Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Public Display of Affection

You must have been either ogled and gaped at by Indians during your PDA sessions or you must have seen Indians ogling and gaping at other couples involved in PDA sessions.    

That is because we are PDA-deprived people by law (According to Indian Penal Code Section 294 (a): Whoever, to the annoyance of others does any obscene act in any public place, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both). Therefore Public Display of Affection (PDA) is a subdued form of porn for us.

Smartheart tells me when he was single, how envious he used to feel seeing twosomes cuddling (before the paunchy policeman arrives) while he jogged every evening by Bandstand. That was when he decided he would take his revenge one day. Now that he possesses a female companion, whenever he spots youngsters around, he blurts out, “Let’s make them jealous.”

Then he would neck me and I would feel like how a westerner would feel in a saree: nice but awkward. The paunchy policeman must be on his way but my cultural conditioning whacks me first.

Recently I had been to a poets’ conference in which humorist Surendra Sharma remarked: “Because Indians love economically and privately, they save enough love to last them for half a dozen more lives. On the other hand, in the west, people love their significant others at all times, everywhere: in the subway, at the restaurant, waiting in a queue, at the pedestrian crossing... . That is why they exhaust the quota of their love in two years after which they file for divorce.

Consequences apart, I had an opportunity to love like the latter when smartheart and I lived together in the forward west for two years. On seeing couples snuggling and nuzzling, I would feel, “How cool! These people are so free.” And like how when in Rome, one should do as the Romans do; I would suddenly peck him at the restaurant with half a noodle hanging out of my mouth. I would address him -- the person I have trusted my life to -- as “baby” in a conversation at a friend’s place.  I would be shrieking mutely to passers-by, “Did you see/hear that?” 

There was no paunchy policeman in sight or Indian uncle-aunty wagging their index fingers at us. Yet I somehow felt like how a westerner would feel in a saree.

I read that young India is advancing in its PDA forays.  I’m sure somewhere deep down they know they are not from Rome. Only ogling and gaping at Public Displayers of Affection can come naturally to them like it does to me.

1 comment: