For a guy who had boundary issues with human beings in general (till the first girlfriend happened) I was always aware about AIDS. Thanks to TV, movies and, ummm, my mother’s women magazines lying around carelessly, I remember being curious about
You can imagine how horrified and scandalised a mother would be, when her child, who had never even chuckled after reading endless Famous Five books featuring a dude called DICK, is asking what ‘condom’ meant. Her child, who is in the SIXTH standard. In my defense, I was also apparently not old enough to understand what ‘genital’ meant when I looked up the word ‘condom’ in the pocket dictionary.
The condom incident
I don’t remember my mother’s exact reaction, but I think that’s the age when she started telling other mothers about how ‘bachche kitni jaldi bade ho jaate hain’. But what I DO remember is that ever since that day, I have been terrified of getting AIDS. In fact, here’s a true story: Some years after that ‘condom’ incident, I found a girl stupid enough to want to kiss me. She was the first ever girl who had said that to me, not counting the time I was five years old, when I had pulled a girl’s hair for kissing me.
Even though I found my way around the internet by the time, and knew who Pamela Anderson and Sharon Stone are (and why they are known), I was mortified at the girl’s words. This is exactly what I was thinking: “HOW COULD SHE SAY THAT!!! WE CAN’T BETRAY OUR PARENTS!!! WE ARE JUST 14!!!!! IT’S SUCH A CRIME!!!! SHOULD I CALL THE POLICE? WHAT IF SHE GETS PREGNANT!! WHAT IF MY PARENTS FIND OUT SHE SAID THAT TO ME!!! I SHOULD CALL THE POLICE!!!”
The unprotected kiss
Okay, that may not have been EXACTLY what I was thinking, but I DID make a phone call after that conversation. To a friend of mine. This is EXACTLY how THAT conversation went (or not): “Dude, you know that girl who wanted to hold my hand the other day? Now she says she wants to kiss me. I’m scared, man. What will happen to me? Why does she want to do that? What’s wrong with her? Okay so tell me, should I carry a condom with me… you know… for the kiss? Like what if I get AIDS, dude?”
I am not one to kiss and tell… and that’s why I can tell you that OBVIOUSLY, that kiss did not take place. I never heard back from the girl when I mentioned ‘condom’ to her. It’s been quite a few years since that fateful moment, and the word ‘condom’ has been used with much irony in my life since then, you know, since I… well, since I was in an engineering college. Where the only sex you get is when you get your examination answer sheets… oh no, wait, that’s ‘rape’. Sorry, got confused!
But the climax (haha, see the wordplay here?) of this story is not whether I did or did not get to use the condom in its rightful place since then (or if I FINALLY know what its rightful place is). It is the fact that even when I had no idea where the hell I’ll put a condom when kissing a girl, I still knew that I would not get AIDS if I used a condom.
It’s not all funny
And I tell you this story today, because today, December 1, is World AIDS Day. On a serious note, here’s a shocking fact: Over 5 million people died from AIDS in India this year, and have been dying in India since quite a few years. And most of them died because they were not aware of AIDS, or thought they were too cool and ‘macho’ to use condoms. No, no one’s going to give you a medal of honour for ‘taking it out just in time’. Trust us, that’s NOT what we mean when we say, ‘stay raw’.
Don’t be stupid – use a condom. Read up on AIDS, HIV, and also, on how condoms work, if you don’t know. And most importantly, help spread the awareness. MANY youngsters still don’t know about why AIDS happens and how they can stay safe. Join hands us with in educating people about the HIV virus.
Make yourself count. Spread the word. Not the virus.
Note: This article first appeared on MTVIndia.com on December 1, 2010
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