My latest book is The One Who Swam With The Fishes.

"A mesmerizing account of the well-known story of Matsyagandha ... and her transformation from fisherman’s daughter to Satyavati, Santanu’s royal consort and the Mother/Progenitor of the Kuru clan." - Hindustan Times

"Themes of fate, morality and power overlay a subtle and essential feminism to make this lyrical book a must-read. If this is Madhavan’s first book in the Girls from the Mahabharata series, there is much to look forward to in the months to come." - Open Magazine

"A gleeful dollop of Blytonian magic ... Reddy Madhavan is also able to tackle some fairly sensitive subjects such as identity, the love of and karmic ties with parents, adoption, the first sexual encounter, loneliness, and my favourite, feminist rage." - Scroll

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29 August 2007

I can now cross my uterus off the list of things I have seen

Yesterday, I became a woman. Well, it depends on your definition of becoming a woman, but yesterday, I took one step further into adult womanhood. I went to the gynecologist for the first time EVER. Well, I was dragged there kicking and screaming and I called friends and my mum going, "Nooooooooooooooooooo. Why do I have to go? I haven't been in 25 years and my uterus hasn't fallen out yet" and more noises of a similar nature. But Diabolique, who is leaving for foreign shores soon (which makes me very sad. I hate foreign shores! Damn you, shores!) has been going through a battery of tests to make sure she's healthy and she was all like, "You MUST see a gynae, eM! What have you been doing the last couple of years? You're 25!"

"I have to clean up the cat litter," I said, sulkily, "And I have some errands to run. But now I know where it is! Yay! I'll totally go on my own."

"Um," she said, "Right. Just get your ass here."

"But she'll look at my hoo ha!" I wailed.

(Minor digression: After the appointment yesterday, as I followed Diabolique around for all the other things she had to do, I kept going "Hoo ha! Va-jay-jay! See, I can say that in public and no one will know what I'm talking about! Hoo ha!" She rolled her eyes at me. "Girlie bits?" I offered, "No? Okay--hoo ha!")

Anyway, so no one has seen the girlie bits except for you know, people I'm intimate with and me. I saw a gynae as a sort of therapist/mother confessor, how I would cross my legs and talk to her about sex and stuff and she'd be all woman of the world-ish and pat me on the arm and we'd be BFF, like, totally MFEO. Although, remember that Sex And The City episode where Miranda has chlamydia, and she has to call up every single person she's had sex with going, "I have chlamydia, have you been tested?" So of course, that flashed through my mind, images of me going, "I have chlamydia" and no one ever sleeping with me EVER again and dooooooooom and so on. Worse, was the stray nagging thought at how long it had been since anyone had been near the va-jay-jay, and what if my body was preconditioned to, you know, be aroused, by anyone fiddling around down there. Oh my god, what if the gynae thought I was the kind of person who went to gynaes to get my rocks off? What if I had to pee?

I get there, and I'm a little earlier than Diabolique, so she makes me trot upstairs and get an appointment, with the doctor on duty. "Um," I said, reading off the board in the front, "It says here she's a child specialist." "Well, maybe she does OB-GYN check ups too," said Diabolique, "My friend went to her. Just go get us both an appointment."

So I walk into the reception area and I mumble, "Check up" to the nurses there and they're all like, SCARLET WOMAN HERE FOR AN ABORTION, but nod and tell me to take a seat. "I do get the woman doctor, right?" I asked hopefully. "Oh no, she's a paediatrician, you get the man," they said. Horror-struck, I called Diabolique. "It's a man! And he's going to look at my hoo ha! Let's leave!" "They say men have gentler touches," she said thoughtfully, "And maybe he won't even go close to your hoo ha. They don't always, you know." She wasn't letting me leave. I sat there, still getting scorches of SCARLET WOMAN, from couples with babies and then Diabolique came, and we chatted about the drama that was my life and hers, and it all became very cosy and two chicks at a beauty parlour, when the doctor came in. He was sort of middle-aged and he nodded at us and ohgoodlord, we're going in together? Diabolique patted my knee, and I'm sure she was wondering at this point what possessed her to bring me. We go in together, I'm thinking this is what lamb to the slaughter means and I get it now and I swear to god, v-jay, if you're thinking of ANYTHING sex related, I will personally deprive you of a vibrator for a month.

I got to go first. Of course.

"How many?"
"Um.. six or seven a day?" (When I'm not drinking, which I didn't mention)
"Yeeeee-ah, sort of."
"How much?"
"Oh, every weekend."
"How much?"
"Wellllllll.. it averages out to one or two a day."
"A day?"
Diabolique pats my knee again.
We go on to having a conversation about my period, blah di blah, any problems, sexually active?
"Well, not active active."
"Have you had intercourse in the last two months?"
"No," I said reluctantly.
"Ever been pregnant?"
"Okay, go behind that curtain for an exam."

