The forbidden fruit supposedly tastes better. Therefore it lures. And all our newspapers and magazines seem to have bitten the bait. Is adultery the flavour of the season? The city supplements, the men’s mags and the ladies periodicals (yes I read them all) are abuzz with this cheating thing. It is not that the libidinous men and women of our nation have started grazing in alien pastures only after the discovery of the tenth planet in the solar system. Then why this sudden deluge? Is it because anything remotely associated with the three-letter word responsible for a billion plus Indians sells and outsells any of those hotselling hotcakes? And since the competition is doing it, why shouldn’t we?

Or is there a more sinister agenda behind all this? No, not the ISI, but our ever so inefficient Department of Family Welfare which in the face of the unplanned beneath the sheets activity of the burgeoning Indian population had to change its name from Department of Family Planning. Using our oh-so-willing media to encourage the uninitiated to the practice of wandering. This will act in two ways. First, research (?) says the practice of protected sex is more prevalent when the partner is not the spouse. Extra protection means less population. Second, extramarital affairs will lead to broken marriages, which will in turn lead to lesser probability of new babies being born. And in the not so distant future, the dream, which even the forced sterilizations of the emergency era couldn’t achieve, will become a reality. India will not overtake China in human numbers. But you can never be sure. The Chinese are pretty good at imitating.

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