The neighbour’s little kid was shown the door because it was late and he refused to heed his mom’s repeated call, to call it a day. The mention of going to his playschool next morning brought out a fierce negation. He is all of two and a half years, barely.
The women conspired to rope me in because he values my stand on any matter, for or against. But I refused to play the women’s game. At the same time, I said, “But you, young man, has to leave now. Come again tomorrow.”
The boy retorted, “I will not.” His voice was heavy even as he looked me in the eye, face contorting, eyes moistened.
“What, not go now or not come the next day ?”
He paused reflecting, and replied, still looking at me in the eye, “No. I will come.”
He felt relieved, let out his breath with a smile, collected the little plastic toy chair, his shoes and wollen cap, and walked out proudly without looking back. His mother reminded him, “Say goodnight.” He did, adding “sweet dreams”. Still without a turn to face me.
I was dazed at his courage, intelligence to reflect and choose the right things to say, and his love. He was a man at his small size and age. One of the finest I have met in my 60 years.
* * *
There are English equivalents to tastes expressed in Hindi language : meetha (sweet), teeta (chilly), khatta (sour), etc. But what is the equivalent for “kasaav” ?
Kasaav is a common taste we find in ayurvedic herbs harad and baheda. It is felt in raw eggplant, shimla or degi mirch, even fish. It is what we feel grinding on small, unripe, shelf old guavas. In food preparations, this taste is frequently covered by khatta additives like aamchoor or tomatoes, by adding a sweet agent or pungent mustard.
Kasaav is somewhat bitter and has a harsh feel to the pallette. Now then, what equivalent do we have in English language ?
What do you say ?
* * *
Sex or, more exactly, hunger for sex is an universal emotion humans share with the animal world. Sure it is more complex than the felt organic heat of hunger in the loins, since it metamorphoses from very affectionate feelings kids have for their parents at young age. Yet, among late teen and older adults, it is the overpowering emotion associated with body hunger when we utter the phrase.
The hunger is triggered by the gender form, physically before us or shaped in the mind from memory, and primes up of its own to an intensity that demands behavioural release or diversion in order to cope with it. Which needs capacity to control on our part, to moderate or choose an appropriate action acceptable to us and to our environment. And, if we indulge, to draw and ensure the partner’s consent.
Trigger and control. The first is mostly beyond us and the latter requires training, mostly informal and personal. For all-season animal that man is, the capacity for control is necessary and exclusive to mankind. Empirical facts render the simply described phenomena more complext : for instance, men dress up to appeal and women to provoke attention. That skews the environment in favour of sexual encounter. Indded, the first impressions of each other people have, when they meet and interact, is sensually felt. Regardless of what they’ve sorted and believe, their healthy vitality is always open to trigger.
Normally, the control too is never far, unless we are in a private space where control becomes exponentially challenging, and risk of failure increasingly heightens. Groping and inappropriate touch is commonly heard of but rape and molestation, mostly by a mob, is not unknown in public places. The situation spells a breakdown of moral and ethical facade of man, overcome by loin wrenching hunger.
Modernity has increasingly spiked the triggers. Feminists demand rights to their freedom to do so. That is counterweighed by pragmatic conservatives who not only call for more muted sartorial covers but also for stiffer kangaroo court punishments on those who fail at controls over their hunger. Both the extreme stance need a moderated, more understanding of the real ground, on which men want women but without committments and women want men but without a baby.
Society itself is more accepting overall of these attitudes but real psychological and material consequences to unconsenting or unprepared adults, men and women, even minors, must still forbid failures to fight off seduction, honey trapping, outright forced or baited intercourse. Whilst we all might be happy if there was nothing in the environment to fight against, I am not sure if everyone would agree nor that it would be possible anytime soon. As it is, with few having an unbreakable moral fiber in their loinous mesh, everyman is a lone wolf in this context whose behavioural failures can neither be predicted nor prevented, nor deterred by police or punishments by law.
I wish our public places would become more safe and secure, and accepting of adult volition. That is, to start with. I wish more strength to all of us, to remain greater than our moral conflicts, to be as respecting of others, adults and minors, in our private spaces too. There will never be an era in which none of us would ever fail but let not us be the ones to do so.
There are proven ways to succeed at building our capacity against such failures. I know of many who have walked the path and have experienced evidence of the fruit at end of it.