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University Challenge and the Karma Sutra

November 29, 2011

The Complete Kama Sutra

As a teenager I would enjoy ‘University Challenge’ on the TV; I did not take it seriously; it was a snap-shot of life that I had only read about in campus novels such as Lucky Jim by Kinglsey Amis and others like Evelyn Waugh’s  Brideshead Revisited. Seeing these hairy bespectacled geeks and hurray Henrys with their foppish hair styles, I would smile.

Even their names oozed richness and the promise of a privileged future.   There was Barnaby Forthrite-Jones reading philosophy, Rufus Cleverclogs reading law and Benjamin Toffeenose reading medicine,

Did I imagine I would ever go to university? Probably not. However, I did nurse a secret ambition to go to Art College or long before I dreamt of being a librarian. These childish dreams faded, but the deep-down desire remained .

This was the turbulent 1960’s – the decade of flower power, free love and student protest.  I was a country girl watching on the TV from the confines of my front room the actions of rock singers such as Janice Joplin, a ‘gutsy ballsy girl who wanted to do what boys did’ and Joan Baez, a folk and protest singer, quite unlike Joplin but nonetheless meaningful and other favourites like Richie Havers at Woodstock. And yes, I did have a poster of Che Guevara on the back of my bedroom door!

I did venture to Southampton every Saturday morning to attend an art class the technical college. During the week I did a paper round to finance it,  a small step towards fulfilling my secret ambition.  At 15 years old it was to be my first experience of a city. I remember the students talking of the Kama Sutra an ancient sex manual, maybe in a bid to shock the new country girl.

I didn’t lose much time in searching for the Kama Sutra , a Hindu literary work by a philosopher called Vatsyayana   I found a translation and was shocked and delighted by the images.

It was considered the height of erotica so as a teenager hearing of free love and the hippy trail; its reading became the ultimate aim.  Little did I know that all these years later I would be able to read it in its original Sanskrit .

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