The internet is quite sad by the demise of Dr Mahinder Watsa, a former obstetrician-gynaecologist and the person behind the tongue-in-cheek Ask The Sexpert column at the Mumbai Mirror. But, some of us, who lived under a rock, do not know of this legend. You should be ashamed, but hey, we’re no one to judge. So here’s PinkLungi giving you a brief history of a man who lived quite the life.
We Indians are known to ask questions about sex behind closed doors. And Dr Mahinder understood our qualms. During 1960, Dr Mahinder worked as a columnist, giving medical advice in a woman’s magazine, but as expected, he received backlash for making his sexual health content explicit and not ‘censored enough’ for the Indian public. Soon, he came to realise the shame and stigma associated with sex education, which had negative consequences in the lives of many. A lot of queries he received from the common people stemmed from the fact that they lacked sex education. Thus, he started to work as a consultant for the Family Planning Association of India where he introduced the idea of sexual counselling and education program for people in need.
At the age of 80, he joined as the witty columnist at Mumbai Mirror’s Ask The Sexpert column. He responded to sex queries ranging from ‘I have a crush and want to have sex with my 40-year-old relative’ to ‘my wife is in love with bananas over my penis’. He answered all of them with respect yet kept it humourous enough for readers to enjoy. Ask any person who reads the Mumbai Mirror about page 34, and The Sexpert will be the first name that would pop up. From when he started out in 2005 till the last edition which was released a few days ago, Dr Mahinder Watsa gave it all without a break. In fact, you all should definitely watch Vaishali Sinha’s documentary on him, which goes by the same name as his column, that explores the life of Mahinder and people’s love for him.
With decades of knowledge about sexual health, Dr Watsa had also penned down his thoughts, stories over the years, and of course, sex queries, all in a book called It’s Normal. Yes, he practically introduced the word to ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ out loud among the Indian audience. It’s rib-ticklingly humorous, yet it manages to demystify sex myths that should have been taught to us early on.
The old man became a legend as he was giving out sex advice when our own teachers would skip the Biology chapter on reproduction and our parents would change the channel when a kissing scene appeared.
Here’s what people had to say about the saddening death of Dr. Mahinder Watsa.
Growing up in a house where sex was a taboo, I think I learnt most of what I learnt about sex as an adolescent, from Dr Watsa's columns.— (I'm done)ⁿ (@Shayonnita15) December 28, 2020
I'd sit on the living room sofa, reading the illicit page, ready to turn to the comics section at a moment's notice.
The old man who taught us all about sex through his hilarious and witty column is no more.— Hamza Lakdawala (@hamzamlakdawala) December 28, 2020
My Catholic school didn't impart sex education, and most of us understood the basics by reading Watsa's columns.
Rest in peace Dr Mahinder Watsa. pic.twitter.com/i8x5kVApcm
Dr Mahinder Watsa wasn't just a columnist, he was an institution who helped quell the curiosity of people who came of age in a time when you couldn't turn to internet for answers.— Sandeep (@sastarabbi) December 28, 2020
In a country where sex and anything related still remains a taboo topic of discussion, Dr Mahinder Watsa showed how easy it was to talk about such issues and dispel the myths. May you keep arousing the same mirth and laughter as you dispel more myths up there!— Hackette with a machete (@sidshukla) December 28, 2020
Our guide to puberty Dr. Mahinder Watsa passed away.— Dr. Bhaumik Kamdar (@kamdar_j) December 28, 2020
No kid in Mumbai must've grown up without reading his column.
In middle-class families, both the parents & the child used to read that column without letting each other know about it.
Sincere Condolences 🙏
Tribute to a great human being who secretly educated a lot on teenagers through his articles. Rest in Peace Dr Mahinder Watsa.— Crains ⚡ (@crainspatel) December 28, 2020