Stone Hymens

We're in Khajuraho, the capital of ancient perverts. Some firangs actually think that. And they are not alone. A lot of miseducated Indians do too.

The stone here dances. The temples sing. And the tourist guides speak French. Mr Someshwar Sharma, our ASI-fied guide, speaks English as spoken in textbooks, which is a bit like Hindi, meaning words are what their letters say they are. Meaning there are no silences, no syncopations, no phonetic surprises.

Mr Sharma is sweating like a rasgulla but his knowledge of temple history is amazing if somewhat yawn-inducing. But Mr Sharma has these occasional bursts of unintended humour. Mr Sharma is taking us through the temple courtyards, regaling us in his textbook English. "This is Miss Khajuraho," he says pointing to a pair of stone breasts, "don't be surprised. Yes, yes, those days were very advanced indeed. Beauty queens they had also. But she was the most beautiful, no?" Laughter in different languages floats admiringly around Miss Khajuraho. Miss Khajuraho also smiles an ancient smile that refuses to die. "Is she not beautiful? Just look at her bosom. And her hips. And her smiling face. Wah, kya baat hai!"

"These beauty queens used to dance like fairies." Ears are like radars, waiting for some more revelations from a jolly good time of very long ago. "Yes ladies and gentlemen, dance to the tune of the pujaris, who wrote hymens to the gods."

"Hymens, Sharmaji?" asks someone, "you mean hymns?"

"Yes, hymens," says Sharmaji as he moves on to some other perversity from a time long, long ago.


  1. Reminds me of the time I went to Konark, and a little boy tried to sell me a postcard-book with pictures of some of the more erotic carvings.

    My cousin and I were not interested, and the boy burst out: "You're not ashamed to look at the statues, only embarassed to buy"! It was so amusing that all of us burst out laughing, the boy included.

  2. Hey KD that's a cool way of looking at things... but where do u go from here!

    Hmmm Mikra, whatcanisay.... cept, we are an amazing people.

    Athena, u shud've tried Nagamese and am sure they wud've said 'Whazzat?'.

  3. Maharaj I go back to God's own country .Down south to a small city enveloped on both sides by the Arabian sea and a lake.

    But that is home, but I might land up a job somewhere else of course.. but anyway I am shifting south. :) No
    Delhi for me.


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