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Roundabout: Counting condoms

punjab Updated: Mar 06, 2016 10:46 IST
Nirupama Dutt
Nirupama Dutt
Hindustan Times
counting condoms

‘The Condom Bar’ was set up by a maverick bureaucrat of CITCO in the Baithak area of the Kalagram.(HT Photo)

It is strange that one is reminded of yesteryear song ‘Counting colours in the rainbow’ because the flavour of the season is counting condoms. A BJP MLA from Alwar in Rajasthan, in the midst of the JNU chaos of alleged sedition, arrests, doctored videos and wrath of socalled patriotic lawyers, pronounced that every day of the year, 3,000 used condoms were found on the JNU campus.

Now, had this legislator come to our city a few years ago, he could have had a ball counting more at ‘The Condom Bar’ that was set up by a maverick bureaucrat of CITCO in the Baithak area of the Kalagram gram here. The bar was decorated with thousands and thousands of multicoloured rubbers and it would have been fun counting them all. Oh! One forgets that the fetish of the legislator was for used and not unused ones.

Coming back to ‘The Condom Bar’, it was opened with much fanfare in 2007 as part of the safe-sex drive and served moderately priced beer, kababs and a thali full of food and some condoms were given for free. Others could be had at a moderate price from the dispenser.

The bar was a rage and opened by an HIV positive woman in her 20s who realised that she had the disease only when her truck-driver husband died of AIDS. “I don’t want others to suffer like my husband did,” she said, while inaugurating the bar.

The bar was a huge success, but some three years later prudish officers decided to remove condom tag and decor and make it a plain simple bar. The officer who had set it up was gone so there was no one to moan or groan. One suddenly feels sorry for the poor condom that has done such service to humanity in both birthcontrol and checking disease yet it remains such a symbol of shame and embarrassment. The mythical Dr Condom who some believe invented the device closer to its present form must surely be turning in his grave.

Come any agitation which involves youth, those who wish to run it down, always say that condoms were found here, there and everywhere. Years ago when the Assam students agitation was building up I remember myy sister-in-law,, a pucca tea garden memsahib, telling me, “Condoms are to be found all over the countryside and the abortion rate has gone up”. I argued, “But bhabhiji, is something wrong with the condoms that abortions have to be resorted to?” She was not amused, but I was reminded perhaps of the PJs of college days. One such said the height of frustration was sitting in a condom factory punching holes!

This legislator is also saying that besides condoms there are hundreds of pregnancy injections too in the JNU dustbins. Well, on one hand there is much noise about safe sex and population control, on the other hand the condom is always the culprit.

Such charges were made against the Narmada Andolan activists too. Ah! My beloved countrymen what merriment you cause!

In all this, the Twitterati is having a ball. Just a couple for the road: ‘JNU students are guilty of seduction, not sedition’ and the ‘ministry of condom counting!’