An exam? Seriously? I thought we were done! But being the sort of person who attempts to follow doctor's orders, I went behind the curtain, the nurse made me take off my jeans and underwear and lie back, knees up, while she draped a sheet over my legs. Kill me now. And, of course, there was a breast exam, and of course, my kurta was too tight to pull upwards, so there was some yanking and of course, through this whole thing I focussed on a spot on the wall singing Under my umbrella-ella-ella- ay-ay-ay in my head.

Turns out, I didn't have to worry about being, um, remotely erotically charged. If this was a gentle touch, I bet women are like Marquis De Sade. There was some probing, a long dildo type thing was inserted and some more probing and then he said, "Look." I looked, and he was pointing at a TV monitor. "That's your uterus." I felt like I was in one of those movies where they show the baby's heartbeat for like the first time and I was all awwwwwwww, look how pretty. (Only, of course, I couldn't find it. There were grey spots and black spots.) Then I got to get off, and Diabolique went in, and we were both pronounced clean and healthy. "Use a condom during sex," he told me. Duh. "And come back in ten days so we can do a cervical exam."

So, I have a healthy va-jay-jay. And I don't have to go back for another year. (What? You thought I was going to have my cervix examined? Really?)

ps: So, Facebook (which I love) has this new application called Superlatives (we have a lot of time on our hands--my friends and I) and basically, it lets you nominate your friends for things--like Most Likely To Wind Up Drunk In Ireland or Most Likely To Be Distracted By A Shiny Object. So, anyway, your Superlatives are on your profile page, along with which one you have the most of. Guess what mine is? Guess? No? Most Likely To Be A Drama Queen. At first I was all like drama queen? c'est moi? Never! But, on reflection, I concede. I so am a drama queen. It makes life more interesting.


  1. Heehee.. Brilliant post, eM. Now I know what to expect if I ever go in for one.

  2. if you thought that was bad, you will stay away from the cervix test. but seriously, do go.

    ...Scarlet Woman...hehehe.

  3. As tramutizing it must have been for you. Your post did bring a smile to my face.
    Really like your blog... perfect reading for a rainy afternoon.
    Have a nice one !

  4. Wow it make it sound like almost fun. Almost being the operative word - I'm 'almost' encouraged to go in for one but then again, NOT.

  5. Now this is inspiring all of us to go get this done.

  6. Funny post. :) My first testicular exam (I thought I had a lump) involved standing in front of two docs (both male), being told to "drop your pants" - and then having to wait a few minutes for the... erm, "shrivelling" to subside. Painful.

  7. well atleast you didn't get judged. Mine asked me about my sexual life and "if I intended to marry him or was sleeping around". Needless to say I changed over to a cooler gyn :)

  8. you've been sexually active for so many years and you'd never been to a gynae till now? eM!!!gaaah!you're an exasperating woman.'nuff said.

    va-jay-jay's a lovely word.
    like ba-donk-donk-donk :D


  9. te hee hee
    see now that's one thing I did before you :P
    but i didn't get no dildo treatment

  10. Sorry couldn't resist. I do pelvic exams on daily basis to earn a living and I have to inform you that your OBGYN DOC did an ultrasound to look at your uterus, why I don't know, why vaginal not sure even more! Sexually active women who are not pregant on routine GYN exam get only a cervical and bimanual exam to get checked for STDs and cervical cancer.

    Usually an ultrasound is warranted in a pregnant woman to ensure a pregnancy that is present inside the uterus (pregnancies outside the uterus are bad news). Mostly it is done by putting the probe on the surface of lower belly. The only time probe is inserted vaginally is when the pregnancy is rather new (like up to 8 weeks) when it is difficult to visualize the fetus by belly US. Only time I would do a US on a non pregnant patient would be if she was telling me a history of excessive painful periods.

    I can't believe that the doctor is making you come back for a second visit to do the cervical exam which is the only thing he should have done during the first visit! If I were you I would find another OBGYN doctor. Seriously! Either he is very uninfomred or a total pervert, who knows?!

  11. now i suddenly want to be a gynae, damn only if such career moves were possible.

  12. Would have to agree with sinusoidaily here. I read through expecting a PAP test and there was none. When he says cervical exam does he mean a PAP test? And this should definitely have been done on the first visit.

    As for working as a gynae, a friend of mine is a doctor who used to perform PAPs all day in a hospital. He said looking at hoo-has all day would nearly put him off sex completely. No wonder he switched careers and became an exec in the pharma industry.

  13. Friend of mine got to air force medical college via that wonderful relic of indian meritocracy- the entrance exam. so he goes for `orientation' where there's a mandatory prostate exam. As one might suspect these things are done en masse in india. A line of gentleman, appropriately undressed wait their turn with a female nurse.
    This kid, possibly nervous, possibly aroused. well aroused. I believe the professional response of the nurse, when it came to his turn was:"yeh, yeh kya hai. peeche jaao, ise theek karake lao." Once I heard that, I decided I was never visiting a doc in india again. at the risk of prostate cancer, testicular lumps or what have you.

