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Our old hang-ups

Forty-five years from now, if everything goes as planned, I will be as old as Narayan Dutt Tiwari. With my mid-life crisis fast approaching, at last there’s something I can look forward to in the decades to come, writes Indrajit Hazra.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2010 23:35 IST
Indrajit Hazra

Forty-five years from now, if everything goes as planned, I will be as old as Narayan Dutt Tiwari. With my mid-life crisis fast approaching, at last there’s something I can look forward to in the decades to come.

Since December 26, when Tiwari resigned, citing “health reasons”, he has become everybody’s favourite Dirty Old Man. Which I think is a bit unfair, considering I would have thought that what happens in the confines of a Raj Bhavan stays in the confines of a Raj Bhavan as long as the happenings are not criminal in nature. As far as I could make out, the three-minute grainy video aired by the Telugu news channel ABN Andhra Jyothi showed the former governor in a position that most consenting adults would be envious of.

Going by what I’ve read in the papers, three women were brought into the sanctum sanctorum of the Hyderabad Raj Bhavan by another woman who had been allegedly promised by Tiwari a mining lease in return for ‘sexual favours’. Once again going by media reports, it seems that the woman had sprung this honey trap in league with the Telugu news channel after Tiwari had not broken the law by keeping his promise of giving her the mining lease. So, as far as I can see, it’s a case of entrapment that didn’t work. No rules were broken, and the bribe-giver went home fuming with the knowledge that Tiwari remained incorruptible — at least as far as a mining lease-for-sex transaction is concerned — and planned to bring the governor down by invoking the unwritten rules of morality.

Which brings me to the crux of the matter. What makes all of us squeal with titillated joy isn’t the fact that yet another person in public office has been caught with his hand in the jar, but that an 84-year-old man has been caught in a romp-fest. The surge of disapproval that comes tied to the wave of sniggers tells us how we expect — even insist — our elders to behave. A rather priggish insistence, I would think, considering that questions about whether Tiwari was a Viagra-popper or not, and how at his age he could keep his hardware up and running have overwhelmed any query about whether any shady mining lease deal was cut or not.

Descriptions of Tiwari having a “voracious sexual appetite” and “having girls for breakfast, lunch and dinner” make him sound more like Jack the Ripper than a Silvio Berlusconi in a Gandhi topi. My theory is that we just can’t bear the thought of knowing that our old people can also have a libidinous life. Grandads don’t play nooky. So suddenly, we have his extra-gubernatorial practices unleashing a sidestory about the horrors of ‘sex with minors’ and ‘sexual predators’.

A little medical research shows that men, even when they are officially ‘old’, continue to produce testosterone, the male hormone responsible for keeping the male sex drive on the road. (Women with their diminishing hormones, alas, are less lucky.) It’s the wear and tear that comes with age that may slow things down in senior male citizens. In other words, our grandfathers’ spirit remains willing even if their flesh may have turned weak. (Which should also explain to those who’ve seen the brief show on YouTube why Tiwari stuck to a rather passive position.)

So, boys and girls who expect India’s old men to go into vanaprastha, sanyasa and beyond, eat your hearts out. Or as you seem to prefer doing — eat the hearts of healthy, sexually active old people. We want our old people to mass-read the Gita, bounce their grandchildren on their knees, accept pranams and offer ashirvaads. We just can’t handle the fact that they might have their desire bulbs still glowing.