HYDERABAD: The most erogenous zone in a human body is the mind. With that statement opens the hour-long talk by Dr Seema Anand as a part of The Write Circle, hosted by Taj Krishna on Saturday. Dr Seema has an interesting line of study – a London-based mythologist, narrative practitioner and an acknowledged authority on ‘Kamasutra’.
Setting the stage for her book, ‘The Arts of Seduction’, Dr Seema Anand did have a lot of light to shed on the perception of pleasure and sex in our society. Not much after she took stage she dropped a less-known fact about ‘Kamasutra’. “As intriguing as the contents of the book are, it is more like a ledger. Kamasutra is written in a very clerical manner with sections and subsections and elaborate and sometimes erratic details,” she says to danseuse Ananda Shanker Jayanth who was moderating. Just to give the audience a taste of how elaborate it is, she says, “There’s a whole chapter about just kissing! Of course some of them are strangely obvious – if you tilt your head to the right, its a right kiss.”
The reason behind ‘Kamasutra’
Vatsayana who wrote ‘Kamasutra’ as Dr Seema describes has a very simple reason to go forth and write such an elaborate text on pleasure. “The idea is that a couple is happy only when they have sex. And if they have sex they have kids. If the family prospers, the kingdom prospers and if the kingdom prospers, the king prospers. So they reasoned that with the help of this text they were fulfilling a divine purpose,” she explains.
She also adds, “The art of seduction as prescribed by the Kamasutra was meant to bridge the gap between the two sexes. Women and men are different as lovers, their sexual energies are least likely to coincide without some direction. Men’s desire is like fire; it starts from the genitals and ends at the brain. It’s easy to ignite and equally quick to extinguish. A woman’s desire is like water, starts at the head and flows downwards. Like water it takes long to come to a boil and equally longer to cool down.”
The female narrative
“I have reasons to believe Vatsayana is a woman,” quips Dr Seema. She also mentions that Kamasutra was written during the time women were not allowed education and hence the book was addressed directly to the men. But the detail that goes into the text both about the female and the male anatomies is commendable.
“The female narrative or the projection of women in historical and even mythological texts reflects in what women will be in the real society. If a woman who puts up with a husband’s abuse is shown as good, that’s what will be believed as good. If the same woman is shown as someone who retaliates and is glorified for that, it will reflect in society,” she comments.
The visual artistry
Ananda and Seema both were much in awe of the visual artistry of the text. “The book is in no place crass or crude. Even the most erotic scenes are described in beautiful symbolisms and metaphors. For example, when a man says he would place the woman’s feet on his head, it has a sexual connotation to it. The customary position in the Indian texts with the woman’s ankles around the man’s neck. So if one wanted to find out if a couple had gotten naughty in the night, they are to look for altas (red paint women decorate their feet with) on the man’s forehead.”
Similarly the woman’s body too is described in possibly the most credible manner she believes. “The ideal waist for a woman during that era is one with three folds on it, and that is a big no now. Also there are lines that describe the faint hair running down the middle of the chest as beautiful. The text beautifies everything that you would find in a real woman’s body,” says Seema.”
While these were just a few things discussed in the talk, Dr Seema promises a lot more detail about the same in her new book, ‘The Arts of Seduction’ to the women and a handful of gentlemen present in the audience. As she signs the books, she writes a message on each of them that would perfectly sum up the evening - “Let there be pleasure.”