The second season of Kota Factory once again reminded us of the pitfalls of the Indian education system, and the struggles of children studying in India’s hub of coaching centers, Kota.
While, for the most part, the show focuses on Jeetu bhaiya’s entrepreneurial journey and Vaibhav’s issues, it also manages to raise conversations about topics such as periods, masturbation, and the fear of taking exams.
And it’s the conversation that Jeetu bhaiya has with Meena on masturbation, that becomes an important and relevant part of the show.
Meena is undoubtedly one of the most sincere fictional students ever shown. However, infatuation, love, and attraction are feelings common to most students, even those as sincere as Meena.
But an education system that skips the chapter on sex education, and a social construct that views lust and attraction as sinful, doesn’t provide children, at large, the required information and tools to deal with these feelings or raging hormones.
And that’s why when Meena discovers and indulges in masturbation (thanks to a candid but convoluted conversation with Shivangi), he is wracked with feelings of guilt and shame.
In fact, his sense of shame is so strong, that he stops attending classes and feels he has already failed as a student – because he is constantly distracted by thoughts of sexual pleasure.
At that point, Jeetu bhaiya advises and guides him to treat masturbation as a natural, albeit private, activity, and not something to be ashamed about.
He normalises the idea of self-gratification for Meena, while also teaching him about the basic concept of privacy and control.
And ultimately, he helps Meena focus on studies again, and not waste years of hard work, just because of a misplaced sense of shame over something as natural as masturbation.
Rather than demonizing something as normal and common as sexual exploration, the show normalises the conversation on masturbation. And though it’s a far cry from the kind of sex education teenagers deserve, it’s at least a step in the right direction.
All images are screenshots from Netflix, unless specified otherwise.