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Love in the Open


113 Votes | Average: 3.63 out of 5113 Votes | Average: 3.63 out of 5113 Votes | Average: 3.63 out of 5113 Votes | Average: 3.63 out of 5113 Votes | Average: 3.63 out of 5 (113 votes, average: 3.63 out of 5)
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Love in the OpenOne thing that always strikes you whenever you leave the shores of India for the first time, is how open people are in the West about expressing their love. Kissing, cuddling, and more intimate scenes can be witnessed as one goes about one’s business on the London underground or the New York subway. It is nearly always startling when one encounters it for the first time, even though we come from the land of the Kama Sutra, and are a physically expressive people on the whole. People are still reticent about expressing themselves physically in the open in India.
 
Or are they?
 
“I think people are definitely getting more demonstrative, even in public,” says Shivani, a young copy-writer. “Kisses on the cheek and a public hug is becoming a celebrity ‘in’ thing. And even among friends, there is much more hand holding, arm-around-the-shoulder type of contact than there used to be.” But what about kissing in public? Has that become more acceptable after the kiss actually became a feature of Bollywood films? “I think kissing and more demonstrative gestures are best avoided, not because of whether people around us are more permissive or not, but because of the safety factor. Rowdy and goonda types usually take advantage of just such situations to attack couples, specially in deserted areas of beach and other such places.”
 
News headlines that speak of a couple being roughed up by such rowdy groups in parks, or other public places, do seem to bear out such a perception. In fact, in places like Chennai where policing of night spots is a regular affair, girls who are accompanied by male escorts, or partying with friends are all likely to feel the wrath of authority. In a recent instance, girls rounded up by the police on a Saturday night were subjected to derisive comments and even some hair-pulling, as a newspaper report seemed to suggest. So sinking into the arms of your escort in the grip of passion hardly seems like a viable option at the moment for purely safety reasons.
 
Cities and towns differ when it comes to public displays of affection. While Mumbai, even with the Valentine’s Day hating Shiv Sena in control of the city, remains a relatively kind place for couples, what happens to a couple in a place like Meerut was clearly visible on national television. A couple found cuddling in a park was roughed up so viciously by a woman constable, that a strong case of police brutality could have been made out with ease. Unfortunately, even in cases of such gross violations of privacy and individual freedom, the victims themselves hesitate to file a complaint, in order to protect themselves from further harm or notoriety.
 
Ultimately, attitudes to public displays of affection will take a while to settle down, just as so many changing facets of the society in which we live. India is still grappling to come to terms with differences among ourselves based on wealth, exposure to ideas and the media, and entrenched social values versus ‘global’ ones. Whether we become a more tolerant society depends on many social adjustments taking place around us.    

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Responses to Love in the Open

  1. 1 Giriraj

    One thing that always strikes you whenever you leave the shores of India for the first time, is how open people are in the West about expressing their love. Kissing, cuddling, and more intimate scenes can be witnessed as one goes about one’s business on the London underground or the New York subway. It is nearly always startling when one encounters it for the first time, even though we come from the land of the Kama Sutra, and are a physically expressive people on the whole. People are still reticent about expressing themselves physically in the open in India.

    Or are they?

    “I think people are definitely getting more demonstrative, even in public,” says Shivani, a young copy-writer. “Kisses on the cheek and a public hug is becoming a celebrity ‘in’ thing. And even among friends, there is much more hand holding, arm-around-the-shoulder type of contact than there used to be.” But what about kissing in public? Has that become more acceptable after the kiss actually became a feature of Bollywood films? “I think kissing and more demonstrative gestures are best avoided, not because of whether people around us are more permissive or not, but because of the safety factor. Rowdy and goonda types usually take advantage of just such situations to attack couples, specially in deserted areas of beach and other such places.”

    News headlines that speak of a couple being roughed up by such rowdy groups in parks, or other public places, do seem to bear out such a perception. In fact, in places like Chennai where policing of night spots is a regular affair, girls who are accompanied by male escorts, or partying with friends are all likely to feel the wrath of authority. In a recent instance, girls rounded up by the police on a Saturday night were subjected to derisive comments and even some hair-pulling, as a newspaper report seemed to suggest. So sinking into the arms of your escort in the grip of passion hardly seems like a viable option at the moment for purely safety reasons.

    Cities and towns differ when it comes to public displays of affection. While Mumbai, even with the Valentine’s Day hating Shiv Sena in control of the city, remains a relatively kind place for couples, what happens to a couple in a place like Meerut was clearly visible on national television. A couple found cuddling in a park was roughed up so viciously by a woman constable, that a strong case of police brutality could have been made out with ease. Unfortunately, even in cases of such gross violations of privacy and individual freedom, the victims themselves hesitate to file a complaint, in order to protect themselves from further harm or notoriety.

    Ultimately, attitudes to public displays of affection will take a while to settle down, just as so many changing facets of the society in which we live. India is still grappling to come to terms with differences among ourselves based on wealth, exposure to ideas and the media, and entrenched social values versus ‘global’ ones. Whether we become a more tolerant society depends on many social adjustments taking place around us.

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