By Siddharth Srivastava
NEW DELHI: According to recent news reports, video clips of couples being intimate with each other while traveling in the Delhi metro have been uploaded on porn websites.
I use the metro whenever there is need. Mostly the coaches are jam packed compelling an orgy of intimacy with every passenger in the vicinity. It is similar to commuting in a crammed Mumbai local but for the air con and closed doors.
Like anywhere else in the world, one spots the high on hormones getting to know each other physically and more, young boys and girls in the crowded midst or when the coaches are near empty late in the evening. It is, without doubt, a heady period in their lives. Engrossed, for them, the rest of the world does not exist.
It is also easy to spot the married couples. They look the other way, are absorbed in their cell phones or the wife prefers to travel in the ladies compartment for comfort and time away from the hubby. There are the occasional middle-aged couples revved up by hormones like teenagers or those in early twenties. Probably, they are up to stuff away from their respective spouses that is not entirely above board.
I am not happy that metro clips of amorous youngsters have found their way to porn websites. It is an invasion of privacy even if the acts were conducted in a public place. The leak by authorities that have access to the CCTV footage of the coaches needs to be investigated. I am, however, happy that such clips exist.
This is because, in India today, normal folks are not allowed to express themselves, while the not so normal, abnormal, fringe, frustrated, powerful and those with vested interests get away with murder.
There are exceptions such as Sunny Leone who has uniquely combined a career as a porn star and Bollywood actress. MS Dhoni periodically expresses himself by winning matches in the last over shutting critics for a few weeks after which they start criticizing him again. Following his recent interview to Reuters, we know that Narendra Modi feels sad when a puppy dies. We don’t know whether he feels sad about Muslims killed in Gujarat 2002 riots or Israt Jehan shot dead by promotion and power hungry cops.
I am not an advocate of couples crossing certain limits of decency unless they are in their bedroom or there isn’t a single passenger in the train. However, a hug, a kiss, a pet, should be within the realms of accepted public behavior and expression.
And, I am not talking about sexed up Page 3 parties where artificially made up women air kiss each other while trying to bed rich crony capitalists with knickers full of ill-gotten cash. I am looking at normal urban folks riding a metro, hanging out at a mall or a movie hall. Letting them be in my opinion, is a sign of tolerance, acceptability, respecting individual dignity, freedom and an indicator of an evolving democracy that is sadly missing in our society.
Unfortunately, as matters stand, the way we conduct ourselves socially or in public has been usurped by the moral brigades, fringe elements, khap panchayats, greedy cops and opportunistic politicians. They decide and the rest are forced to abide.
I believe those at the forefront of accusing young couples as morally decrepit should first try and fix some of the much bigger wrongs that afflict our society, apart from their own questionable views.
Too many unnatural happenings are ignored while a boy and girl being normal with each other is under unusual scrutiny. People stare, abuse, attack a young couple holding hands in public, while ruffians get away with drinking in public, creating a ruckus with nobody, including cops, daring to take them on.
I live in Gurgaon, a Delhi suburb. Liquor shops abound here. They can be found next to residential complexes, schools, hospitals, temples, petrol stations, anywhere. Adequate electricity and water supply is a problem, not alcohol. Soon I should be able to open the window of my house to buy a bottle of chilled beer.
Clearly, there are authorities that benefit by issuing as many licenses at as many locations. Look at the cops. Our cities would be much safer, should policemen pursue with the same zeal couples in parks due to a strict and inhuman reading of a law on public indecency that dates back to pre-independence.
The universal motto of the cops is to declare the guy to be a pimp while the girl is assumed to be a prostitute, even as a terrorist or a thief may walk by.
Our forefathers fought to ensure us the right to vote. There is need to exercise the right to hug, hold hands or kiss in public. I hope unlike the right to education and right to food, this one is a success.
(Formerly with the Times of India, Siddharth Srivastava is based at Gurgaon near Delhi. He blogs as Mocking India)