They can bike to places that don’t exist on the tourist map, they can bash up rowdies who dare to mess with them, they can even gulp down a whole
bottle of alcohol and not be knocked out.
But, these rough and tough youngsters in Jaipur however can’t get themselves to ask for condoms over the counter at a medical store. While, they blame the conservative mindset of the people of the city who they say brand them the moment they see a young man asking for a condom, this has increased the risk of them contacting various sexual diseases.
“It’s difficult to ask for condoms over the counter, because people look at you as if you are a characterless person, about to commit a serious crime. Also, the chemists don’t co-operate. They will either ignore you or smirk. When chemists don’t feel awkward about selling painkillers, why is there a taboo attached to condoms?” asks Sidhharth, a management student.
Agrees Dayal Singh, a 23-year-old call centre employee. “There is nothing wrong in asking for condoms over the counter but the kind of looks that people, especially elderly customers present at the pharmacy give, that leaves you embarrassed. In fact, there have been times when I have come back buying some lotion or shampoo instead of condoms,” shares Singh.
Indeed according to the finding of a recent survey conducted by an online pharmacy, one out of 10 men said that they have had unprotected sex because they were too embarrassed to buy condoms from a pharmacy. And in an attempt to hide their embarrassment over their purchases, well over a third had even bought something they didn’t need as a ‘cover-up’. Another youngster Anil Khandelwal, an engineering student says things could be better if there were vending machines are installed inside the pharmacy itself. “If one has to do self-service it would save one the embarrassment and stop youngsters from going for unprotected sex,” suggests Anil.
“We would not mind buying condoms online either,” says Shreyas, another executive. But there are some youngsters, who feel that the one-time embarrassment is better than a life time of suffering. Avdhesh Soni, a call centre employee says, “However embarrassing it may be but I make sure that buy one because it’s for my own safety.” Adds Anish Bhatia, a process trainer, “During my school days, in my gang of boys, it used to be a bet that one has to purchase a condom over the counter. And I always used to fail in my attempts. But the case is different now, because I understand the importance of safe sex I feel no shame in asking for condoms.”