Public spaces

Do not begrudge people in love

stealing kisses while they stop their two wheeler at the signal, hugging as they wait for the bus imagining themselves to be invisible, exchanging goodbyes that never seem to end, when they park their car under a tree on a partly deserted road, if they walk hand in hand and take too long to cross the road, groping as they walk on that street without the streetlights, linking their fingers in the train as they reach above to grasp the bar, rubbing their feet together under the restaurant table, feeding each other at the little eatery, cooing behind the boat, hiding in dilapidated structures, writing their name in sand, whispering in the darkness of the movie theatre, laughing and talking oblivious to everyone else. 

In this city with the longest beach and thousand watchful eyes, apartment owners forcefully protecting the virginity of their tenants, policemen intruding on private moments, insufficient interaction between the sexes, hotel managers demanding bribes to look the other way as consenting adults try to understand why they are denied the right to stay together, unreasonable curfews imposed by parents, inquisitive families out of touch with the possibility of love,

Where will they go?

This isn’t the city that lets them hang locks on a bridge, or embrace as the New Year begins, or kiss in the park as though it were the most natural thing to do. This is the city that is so concerned with its eroding morals and its obsession with propriety, hurtling towards uneasy intersections between the old order and the new, unaware and in denial that its women can experience lust.

Maybe we can all look the other way.


14 thoughts on “Public spaces

  1. Well, public space makeout people don’t do much for me.

    They appear more like exhibitionists who are determined to label me a voyeur just because … you know .. I am a 30s woman who is walking in the park on a weekday when it is essentially their make out time.

    Public places are my place too. so…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that is annoying. I alternate between irritation and pity. There’s one incident I cannot forget: I was with my cousins at Mumbai’s Marine Drive, and next to us was this very young couple eating each other’s faces. It was uncomfortable for all of us (me too, yes).
      But having said that, I’m very much against the constant policing and observing. One of my friends lives with three other girls in a third floor apartment. The owner has enlisted the help of the ground-floor inhabitants to keep a tab on who visits these girls. Absolutely no men allowed, except fathers (who must be introduced while moving in). Or an unmarried couple being made to feel like they are doing something wrong/shameful/illegal if they book a room..
      My blog post may make it sound like I want everyone to make out on the roads, but not really. 🙂 I also wanted to try writing without full stops and this seemed to lend itself nicely.


  2. Oh God such an interesting post. When I was in my twenties and meeting up my then boyfriend and now husband, we were one such couple. Making out in dark and in the bushes. Twice we were made to shell money by park watchman and some local people for getting ”caught”. It was awful at that and now I laugh about it.

    I am sure I would be put off too if I saw someone making out with a complete disregard to others. But I am not sure in small cities in India, what else couples could do?

    Isnt it an irony that in a Country of these virtue rakshaks, we have the highest incidence of HIV cases, eve teasing , and crimes against women.

    When are people going to accept that it is normal to have desire?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your candid comment! It isn’t easy for me to say I don’t want anyone to kiss in the bushes, because really, maybe they don’t have anywhere to go. I’m somewhat conflicted by this, and you have articulated that confusion.


  3. Anusha, why did you think of sharing this post with me today? I so want to think that this is a sign for me from the Universe. Let me share a quick story with you. I was at a bookstore today and a dear one picked up a beautiful, beautiful book for me. I was way too excited that I wanted to hug the man or maybe, plant a kiss on his cheek. But I was so awkward and conscious of all the judgmental eyes around me. I killed that moment of joy by just dropping a wan smile. Maybe, I shouldn’t have succumbed to the policing. This is exactly what I wanted to read today, Anusha. Thank you!

    You are one of my favourite writers. I know I have already said that. But you must know again. Maybe, I won’t ever become tired of saying that. There is so much soul in this post. So much love. Next time, when I hesitate to display affection publicly, I will think of what Anusha wrote. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, isn’t it a strange coincidence. But one I like. 🙂
      I am always conflicted..sometimes I don’t know how to behave, and other times I’m angry for not being able to express myself. I wonder if I’m being extra self conscious but then I also fear the alternative.
      As always, thanks for reading, and thanks for the kind comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tell me about being conflicted, Anusha. Sigh.

        I was also reminded of another incident. I kissed a friend (a girl) on her cheek because she said something adorable and I was instantly filled with love. I am pretty physical that way. I am a hugger, I like holding hands… you see me, don’t you? Somebody, who saw me kissing my friend, worked on a rumour that I was a lesbian. I couldn’t stop laughing when the word reached me. How stuck, how regressive, and how deprived one must be of love that a simple display of affection sends one into making up theories!

        Imagine kissing your loved one at the Egmore Museum (a nod to the Anne Frank Museum scene from ‘The Fault in Our Stars’). The starved ones are not going to let people love, are they?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Absolutely!

    Do you remember the dialogue from ‘Kadhal Kottai’? I squirmed even when I was about 10 or 11. Thalaivasal Vijay coined a term for it in the film. ‘Naai Kaadhal’, apparently. Sigh! 🙈

    Liked by 1 person

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