My son was in 4th standard. Once me, my husband and our son were going out in an auto. Suddenly my son asked me, “Mamma what do you mean by sex??” This was a bouncer for me though I knew what had prompted this question.
This was his daily route to school. There was a clinic on this road with big board “SEX PROBLEMS सभी लैंगिक समस्याओ का समाधान” Considering the fact that he is so inquisitive and he is using the same road since last 7 years I will say that he took a long time to ask this question. May be whenever he had this question his Mamma and Daddy were not around. Today there was a board and there were his parents. Ideal situation to ask question. And yes, he fired the question at us, “Mamma, what do you mean by sex?” What a question to discuss in an auto riksha! I am sure though the auto driver’s eyes were on the road his ears were turned to us.
I was thinking and thinking. I was trying to find the words. How can one discuss such topic in auto? Suddenly it was my husband who took charge of the situation. He said, “Oh! It’s quite simple” I was impressed by my husband’s quick wit. Normally it was my department to dwelve into such awkward questions. He continued, “It simply means male or female. Means you are a boy. I am boy. So we are male. Mamma is a girl or a woman. So she is a female”
I thought it was brilliant. My husband had not told anything wrong. He had told one of the meanings. My son thought for a moment and said, “But Daddy, is gender not more appropriate word for it??” My husband’s face was worth seeing. Now it was his turn to become speechless. But I had picked up the thread. I said, “You are quite right dear. The word sex is used synonymously for word gender. In few of the registration forms people write sex instead of gender” Thankfully my son was satisfied and he turned attention elsewhere. Me and my husband looked at each other and heaved a sign of relief.
This satisfaction remained only for some time. After couple of months again we happened to take the same route. Again my son asked the same question. This time I was prepared. I immediately started giving the same explanation which his Daddy had given last time. My son said, “I know all this Mamma. But what’s the problem about it? On the board it is written ‘sex problems’. If I am a boy and Mamma is a girl what’s the problem about it?” I could clearly see that the auto driver was trying to listen our explanation. I was feeling very awkward. I finally told my son that we cannot have this kind of discussion in auto riksha or in public place and he would have to wait till we reach home. He seemed ok with that. He had not remembered the question after reaching home.
I am still keeping my fingers crossed when my son would ask me the other meanings of the word!