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    Rethinking Modern Parenting – Embracing Sex Positivity and Adolescent Guidance

    Challenging Taboos and Fostering Healthy Conversations for a New Generation

    In the intricate, time-worn, and voluminous English lexicon that graces my familial abode, I beseech you to seek out the entry concerning autoeroticism, a subject that might elicit both discomfort and amusement. “Self-pollution,” as the page proclaims in its immaculate typography. This aged tome, a dictionary of yore, ardently adheres to Victorian sensibilities, extolling the purity of both body and mind, as well as the sanctity of pleasure. It unequivocally confines sexual desire within the institution of marriage. One can only imagine the profound consternation that would grip Victorian legislators if they were to bear witness to the present day, wherein the emancipation of sexuality has commandeered entire industries, paving the way for a society more tolerant of open displays of affection. Unconventional expressions of sexuality, even beyond the confines of matrimony, are now accorded increasing respect.

    Yet, in the vast expanse of India, a contrary paradigm persists. It is this antiquated perspective, one that brands thoughts and emotions related to sexuality as immoral, which stubbornly persists in contemporary India and akin South Asian cultures. “OMG 2,” the latest entrant from Bollywood’s production line of socio-dramatic narratives, featuring luminaries Pankaj Tripathi and Akshay Kumar, addresses this profound divergence. Employing humor, didacticism, courtroom theatrics, and the visceral tribulations of youth, the film reclaims sexual desire and its manifold nuances as commonplace and even mundane. It posits that sexuality is not sacrosanct, but rather analogous to any physiological function, necessitating both creativity and earnest engagement.

    While its predecessor, “OMG” (2012), showcased Paresh Rawal in a legal battle against the divine in an insurance claim, its sequel presents Pankaj Tripathi embroiled in a sui generis lawsuit, wherein he sues none other than himself for perceived inadequacy in parenting. His adolescent son, grappling with the burgeoning awareness of his body, finds solace in autoeroticism. The lad’s peers subject him to torment, ensnaring him in a vortex of sexual paranoia. Every aspect of sexual prowess becomes fodder for judgment. Gaze upon the walls of North Indian train journeys, adorned with painted advertisements of a certain doctor peddling sexual elixirs. These youths embody the archetypal jesters, their jests anachronistic, their motives malevolent, circulating within an ambiance redolent of irreverence and debasement. A video surfaces, showcasing the young lad’s self-exploration, prompting public humiliation. Expulsion from school ensues, triggering a perilous descent into suicidal ideation.

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    In the Indian educational milieu, a penchant for risk-averse stances prevails. In my own experience, one either possessed the aptitude for basketball or did not; the prospect of coaching was remote. Beyond basketball, perhaps a handful of hoops or the occasional long-distance shot. Sexual education was anathema; biology classes scarcely grazed the obligatory chapter on reproductive anatomy, which, with each passing year, dwindled in allure, transforming lectures into soporific rituals. In such an environment, as adolescents traverse the labyrinthine terrains of puberty, they remain bereft of guidance. Their equally befuddled peers and the ubiquitous Internet, notorious for diagnosing catastrophic maladies from symptoms indicative of mere nosebleeds, become their lone sources of enlightenment.

    Initially, Tripathi recoils in horror. A prevailing trope suggests that the utmost dread of an Indian parent lies in their progeny’s confrontation with their burgeoning sexuality while ensconced beneath the parental roof. Rooted in the same bedrock of blinding conservatism, Tripathi’s agency remains circumscribed. When his son faces hospitalization due to a Viagra overdose, compassion supersedes consternation. Vengeance blooms. Tripathi resolves to litigate against practitioners peddling sexual desires to adolescents shrouded in disarray and insecurity, their isolation exacerbated by an absence of guidance. Charlatans, apothecaries—the whole gamut is implicated. He extends his legal challenge to the school, which he accuses of neglecting sexual education. His crusade not only validates autoeroticism as a natural endeavor but also endorses sex positivity in the seemingly chaste, decidedly asexual Indian social fabric.

    Not too long ago, cinematic offerings such as “Lipstick Under My Burkha” (2017) and “Veere Di Wedding” (2018), which depicted female protagonists in acts of self-gratification, encountered opprobrium for their perceived endorsement of such conduct. Detractors deemed these films manifestos of female liberation, contending that the inclusion of lascivious scenes compromised the loftier intentions. How regressive it is to debate the significance of sexuality within the context of cinema when empirical evidence attests to our nation’s vibrant sexual activity. A cursory glance validates this assertion.

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    The film resonates profoundly with audiences in its invocation of the moral duty that adults bear in nurturing the sexual well-being of their offspring. Puberty mirrors a rebirth, thrusting youngsters into a brave new world that pulsates to an unfamiliar rhythm. Although this developmental phase coincides with a degree of physical and mental maturity, it in no way diminishes the extent to which they remain ill-prepared for navigating these tumultuous waters. The comedic absurdity arises from the notion of a child abruptly attuning themselves to matters that hitherto aroused scant interest: gait, vocal pitch, the arrangement of wet hair, and an alien warmth emanating from their core.

    An illuminating portrayal of an unshackled world bereft of adult oversight, and equally devoid of societal taboos, is discernible in “The Blue Lagoon” (1980), wherein two shipwrecked adolescents traverse uncharted territories within themselves and their desires. Unfurling with unwavering innocence, they explore their corporeal realms and aspirations, sharing their jubilation. The viewers are acutely aware of the inherent incongruity of such an arrangement: children cannot be entrusted to their own devices within a world that brooks no indulgence, overshadowed by a stifling society. They are condemned to languish in the shadows of drab, conventional lives until they can finally inhale the breath of liberation. These years of self-deception, as “OMG 2” contends, drain life of vitality, awaiting emancipation.

    In consonance with the venerable tradition of Ayushmann Khurrana’s cinematic ventures, characterized by their defiance of sexual and societal taboos in a bid to humanize their protagonists, “OMG 2” strives to conjure a reality wherein vulnerable youths are equipped with knowledge concerning sexual choices and expressions. It envisions a landscape wherein sexuality no longer shrouds itself in secrecy, a clandestine affair, but rather becomes an ordinary occurrence akin to redeeming tickets to a cricket match. A nurturing ambiance enveloping these inevitable truths is poised to cultivate a novel imperative in parenting. One dares to anticipate that Indian families will, in due course, engage in “the talk,” a conversation that may transpire amidst camaraderie, perhaps punctuated by timid laughter.

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