My first reaction when I heard that the Kindle reader is now available in India was that for many women here, the electronic reading device would open up the doors to erotica. For many desi ladies, buying a Nancy Friday or the copy of Hustler letters is too risky an affair.
Some say the Internet provides a window. Really? Most people aren’t tech-savvy enough to figure out their privacy settings. Computers are shared by the entire family and rarely do women of the house opt for separate user IDs on their home computers.
So imagine the poor girl, furtively typing in a few erotica search slugs in Google and wondering whether she should be just happy seeing the search results. And most of the time that she should have spent in furtive enjoyment goes into worrying about whether it’s okay to put the phone on silent, on whether husband (or in-laws and children) will suddenly walk in.
On the rare occasion she actually gets into a pornographic site or an adult chat room, she squints at those tiny photos that are supposed to serve as bait and wonders whether it could be an ISI spybot that will actually download a virus into the system. Imagine having to explain to hubby, friends and relatives that your desperation for porn (horror of horrors!) was what made your computer crash.
The furtive erotic experience ends with a ritual cleansing: cookies cleared, caches cleared, history cleared — ‘Oops! Was that a password I just deleted?’
Since an overwhelmingly large number of Indian men don’t read and probably prefer a PlayStation 3 to a Kindle, women might well find that their erotica is safe in the happy confines of a Kindle. A close friend suggests loading three or four books including, but not restricted to, Hitler’s Mein Kampf just to throw nosey parkers off their trail about my real Kindle reading preferences.
Kindle, I hope, will help women go where no woman has comfortably gone before.