Friday, January 05, 2007

Car ride with a sexologist - 1

After being down in overtly analytical ideas for quite some time I finally hit a fresh way of looking at some things. This is courtesy an intense discussion with a sexologist on course a car trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I can see enough fodder for two-three posts on the discussion but first, an innocent question.

"Mommy, I love you."

In the 4-6 Indian langauges that I am aware of I couldnt find the equivalent of the above sentence. A literal translation was possible but not a culturally suitable one, if u know what I mean.

Do all the major Indian languages lack an ability to express that feeling without sounding literal?

I will be darned if it is so.

This reminds me of an interesting behavioral observation by a US colleague of mine.

We went to a big shot IAS guy's home in Varanasi. A pleasant couple and definitely elite. Their son is about my age (late-twenties). He walks into the drawing room where I was speaking with their parents, sits near his mother and puts his arm around her and converses with us. It didnt strike me as anything un-natural. Later the US colleague observed that he found that kind of action (where the son sits like that with his mother) to be rare in India. And it is true. I dont recall seeing anything like it.

It is not as if some cultural expressions of love are better than others. But it definitely points out that the mother-son tactile expressions of love are more expressive and comfortable in some cultures than others.

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