Underwear

This is from a time when a boy must learn to buy his own underwear. For me, very unfortunately, it was before e-commerce.

Life was okay in general. I was in school, being fed everyday, went out to play every evening and was able to make excuses for not studying. Mom was cooking, dad was in office and both of them were oblivious to the fact their youngest needed a new goddamn underwear. So, the youngest thought he would grow up and begin solving his own problems. I saw dad’s underwear in the laundry, and immediately decided not to steal. It was both too big and too boring. Not that I was expecting to show my underwear off right before a session of steamy sex or something — well, except in my dreams — but I thought I must keep up with times. A magazine advert had clearly differentiated a brief from trunks. A brief it had to be then. That was some gown up thinking right there, I had thought.

I used to cycle to school at the time. And so, one afternoon I decided to visit a local market on my way back. The market itself was familiar — I had an idea which shops sell them and which ones would not be crowded. The idea was to sneak in and sneak out without a third person knowing. After a few anxious minutes, I reached the market from school. Next, I began to carefully roam around the market evaluating which shop was going to sell me my first underwear. My anxiousness grew a little bit more when I saw a shop that seemed fine — Sells the stuff and had no one inside. I parked my cycle, and walked inside — even more anxious. And then, this is what happened:

Me : “Sir, I need to buy underwear for me”

Shopkeeper : “Sure, what type?”

Ha Ha, I got this

Me : “Briefs”

Shopkeeper : “What size?”

Me : ?

“S…… Size? What does he mean size? I never measured it. What, what the fuck!?”

I stormed out of the shop. Never more embarrassed. Did not lift my eyelids, picked up the cycle and started off. Wiped my sweat later on, when there was no one around. Flustered, I began to ride back home. Oh God, too many thoughts!

“…Size..”

“How am I going to measure it?”

“I should check the magazine advert, maybe there is something there”

“This is so weird”

“Is this really how you buy underwear?”

“Girls are so lucky”

“Jesus Christ, waist size!”

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa”

“I will never go back to the same shop again”

“I am going to leave this city as soon as possible”

When I reached home, mother asked me what took me longer today, to which I told a bullshit extra-class story. Mind-fogged, I was in a mess and the current underwear was not supporting. By the time it was evening, I decided I was going to give it another go. Took out a pair of pants my parents had bought recently (no points for guessing what they forgot) and saw 28 written on it. My waist size was 28. 28, got it. What Size? 28. What Size do you want? 28. Yes, this will work, I assumed.

Next day, I couldn’t focus much in school. Just some additional lack of focus, that is. Clock ticked, time passed and a few hours later I was cycling to the market again. Anxious — yes, you are right. Today though, the challenge was tougher. I had to go into another shop. In another corner of the market. As far away as possible. Thanks to a hot and humid afternoon, the market didn’t have many buyers which meant I did not have to wait too long. In a completely different section, a new target was identified. Sells the stuff, and there is no one inside. I parked my cycle, and walked in.

Me : “Sir, I need to buy underwear for me”

Shopkeeper : “Okay, what type would it be?”

Me : “Briefs”

Shopkeeper : “What size?”

Me : “28”

The shopkeeper turned behind and randomly picked out a few options. I picked the one on top and asked:

Me : ‘How much”

Shopkeeper : “A hundred rupees”

I placed the money on the counter, picked up the underwear, put it in my school bag and left.

I did it. Oh God, the sweet taste of success.

A few weeks passed, seasons turned and life returned to normal. Cycle to school, pretend to study, laugh with friends, advise friends on how to get a girl — now with even more confidence — cycle back to school, eat, watch tv, go out to play, come back eat again, pretend to study one more time and go to sleep — Life was perfect.

Exams and monsoon both had begun. I think it was English that day because I felt relatively at ease after the exam. I was retrieving my cycle from the cycle stand when it started drizzling. Oh, I love to ride my way back home when it’s raining, I thought. The rain drops almost hurting your face — it was beautiful. Rain Gods agreed and it began to rain a bit more. I and my friends were smiling and laughing as we walked out of the gates of the school — Oh God, what a beautiful time to be alive. I began to ride back home, so enjoying myself in the rain. It was amazing and beautiful in a way words can not explain. In sometime, I reached home. My mom smiled when she saw me — she knew I loved it. But by sister, elder to me by three years, burst out laughing. Relentless laugh, she had clearly remembered a joke that I was not aware of. What happened? I asked her. Look down she said, pointing vaguely at my pants.

My school friends, my teachers, the gatekeeper at school, some neighbours, my mom and my sister, everyone now knew — For all these days, I was wearing a bright mustard coloured underwear under my white school pants.

And that’s why gentlemen, always wear white. God Bless.

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