Friday, 12 December 2014
AIDS Awareness Signboard
“Play safe sex, use condom”. But when? Where? With whom? All the details cannot be given in a bill board meant for creating awareness, but when the details are not given people with no background knowledge tend to misinterpret or misunderstand the whole issue.
There used to be a awareness signboard of a AIDS and how dangerous it can be if contacted with a huge picture of the famous phallus, with a caption saying ‘play safe sex use condom’ and of course with a picture of a condom.
The intention of the sign board was to create awareness about the AIDS but the message received by the readers especially foreigners coming for the first time would be different.
When I went to pathsala (nearest big town in Indian state of Assam) to repair some electronic equipments I chatted about the mundane things with the shopkeeper there while it was being repaired. He told me that he visited Bhutan many times during the weekends and whenever he was free to escape the heat in the summers. The one thing he told me got me into thinking and of course writing this.
“Aap Ka Bhutan may toh free Sex hai na?” (I Bhutan the sex is free no?) He asked me. This statement and view of him and may be many others across the border, tarnishes the image of women more than that of the men here. I had tough time defending and telling him how wrong he was in thinking like that. I wondered how he presumed such things. Was it from the dressing sense of the girls out here? Being very hot in summer we do not expect our girls to cover up from head to toe. Was it from hear say? Ah, he must have got this message from the bill board of AIDS saying ‘play safe use condoms’ Referring to making love as playing would get into anybody thinking in his lines. The conservative societies would not allow signboards with graphic pictures of sex and private parts, put up even if it is for creating awareness. We are not conservative but sex is not free, like he was thinking.
The wall containing that ad was just outside our campus. The writings on it had become quite old except for the picture of the condom and the phallus. The wall was later coated with black paint for no one was there to write or improve the writings there.
Just as you finish the climb, you will be greeted with two black walls before you descend towards Nganglam town.
Sending no message is better than sending wrong message…..