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Saving private parts

Two HT reporters masquerade as sex patients and discover a world of muck.

india Updated: Jun 04, 2006 03:24 IST

Two of us left office and headed for Daryaganj where we visited two sexologists. posing as a couple married for little over a year but already plagued with “sexual problems.” The hakim rebuked us for calling them weaknesses.

We walked into Sablok Clinic. Not half as shady as preconceived. We gave fictitious names to the dark, cross-eyed, obese receptionist in a pink shirt, coughed up a hundred bucks and waited for all of five minutes. There were three men in the waiting room besides us. When our turn came, we were ushered into a regular ‘doctor-ish’ looking room, but for the lack of medical journals. The man behind the desk seemed to be the receptionist's twin except that he wore a safari suit. We gave him a quick fake introduction. How we met in college, where we worked–in a call centre, and what our problems were– premature ejaculation and an inability to conceive.

The man asked my ‘husband’ whether he was a drinker. I played the intrusive wife: yes,twice a week. “In fact, just last night he downed five large pegs of whiskey.” Reprovingly, our doctor advised against it and patted his stainless steel stool and beckoned hubby dearest (who he constantly referred to as "brother") to take a seat and unzip.

I, the ‘mrs’, was choking with attempts at poorly concealed laughter while the thought of dropping his pants in front of the doctor and a colleague left ‘hubby’ stuttering. He somehow averted the situation.

But chapter closed? Not quite. After confessing to the fact that his foreskin had not been disposed with, the doc vehemently prescribed circumcision (“even 40-year-old men could get circumcised!”)  and blamed the mother-in-law for not giving her son enough penile training. A drug was prescribed to cure his ejaculatory handicap while I was told there was no medicine for the lack of desire. As for the ‘troubles’ in conceiving, “keep having sex” was the prescription. We are to go back in a month.

But it was actually our outing with the second sexologist that took the cake.

Here too the place seemed far from shady– faux wooden, airconditioned interiors, every semblance of a regular clinic. This trip, however, proved to be a little more expensive—we paid Rs. 100 each–for wise counsel.

After a few minutes of waiting, we were face to face with a bald and ageing man. A descendant of Hakim Hari Kishan Lal (much photographed with many Indian Presidents), he started off by grilling my apparent husband, who was again getting slightly embarrassed. Oddly enough, one of the first questions was– Do you believe in God? After having clarified his fictional religious preferences, the questions got more explicit. Were you satisfied with your honeymoon? When did you start masturbating? How many times have you experienced “nightly emissions”? The doc did not like being interrupted. One either had to agree or disagree with him. The doctor also gave him multiple-choice questions like “Is your penis small, thin, bent and can you see blue veins”?

Forty minutes into the rather lengthy interview, Dr. Sex informed us that we would now be charged an extra Rs. 500 because my hubby seemed to have lots of problems; 6 to 8 at least and also a possibility of Gonorrhea in the future. Moreover, if we did want to go ahead with the treatment, there were five packages that we could choose from (from Rs. 3,500 to Rs. 21,000). And the price paid would only buy us the herbal medicines, we would have to dish out an extra Rs. 1,100 for each consultation session in the future. We remarked that the treatment was tantamount to fleecing and bargained, got the doc to ask me a few more questions, got to know that I was ridden with at least 3-4 sexual weaknesses, and left. Though we cannot testify whether or not the medicines actually help, it is clear that sexual health might come with an overtly sexy price tag.