Once, on my home, I took the usual bus out of Rasayani to Panvel. While getting into the bus, I nearly bumped into the woman standing in front of me. I managed to control myself and at the same instant I realized that she was pregnant. I found a seat for myself and my friend. The pregnant lady sat down on the seat next to ours in the other row. I casually looked at her face and was left dumb-founded. She was evidently 2-3 years my junior. I was 19 at that point of time. I asked my friend if she felt the same. She replied in the positive. The girl could not have been more than 17 and yet she was on her way to motherhood. I felt disgusted at that moment. This child had been decorated in gold jewelry in a manner that reminded me of decorated bulls during the Maharashtrian harvest festival of Bail-Pola, when we worship our cattle. Her attire made her look older but her face gave away the truth. At the age of 17, I was caught up with my class 12 examinations, where as this girl was forced into producing a baby, hence teenage sex and teenage pregnancy, all under the pretext of matrimony. Such a disgusting and dangerous thing to do! We urban youngsters get accused of aping western culture and values which supposedly ruin Indian culture while our rural teenage counterparts are encouraged to get screwed up with the blessing of their whole families, societal approval, under the guise of good culture and in the name of marriage. How cool is that? There was a time when I believed that teenage pregnancies in India were the only the stories of those deserted, orphaned girl children on the streets who had no families to keep them safe and would hence fall prey to rapists; Or maybe those God-forsaken members of the fairer sex who had been cursed into human trafficking at a very tender age. But my years in Rasayani, Panvel jolted me out of my asinine assumptions and ignorance. In India , you are free to have sex and churn out babies if you have mangal sutra dangling down your neck, irrespective of you age and maturity.