the hand goes – yes, it goes there, in the most suspicious way. If there’s any doubt, shove it in, inside your … thing, insert a finger and then tighten your PC muscle and see, whether you can feel the force of the contraction. Everyday, before going to bed, each time, do this for a few minutes. The biggest benefit of doing this is that, once you are used to it, you can do it whenever and wherever you want. Even if you initially feel somewhat ashamed, eventually there won’t be any reservation. Father and son will gleefully go hand-in-hand to watch hard-core, and that will be called progress. A cigar in his mouth, Godard keeps smiling wryly, his lips askew. He’s the one who wants to question the very notion of progress in today’s civilization, the biggest lie of all. If only you can slip your finger in there, it’s done. Whether you’re lying in bed, or reading the Anandabazar Patrika, or watching television, or for that matter even while sitting on the pot, you can shove your finger into that part of progress, at your ease.
Lots of cuts have been taken from popular women’s magazines. I acknowledge my debt for informational assistance from the two books, My Secret Garden: Women’s Sexual Fantasies by Nancy Friday, and Human Sexual Response by Dr William H. Masters & Virginia Johnson.
This is a translation of the original Bengali story, ‘Sotityo Ki Rakhbe, Aparna?, by Subimal Misra. Translated by V. Ramaswamy. The translator gratefully acknowledges the Ledig House writers’ residency for enabling the translation.