Dear School Teachers
You deserve more credit than you get for the kind of work you do, the energy and emotions you invest to positively impact the minds that have an incredible potential to change the future of our nation, but you let your reluctance make you miss some VERY important topics, the topics that need to be discussed in a scientific yet understandable way. I still remember that the first battle of Panipat was fought in the year 1526 but it’s crazy that I cannot recollect when and how you talked in detail about consensual sex, marital rapes, virginity, orgasms, methods of contraception and unfortunately, the list goes on. It is a distressing realization that in the classrooms that have projects made on how a larva becomes an adult, full grown butterfly and what happened in Europe 200 years ago, we are embarrassed to talk about what happens within a human body right before, during and after a sexual intercourse. I know some students and their incomplete knowledge, the lessons they learnt through the content in the pen drives slid into their pockets, their irrelevant and imprudent way of trying to come across as these witty, cool teenagers, make it challenging for you to talk about menstrual health, sex, assault and pregnancy. But only if you try to look beyond the awkwardness these discussions lead to, you will realize that the significance of the topics you don’t talk about, is more than the collective impact of a hundred chapters which would never, never have a practical application, that you need to tell your students that it is silly to let ‘shame’ have an existence in a conversation revolving around sex, considering how we all are the products of sex (and considering how populated our country is; in fact, let’s talk about it before we win the race we are not supposed to), that periods or sex shouldn’t be referred to as ‘gandi baat’, hurling abuses that literally ask you to engage in a sexual intercourse with your sister is actually gandi baat, that it is not gandi baat if your bride doesn’t bleed after your ‘first time’ because her hymen broke before she met you, it is gandi baat if you say ‘Teri maa di’ every time a car overtakes yours (in the country where mothers are considered the closest thing to God, where people would not mind getting a sore throat while chanting- Jai ‘MATA’ di!). It should bother you that the boys of your class think it is okay to say distasteful things if one of their classmates’ skirt has a stain, that even in 2020, there are so many girls who ask their cousins and bhabhis what they should expect when their body is being explored, that there are so many ‘educated’ people in our country who know nothing about ovulation, that almost every girl of your class will think a million times before sharing a gynecological problem with her brother or father(and will end up not saying anything about it), that your students know about the diseased conditions that have been successfully eradicated and know nothing about the commonest sexually transmitted diseases.
So the next time you ask the boys of your class to leave for another room while you talk about menstrual health, please remind yourself that those boys won’t remain boys all their lives, they will grow up to become men, husbands and fathers. The next time you avoid talking about some diagrams and topics in the chapter-Human Reproduction, please remind yourself that more than half of your class will think of vagina, penis and sex as ‘gandi baat’ for God knows how long and we know there is nothing ‘ganda’ about human body, it is gandi baat when they reduce some important chapters to a bunch of vulgar jokes that are not even funny.
Please educate your students so they don’t put sanitary napkins in a black polybag, come up with weird names/actions to ask for condoms, say obnoxious things when you tell them about mammary glands, let their hormones confuse them so much that they have to make WhatsApp groups to talk about sex, objectify their own classmates and let you down, because if you won’t, who will?