March 17, 2008


By Rayomand Patell

Once upon a time a lifetime ago, there was a somewhat corpulent nineteen year old lad who resided at Altamont Road. It being a Saturday afternoon, he thought he should go for his jog from Altamont road to Carmichael Road and back prior to his big date later that evening.

Along the way back, after he had accumulated a good deal of perspiration and a generally disheveled appearance in the noble pursuit of losing weight, the thought that later at night there were good chances that a pressing need for prophylactics would present itself struck him. Being a forward-thinking sort, he ran through his options as he ran.

The Carmichael Chemist at the corner of Peddar Road presented itself as a good one. So the nineteen-year old made a sweaty entrance there. Only to find that it was jam-packed with various sorts buying various medicines. The entire world seemed to have an urgent need for cough syrup and headache tablets that afternoon. Not to be easily cowed down, he waited patiently as beads of sweat dribbled down his forehead and then scribbled down a few of the items he wanted on a piece of paper.

This was more a matter of being a Very Organised Person and Making A List than being one of the Seven Habits Of Very Successful People, not to mention Being Well Stocked With Everything In Life Because You Never Know When You Will Need It, rather than any nervousness, having been a regular purchaser for no small amount of time from the Cumballa Hill Hospital Chemist instead.

Lost in thought of things to come, he nonchalantly slipped the list over to the cretin at the counter, and awaited results. They were soon forthcoming.

"Yeh kya likha hai saab K ke baad?"
"Umm....KS...." (said with a lifetime's worth of wishing he had better handwriting).
"Yeh KS kya hota hai saab?" (shouted out from the back of the store to the counter)

By now, sensing that this was good ripe stuff, the entire store had of course come to a standstill. In pin-drop silence, the next exchange occurred.

"Saab....yeh kya hai KS ke neeche … dotted ke baad?"
"Umm... dotted, ribbed , superthin aur..."
"Aur yeh strawberry?

"KamaSutra mein condom aata hai saab, strawberries nahin. Woh toh baaju ka dukaan me milega"

The boy slunk out of the store, with a hundred eyes upon the brown paper bag bulging to the brim with the other supplies. It's been a decade and a half, and he no longer lives on Altamont road, but he still ducks his face lest he be mistaken for that sweaty sex maniac nineteen-year old when he passes by Carmichael Chemist en route HSBC meetings.

Heck, he never ever asked for KS again either. Durex it is.

About the Author: Rayomand Patell, 31, is a Copwriter with Contract Advertising, Mumbai. Presently, he is Creative director there.