General, Social

Kiss Of Love

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That is one hot cup of soup! From Kerala to Mumbai to Kolkata to Delhi, this cup of soup has on one side steamed its way through the throats of youth, starting with the lips of course and on the other, has made the conservatives steam their head off in anger. A protest to protest something is by itself protested. Where else other than my own country can I see such action and counteraction for something like this which somehow chooses inaction against more pressing matters? A country that condemns public display of affection doesn’t care much about public display of violence. Rape, an act of power and violence is looked upon by many as an act of lust alone and the survivor is often considered impure enough to wish not to have survived at all, encouraged to commit suicide sometimes.  Worse, our movies still portray that the only life that a rape victim can have is getting married to the rapist itself and those are still blockbusters! Yuck!

Let’s admit one thing. Our country is depraved of discussing sex. Excepting a few urban parts, talking sex is still a taboo in most places. And we are a country who care more for what our next door neighbor thinks than what we think for ourselves. If we talk about sex, we come out as a slut but then everyone wants to talk about it simply because everyone enjoys it. So, how do we talk about it and still be the saint of morality? We talk against it, against the ones who talk about it. As simple as that. Kiss of Love gives the perfect opportunity to do that and we are all happily talking about it all over the media, papers and the internet, adding masalas to spice things up.

My irritation is not about the talking part, talking for or against the Kiss of Love is an individual prerogative. I hate it when people start blasting something without even trying to figure out the whats and whys of it. Herd mentality where one says something, another joins in chorus and soon we have a choir singing out aloud without knowing the meaning of the song. I am neither a supporter nor an oppressor of Kiss of Love. As a common (wo)man, this is what I gathered from the information scattered all around my senses and this is how it made sense to me.

My views on Kiss of Love stretch both for and against based on different angles of reasoning and since I couldn’t take one definite side, I decided to go silent on this one. But the social media spamming, the abusive and degrading comments thrown upon the protesters, roping in public fornication and character assassination, yelling culture and tradition all the way, makes me want to give it to them, even though I agree in a point or two.

We say we understand the affectionate kiss that we give little children but then there are many little children getting raped and molested every day. We see lip locking between two adults as foreplay for sex but you know what, it can also be an act of strong love. You stay away from your loved one and meet him or her after a long time, you would have missed him or her so much that you’d want to hug and cry and kiss and on the lips too. And there it is the love talking, not the lust man. But yeah, when we consider it a shame to even hug our spouse outside the bedroom, this is definitely too difficult for us to fathom. Having intercourse in public is offensive because it provokes another as porn does. But kissing, even if it is one of lust provokes no one but the two people involved. Cross your heart and tell me, do you really get turned on just by seeing two people kiss? Please say no or you will just be admitting how sexually depraved we all are.

Agreed. Kiss of Love is a little drastic for the India today. We need to get much more open-minded about the rights and wrongs of our culture and tradition before we can even attempt putting our arms around the shoulders of the person we love in public. No matter how much we deny, that’s still the sad state of events here. In spite of it, there are a group of youngsters kissing one another in public. There are more than enough stealthy ways to quench one’s lust in this country and still put on an act of innocent purity, whatever that means. Why then should these people go about pulling stunts and ask for criticism? Are they crazy? No! They are trying to make a statement, a bold public statement. If we just pause a moment to think about that, maybe we’ll understand that Kiss of Love is more of a bold statement than an act by itself and here we are discussing the act and missing the statement entirely.

We’ve seen people raising flags, shouting slogans and even burning buses in protest against something. There, we discuss about that something. But when kiss is used to protest moral policing, we start exaggerating the kiss itself. No two people are the same and morality is more a subjective than an objective matter. What is moral to one is immoral to another. We consider smoking and drinking as a moral issue than a health issue. We are totally ok with bad-mouthing another person, got so used to corruption and wealth hoarding that those are not immoral anymore. Where does our moralities feature or do we even know the real meaning of the word? To me, a true and honest person rates morally higher than a chaste person but then that’s only me. Just expecting everyone to conform to the same scales of morality, drawing boundaries for another is what is called moral policing and the moment we talk about culture and tradition in relation to Kiss of Love, we become the moral police ourselves and make it very convenient for the extremists to go on and spit abuse.

Culture is something that a society as a whole follows. The food that a region eats, their clothing style, their folklore, everything is culture. There is no question of right or wrong. That’s how it was then and like everything else, it will and should evolve and change with time. That’s progress of humanity my dears. Why do we need to preserve it in the first place? There is a place for that and that is called museum. Why expect the homes and streets and societies to be museums? Our ancestors were monkeys once upon a time and the culture then was to climb trees. Are we still doing that?

Oh come on, Sati and Infanticide was our culture. Patriarchy is still perceived as culture. Dowry is still rightfully practiced, even among the most educated and most cultured families. I’ve had more than enough with the culture statements. Today, whoever is calling out for culture is speaking from what is taught to them from their parents and grandparents, from the movies, from the media, and certainly not from what he or she has thought out and processed for himself or herself. If they do that, think, that is, they’ll know what it is. You can’t know the truth of something that didn’t happen in your lifetime unless you research and process it. Hearsay comes with a lot of myths and misinformation. To cease being a developing nation forever and become a truly developed nation, we need to do that. Think!

Having said all this, I still feel that the Kiss of Love protesters could have used something else to make their statement than kissing total strangers. While they got the attention of the media, which is a success to their protest, they have also made themselves an object of unwanted criticism. They’ve forgotten the fact that children, adolescents and perverts are a part of this society, who might get delusional about the whole campaign and start justifying the real wrongs, like taking drugs and call it their freedom. Comparing kiss to drugs is absurd but only because they have used kiss as a sign of protest (in India), it has given way to such comparisons, leading the underlying point to go unheard. Aren’t there better ways of protesting? Yes, there are but it would not have got as much publicity as this one and for a protest to be heard, publicity is important. Their argument seems correct too.

There we are, two different angles of reasoning and I am unable to take sides. Iterating once again, this post is neither in support nor against the Kiss of Love campaign. But it certainly is against the misinformed noises at every twist and turn, obstructing the progress of our country. Having said my share, I have thus invited the wrath of both the sides of this campaign to pelt stones at me for exercising my right of expression. So, go on then, go talk, love, kiss and hate away.

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