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Public Desi Affection

 

How many times have you seen a Desi man slip his hand out of his wife’s when his mother or aunty walks in the room? Interesting that in the same room you have three generations circumventing the flat screen to watch the latest Bollywood love heist.

With the direction Bollywood has been heading in the past few decades, it doesn’t get more ‘publically displayed’ than that. Yet touching your wife, fiancée or significant other in public (especially in front of your family) is still quite taboo in South Asian culture.

Perhaps the excuse that public display of affection (PDA) encourages promiscuous behavior in young people has some merit, if we were living in 1864. In 2013, if you still think the youth’s tender sensibilities will be marred by seeing their parents hug or kiss, my question is: do your children have access to the Internet? If yes, then seeing their parents hold hands into happily ever after is the most PG (pun intended) exposure they’re getting on the subject.

Now I’m not asking for permission to stick my tongue down my hubby’s throat while his granny watches over the edge of her paratha; after all I was raised to be a “good Desi girl”. But I am asking for it to be OK for a man to carry his new wife from the mandap in his arms, for my grandfather to kiss my granny’s hand every time she puts a perfect meal before him, and for my mom to hug my dad on Eid without feeling scandalous!

“Actions speak louder than words.” When a man physically expresses his affection for the woman in his life, it signifies that she is loved and cherished. This visual image alone can go to great lengths as a lesson on respecting and honoring women; something South Asian culture can always use a regular dose of. When a man shares an intimate relationship with a woman in private, and then is extremely formal with her in public (as is the case with many Desi couples, especially those living in an extended family), it marginalizes the woman. The lack of natural physical acknowledgement further pushes many women into the shadows, where many old school South Asians still think they belong.

“A man who treats his wife like a princess was raised by a queen.” Queens are not only strong, but also tender. Desi moms, please, please don’t submit to the attitude that giving male children affection will make them into sissies. Hug your sons so they don’t spend the rest of their lives running away from their feelings in utter horror and embarrassment! Also grab your hubby right in front of those boys, so they learn that physical interaction between a man and woman isn’t a manmade thing, and there is nothing wrong when a woman initiates it. And since we Desis are always looking for a good deal, I’ll throw in a bonus: this will also help you raise confident daughters who aren’t ashamed to express what they need.

Of course, embarking on life’s journey hand in hand comes with its risks. You will have certain aunties glaring at you, and rumors of your promiscuous behavior will likely follow you to the temple, gurdwara or mosque. But at the end, you will have been part of a great revolution in love; consider it Woodstock with bindis.

— Summer Yasmin

‘No Sex in the City’ is inspired by the popular TV show Sex and the City, and is a voice representing Desi romance and culture in all its complexities!

 

Original image here

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