By great grandma's four poster bed, I sat down and wept…
Gentleman April 1998

The bed was a four poster; exquisitely crafted from gleaming rosewood. Sturdy teak reapers, chunky wooden nails and thick brass jointings ¾ this was a bed built for lusty matings that would ensure the blossoming and burgeoning of the family tree….

When the family tharavad was sliced and shared among various relatives as if it were a boozey Christmas cake, my mother received as her piece of ancestry a bed. Great grandmother's bed. At least a hundred years old, six foot long and just about three foot wide.

"No wonder, she kept losing them one after the other," my brother exclaimed. "They must have been neurotic sleepless wrecks by the time they left."

['Them' referred to the three men Great Grandma had married blithely and blissfully, one after the other, of course]

He stretched out on the bed, stared at the 'rasakoodika' [a mercury filled glass bauble that she had probably gazed at night after night] that hung from the frame of the four poster and pondered, " Wonder what her sex life must have been like though?"

And then for the first time I spoke, "Wonder what her after-sex life must have been like on a bed this size?"

He narrowed his eyes, crinkled his brow; this fine distinguished worldly wise gent of some thirty-six years and asked, "After-sex life? I have heard of post-prandial chatter, pre-nuptial contracts. But what on earth is this?"

Some time ago every couple I knew were busy delving into the pages of 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' as though in its pages were hidden the panacea to all their problems, carnal or otherwise. I even know of this earnest young chap who presented the book to his fiancée as an engagement gift.

If only they would have instead flipped through the pages of one of the newer Mills & Boons. The ones where the hero and heroine don't wait till Page 121 before they hit the sack.

There, People, lies the essence of romance. The joy of after-sex: Meaningful conversation. Chilled champagne. The works... What every woman craves for secretly and seldom finds.

If art [read cinema] is a reflection of life, you don't need to watch more than three Indian films to understand the singular lack of this post-coital bonding. All the time what we see is the build-up to the Big Bang. The ritual of "I can show you the world" song and dance routine ending in fire crackers lighting up the sky or the bee kissing the flower.

Compare this to the Hollywood version ¾ they at least admit to the existence of this need even if they too don't propagate it widely. In the movie Bull Durham after Crash Davies (Kevin Costener) and Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) have made the earth, the bed springs, the table lamp, the table, the almirah and a whole pile of books move, they settle down to some glorious after-sex life. There he is, painstakingly painting her toe nails while she lies on her back reading aloud poetry. Then they eat some corn flakes and make the table and the earth move some more. Later they dance to some wildly exotic Mexican music.

Every woman, whether she would admit it or not, I am sure would die for a quarter of such togetherness. In fact, a girl about town ( now a born again lesbian) I met at a friend's place said what finally put her off sex with a man was that the sense of belonging ended with the act. Whereas with a woman….

Men go to such desperate lengths to bind a woman to them. In the animal kingdom, the males of many species drive off rival suitors, herd females to keep them under control, insert sperm plugs to block female reproductive tracts, emit foul scents to repel males or build fences around their mates.

And yet, something as simple as sharing a stick of gum could do the trick. That is if your honchoness won't allow you to paint her toenails. A clasp of the hand. A breath of mint. Bind her to you with invisible ropes of caring. Turn her into your slave for life with tenderness.

Make Marlon Brando in Don Juan De Marcos your role model. After some passionate love making, he looks at Faye Dunaway and murmurs in that voice he never got back after The Godfather - We are so caught up in the momentum of mediocrity that we have forgotten how to light celestial fires.

After such poetic profoundity, she would have forgiven him anything. Including that he turned to his side and snored into the night.

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