QUEEN’S ROAD: Valentine’s Day is behind us and it hasn’t been an easy week for the couples in the country. What with religious outfits issuing threats of marriage on sight and alerting parents of their sons’ and daughters’ frivolous ways. Love has become an expensive and potentially dangerous affair, while hatred walks freely on the streets, intruding into people’s personal lives.
Recent events have thrown light on the fact that it is not just the saffron brigade that wants to restrict freedom of expression in public spaces. The Kiss of Love campaign that penetrated several Indian cities last year brought to fore the regressive thinking patterns of even educated and so-called liberal Indians. Men who supported the movement were asked, “How would you feel if you saw your mother or sister kissing a guy in public?”
And just like that the whole thing turned into a feminist issue.
So now, it’s not just about two people expressing their love for each other in public. It’s about a woman throwing away the honour of the men in her family by choosing to love a man of her own accord.
It takes two to tango, but often it is the woman who is shamed when a physical relationship goes downhill. She is supposed to ‘save’ herself for marriage as though she is a perishable commodity. As though she wouldn’t have anything left to offer her husband if she entertains many partners before marriage.
A recent video released by Old Delhi Films attempts to address this issue. A young man lays on his girlfriend’s lap in a park and talks to her about how they can’t keep meeting like this as his priorities are about to change. She snaps at him saying she wasn’t the one who asked to meet him there in the first place. He then pacifies her and offers to take her out for some ice cream.
On their way out, the man sees his sister sitting with a guy on the other side of the park. He swears furiously and heads to confront her, while his girlfriend stops him. She asks him how it is okay for him to meet her at the park everyday and do things that lovers do but it is not okay for his sister to do the same. She tells him that he would have to ask her brother’s permission before asking to meet her there on. He then realises that he’s being unreasonable and leaves with her to get that ice cream.
Over the years, it has become acceptable in our culture for men to be over-protective of the women in their lives to the point where the women can’t even decide for themselves anymore. It may have worked at a time when women were uneducated and kept in the shadows. But this is the era of equality, and it is heartening to see women putting their foot down and saying such behaviour will not be tolerated.