April 04, 2020
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The Giraffe Sucks

The Giraffe Sucks
The guide at Konark started off blandly, speaking of the Sun temple’s various geometric features, its idol that used to be magnetically suspended, the young boy who installed it and then committed suicide, that sort of thing. But there’s more to this splendid structure than that sort of thing. Specifically, it’s plastered with erotic sculpture. Every conceivable sexual variation, every not-so-conceivable one too, is on display. Such a lot, such a celebration of sex, love and life—that you wonder. How did we turn from this exuberance to the nudge-nudge wink-wink bad-bad attitude we now have towards sex? Why did we evolve culturally from passionately entwined figures on a temple pillar to the police arresting smooch-happy young couples on the rocks at Bandra’s Bandstand?

But to hell with philosophical questions. Not halfway around the temple, our government-approved guide was doing the nudge-nudge wink-wink. I don’t know if it was because he thought we had begun to drool, or if it was just the way he usually operated. But he was steering us—though I recall that wife and son went off by themselves—only to the erotica, explaining in a steadily hoarser whisper what he was about to show me, breaking into English for the most titillating parts. "Here lesbian", and "there two men, one woman", and "that is dog, heh heh"—these phrases, I remember hearing.

He also made frequent, sibilant use of the word "sucking". After a point, everything he showed me needed to be described using "sucking". Is my memory playing tricks or was that also true of the panel with a giraffe in it?

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