  14. hmmm... you knw wot I knw someone who shud read this post of urs.. and she's abt as old as you I suppose... thnx eM...

  15. shouldn't that read "I can now cross my uterus off the list of things I HAVEN'T seen?"

  16. "ise theek karke lao"..... HA HA HA.. tooo funny.... thats one of the funniest things i['ve come across in a while.
    If your friend was shakti kapoor.. he would have said.. 'AWOOO tum hi theek kar do na... "

  17. phew!
    im finally up to date with your blog!
    my eyes hurt and i've almost been caught by my boss twice!
    lol...but worth it.your blog is so much fun!
    and i LOVED your mom's letter to you...
    seriously...its a universal mommy letter!

  18. Thank god I had a woman gynae examining me my first and only time till now! And reading this post was so cathartic!!!

  19. eM, what you had was an vaginal sonography to check the health of your uterus. i'm surprised that that's what your doctor chose to do, unless you'd complained of irregular uterine bleeding or pain or anything that could possibly hint at the presence of fibroids, cysts etc.

    a regular gynaecological exam involves a pap smear test, which yes, is a cervical examination to check for malignant/dysplastic (read: cancerous/pre-cancerous) cells as well as for infections/STDs like HPV,chlamydia and gonorrhea. it also includes a bimanual examination, where the doctor places one hand on the abdomen, and two fingers in your vagina to check the health of your uterus, ovaries and the like.

    i seriously don't understand how any gynaecologist worth his/her salt wouldn't do that for a first-time check up. the health of your va-jay-jay CANNOT be ascertained through an ultrasound, and skipping a cervical examination as a sexually active female is really a very stupid thing to do.

    find another doctor. yours doesn't sound too informed.

  20. how much information is too much information? well, since we've already talked about pretty much everything here, i might as well confess--my period's been earlier and earlier each month, which i mentioned to the gynae. is the sonogram normal in those circumstances?

  21. eM, do you mean that your cycles are shortening? like, instead of a 28-29 day cycle, yours are say, 21-22 days?

    the ultrasound does still seem odd to me but who knows, i'm not a doctor. i was commenting on the basis of your original post that made it sound like a routine check-up. no, i'm not attacking you - i understand why you didn't divulge specifics. my concern was that your post would mislead readers who've never been to a gynaecologist before.

    and also, you don't know how healthy your va-jay-jay is until you get a PAP.

  22. I must refer to an episode of Scrubs, to those who are familiar with the show(It's the best show ever)

    JD's narration: And then Carla said something that disturbs every man alive.

    Carla: I just had my period!

    All the male doctors, nurses, and orderlies: Euughh!

    I admit it may be a tad insensitive on our side that we feel this way, but come on, we don't understand it, it doesn't happen to us, and unless you don't sit us down and make(force) us (to) understand it, we're gonna continue to be disgusted by the whole process. I mean I'm all for the 'Women are stronger' and all that, I mean hell, I know I could never pop out a kid from between my thighs, it's hard enough being constipated, and a kid is sure to be way worse, nor could I bleed from down there on a monthly basis, I'm more than happy being on the receiving end of the PMS, but honestly, it can be a tad nasty at times. Also certain ex-girlfriends (one) have(has) been comfortable enough to send yours truly to the pharmacy to pick up her tampons. More embarrassing than picking up morning after pills to be honest, I mean with those, if you get a shady look from the pharmacist, you can reply, hell yeah bitch, THAT's exactly what I'm gonna do. But with tampons, even though you aren't answerable to the guy, his, all the others' stares get to you. More so because they're all just as scared and confused by that black plastic bag in your(my) hand.

  23. why are men afraid of buying pads and tampons?
    younnoh I know some women who are also afraid of buying their own pads and tampons
    why does it make everyone so uncomfortable?

  24. may be same reason, beings are afraid of buying condoms.

  25. Thank you. Now I'm even happier being a man.

    There IS an error in the post title. Add the 'not'.

  26. It is indeed the cervical PAP smear test that the doctor should have done. It checks for the health of the cervix and helps in the prevention of cervical cancer. Since it's caused by the HPV virus, all women over the age of 23 who are sexually active are advised to go for the smear test regularly. You should definitely get it done, by a female doc if you're more comfortable with that.

    I have seriously never heard of the uterus being shown on screen unless one's pregnant. And I wonder why the doc didn't do the PAP test in the first visit!

  27. I agree with Sinusoidally.
    Being a student of medicine, and knowing a LITTLE bit about the vee-vee's and the va-jay-jay's and the ding-dong's, I can safely say the doctor tricked you into getting expensive tests done. Or, he is one of those perverts that take up OBGYN so they could regularly with strange women's plumbing.
    A cervical examination. was all that was legitimately required.

  28. I strongly recommend getting that cervical exam. Hopefully he is not stuck in stone age and will screen for HPV. It is the number one killer of women and yet Indian women are so.... about going to a OB gyn. I am done ranting.

  29. u r an inspiration 2 others. now at least few r turning up 4 gynae examination even if its a male gynaec.


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