These days, it is slightly easier to buy condoms because you can do it online. But we have all been through the trauma (if you’re a woman, it mostly is) of buying contraceptives. We asked a few young Indians to share their first-time experiences…
It was a hilarious moment. I went with my girlfriend and we’d decided beforehand that she would do the talking. I wanted to see just how the person would react. We walked into a big pharmacy-cum-supermarket and started browsing. Soon enough, a salesperson came up and asked if we needed help.
My girlfriend said we wanted condoms and mentioned all the specifics, including the fact that I was well built and so would need a big size. The saleswoman was stunned. She looked at me in shock, probably hoping I would say something.
I looked embarrassed and turned away. She didn’t know what to do until another salesperson came and took over. Since then, whenever I go out to buy contraceptives or condoms, that woman’s face comes to my mind.
Manish Kamra* (35), entrepreneur, Mumbai.
‘I threatened to create a scene’
As a woman, it still irritates me that you get those looks whenever you’re out to buy birth control. The first time I bought mine, I asked the guy behind the counter for all the birth control options he could offer. There was a pause, some whispering and I was asked for a prescription.
I knew what kind of contraception I wanted. I had got the details from my doctor. But when I said I didn’t have a prescription, there was more whispering. I asked what the problem was. I was told I couldn’t get what I wanted without a prescription.
By then I was furious. I told them they better give me what I wanted or I would create a scene right there. I think they got scared because they actually acted quick and handed me everything, including the lubricant I had asked for. Before leaving, the guy muttered something along the lines of ‘aaj kal ke ladkiyan (Girls, these days)!’
Anahita Parmar* (26), fashion blogger, Mumbai.
‘A brief moment with the cashier’
My first time wasn’t that big a deal. I just picked up a box from my local supermarket. While checking out, the cashier gave a slightly awkward look – he raised his eyebrow when he saw my ‘family pack’ of condoms and looked at me for a brief moment before preparing my bill.
Mani Subbalakshmi* (22), writer, Mumbai.
‘I got a lesson on lubricants’
I was very nervous the first time I went to buy contraceptives. I had my doctor’s prescription and friends had told me to buy a lubricant. I went to a pharmacy far away from where I live. I showed the prescription and to my surprise the guy didn’t bat an eyelid.
He went and got me the pills and before I could speak, he asked me if I wanted a lubricant. He further advised, “Madam, lubricant is always good for both of you”.
He showed me the different options available. To this day, if I am in the vicinity, I try and go to that pharmacy to buy stuff because I’m always told what’s new and what’s ‘popular’!
-Jonita Pinto* (22), student, Pune.
*All names have been changed on request.
What was your experience buying your contraceptives for the first time? Write to us via comments or on Facebook.