Suparna Sharma

Jan 20, 2013

I have a teenage son. He is 14 and in the throes of puberty. So for the greater good of mankind, and my own mental balance, I devote three hours every day to spy on his conversations. The pattern on most days is the same.

There are simultaneous conversations on Facebook chat, frantic texting with at least two friends who have been, shockingly, missing from Facebook for an entire evening, and Gmail chat.

Boys’ conversation with girls is mostly about the girls telling the boys which girl likes them, followed by detailed instructions on when and how they must ask her out. The boys in turn tell the girls how they don’t like that girl that much, but are really interested in that other babe who is going steady with their best friend. And while they could never, ever do anything to jeopardise their friendship, could she, please, please, please, find out what that babe thinks of them. But no one in the whole universe must ever know that he likes that babe.

Of course, the girl promises, while, simultaneously, relaying the entire conversation to all her BFFs, who in turn are passing it on, with Smilies and pithy comments — “LOL, ROTFL” — to their BFFs, including that babe who must never, ever know.

Boys chatting with boys is simpler. Each one opens the conversation with a string of abuses and insults. There’s no malice; it’s just their style.

After they exhaust every four-five-six letter word (all of them misspelt) and are done threatening every body part and function of the other, they ask when the maths homework is due and try to sign off:
“See you tomorrow, moron.”
“K, see you tomorrow duffer.”
And so this goes one till one screaming mommy tries to do them part.
“Gotta go”
“K, moron”

The world underestimates the stress that obsessive mothers of sons go through. Teenage boys are, 24×7, worrying about how they will ask a girl out. And since most other boys are equally clueless and the girls are just, well, too serious and earnest, they turn to 51 Pick-up Lines You Must Never Use.

I have, during my investigations, come across lines that have kept me awake for nights in the fear that if they ever get used, the girl may just die laughing. Here are some less idiotic samples which boys consider using in all seriousness: “Somebody better call God, cuz he’s missing an angel!”, “Was that an earthquake or did u just rock my world?” and this one that left me winded: “Baby did you fart, ’cause you blow me away!”

That’s why I am really glad that this very caring and decent man, Ashmit Patel, has taken it upon himself to train our boys and turn them into superdudes (Superdude, Bindass). And in this selfless seva he is helped by one Sofia Hayat who is a true samaj sevika and spends her birthdays in the most egalitarian, considerate fashion.

She doesn’t invite friends and family, but sends out invitations to all media persons. Then, to entertain them, and through them the entire Internet world, gets into a Playboy bunny bikini and poses. Ms Hayat has mastered three poses — Pose 1: she thrusts her bosom into the cameras; Pose 2: she thrusts her behind into the cameras; Pose 3: (a sideways shot) she thrusts her bosom one way, her behind the other and pouts. And it’s Happy Birthday Sofia.

Together, Mr Patel and Ms Hayat arrive every week to teach a bunch of boys the art of flirting. They help them acquire real life skills so that these boys can pick up girls anywhere, anytime.

The boys are made to pose as taxi drivers and must try to take female passengers home; they are told to loiter on the sets of photo shoots and hit on models; they are sent to dark cinema halls to pester single girls trying to watch a movie for their phone numbers; and, as a group exercise, all are sent to a yoga class where they must compete with each other and get a private lesson with the yoga instructor.

You may think all this is easy; it’s not. I have seen boys grovelling, even crying and begging girls for their phone numbers while the girls are either slipping into a deep coma or screaming for help.

Also, there are competitions among the boys, to see who is a greater dude than the other. Now you may think that Ms Hayat and Mr Patel quiz them about the capital of India and Pakistan, or ask them to write an essay on cow mata. No, that’s not how superdudes are made. These battles are decided by tug-of-war and other such manly pursuits that make men out of our boys.