Condoms ?!? Ram Ram !!!

Quite recently, having managed to contract a pretty strong form of viral fever, I presented myself to the friendly neighborhood pharmacist for the usual supply of drugs. While I was trying to decide between Paracetamol and Panadol, a curious incident happened. A young man entered stage right, confidently picked up a packet of condoms, paid for them and exited the same way. “What’s so remarkable about it?” you say. “This happens all the time”, you scoff. Ahh yes, but the point of curiosity was that this young man was an Indian.
Now, don’t get me wrong. With a population that’s fast threatening to overtake China, young Indian men need all the condoms they can get their hands on. No, that’s not the curious thing. The curious thing was how the deed was done.  While a 20 something young Indian male can swagger into a drugstore anywhere in the world and order a packet of condoms with the utmost confidence, he is often at a loss when it comes to his home country. The Indian society has not yet come to terms with the rather “western’ idea of pre marital sex. It is still considered a big taboo across the country unless of course, it is done in secrecy. With a healthy mixture of hypocrisy and dimmed lights, Indian men and women continue to enjoy the occasional picnic away from home.
Pre marital sex is not received favorably in a society where religious fanaticism, moral double standards and generation rivalry thrive. Hence young unmarried couples find it necessary to plan sex days or weeks in advance.   In fact, guys often take it to the next level with condom purchases, which take place in three steps:
1    Casing the joint – The first step is to locate a drugstore far away from home, to avoid the possibility of running into someone you know. No Indian guy wants to be caught by Uncle Manohar from Flat 5C, while he is trying to decide between Durex and Kohinoor. Uncle Manohar is sure to tell Aunty Manohar, who then will inform half of the residents in the flat, and the grocer who comes once every week. Not a good idea.
2    Choosing the time – The importance of choosing the right time of entry cannot be emphasized too much. Peak hours are a strict no no. So also are the morning hours. The ideal time would be close to midnight, when the dude behind the counter would be bored and itching to go home
3     Exit – Have a good exit strategy in place. This means a bike or a car (preferably a car) in good running condition parked right outside the drugstore, engine left running if possible. The whole operation, in and out, should not take more than 90sec. And oh yes, pay in cash
Poor geezers from villages are often hit the hardest by societal double standards. Most are often served by one pharmacist for every village within a 5 km radius. They often have to catch a train to the nearest town, usually hours away, to buy a pack.
But soon as you take this harassed Indian male out of India, you see a transformation happening. Confidence builds up, a swagger emerges and decisions are then made not between brands, but between ‘feather thin’ and ‘barely there’.  In a society that actively promotes safe sex, guys do not approach a condom purchase like they would a bank job.
It makes the occasional picnic away from home less thrilling, but far more secure.

10 thoughts on “Condoms ?!? Ram Ram !!!

  1. Funny piece… That's pretty observant of you. You've definitely done this before since you got the details down pretty well. To be honest, I've picked up condoms in both India and Singapore (and it was soo much easier in Singapore!). And I'm female, so you can imagine the judgemental stares at the local chemist (in India).

    Keep posting… You're pretty good. 🙂

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    The best recognition of a writer's craft is when his fiction is taken for fact 🙂 Thank you for the compliments.

    And yes, if males find it difficult to buy condoms in India, I can only imagine how a female would fare. In fact, I'm quite interested to know more about your experience . Did the chemist refuse to sell it to you? I've heard of a couple of such incidents too.

  3. Your observation is good…….yes in India we face a predicament when it comes to such things…..even a simple thing as shopping for innerwear is an uncomfortable experience in India.The put-everything -in-your-trolley-and checkout culture is yet to catch up.For eveything, you need to ask the retail staff to take it and give it to you.

  4. Hahaha, don't give me that nonsense Sandeep. I'm so sure you've “done the deed”.

    The chemist was nice enough to give me the Apple flavour I requested for. He was also nice enough to pack it in a discreet brown paper bag. I'd honestly expect nothing less in a big city in India.

    Actually, I've even bought condoms in a big supermarket. It was just two of us couples next to the condom display, discussing whether X was better than Y and it wasn't even thaat awkward (okay, admittedly it was a little awkward).

    But all in all, its definitely easiest to buy them in Singapore. The Fairprice assistant at check-out doesn't give two hoots about what you're buying.

    If you want awkward, then talk about emergency tampon buying in a crowded 7-11 (now that was REALLY awkward).

  5. Emergency purchases can be awkward. But the end justifies the means (no pun intended), so one naturally stops worrying about irrelevant things, like dignity.

  6. reminds me of one incidence…when my bf joked around at the chemist shop…i was standing at a distance trying to act as if i m not involved in this condom-buying stuff…and he screamed and said “which flavor should we buy today”…the look on the chemist face…made me laugh so hard!! not to mention…i couldn't care about the flavour that time…it was very embarassing

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