Kissing in Public Attracts Attention in India – 10 Aug 10


Ramona and I were talking and laughing a bit about the typical questions that she and other western women always tell us about when they have met Indian women. The first question, after the name and the country of origin of course, is if they are married. If this question is answered with yes, the next one is if they have children. Is the first question answered with no, the next one is when the wedding will happen!
This is simply where many Indian women’s focus is on and what they would like to achieve in life. It is just in the same way as people ask men what they work and how much they earn. So this is one of the things that you might get to know when you travel to India. There are many such things and sometimes you can read about it before in books, hear stories from others and can imagine it.

Once a couple from America was here at the Ashram and the first day they were here, they went out to have a walk. They came back confused and nearly a little bit angry. When we asked them what happened, they said that all people were staring at them so much! At first we told them that it was normal for people to look at foreigners and they should not worry about that but the next day, Purnendu was standing at the gate when they went out and watched how they walked away. They were holding hands and people started looking. Then after some steps the man put the arm around the shoulder of the woman and people turned their heads while driving by. Some steps further they stopped, he pulled her towards himself and they had a long and deep kiss. Purnendu told people stopped their work and came out of the houses to see that.

In India, couples do not show affection publicly in this way. They do not kiss or hug on the street. If an Indian couple had done that, they would have got many comments from others as well and then they got additional attention for the fact that they are foreigners. We explained them nicely that they did not seem to be very aware of Indian culture and that it was not normal here to kiss on the street. They also understood. I think it is important to respect the culture of the country that you are in. Sometimes it needs a little bit of a feeling and sensitivity but this is the adventure of travelling.

7 Replies to “Kissing in Public Attracts Attention in India – 10 Aug 10”

  1. I don’t think Western people should do this so much in their own countries either. I see it as a form of exhibitionism, private behavior which should be kept private.

  2. When I first came to India I was surprised and delighted to see the way that men embrace other men in public. They affectionately cradle each other, hold hands, or lean on one another. When they speak they may sit very very closely to one another with their faces almost touching. I have never seen anything like this before with the exception of gay couples in the US and usually in private. I absolutely love it! I also use it as a way to consider how strange it would be if my husband and I were affectionate in public in India. It helped us to understand how shocked we might be and how deeply disturbed we might be if we believed that this was wrong. Thanks for the entry Swami Ji!

  3. I do think it’s interesting that friends can display affection in public by holding hands, but couples shouldn’t. But I guess that is just the cultural mindset which doesn’t need to be explained but is just accepted.

  4. I could not agree with you more…but making cultural mistakes is usual for when traveling, you make a mistake and you learn from it for example, me and my shoulders, and then just now I was serving food and Yeshendu said I should take off my shoes and notice how the children take off their shoes…feet are cleaner than shoes are…I should have known before hand but you live and you learn.

  5. Cultural differences are one thing… I just don’t understand how its totally fine for men in India to show affection like this to each other, they hold each other, hold hands, arms around, hugging, embracing… everything except the kissing and sex by the looks of things…. yet holding a womans hand is frowned upon? Wow! But this culture of yours, where showing affection to a woman in public is not wrong… its not how India should be… this narrow minded lack of freedom is a very Victorian British way of thinking and is totally at odds with the rest of your Indian culture where otherwise things like this would be celebrated… not frowned upon. This is just a left over from the old fashioned backwards thinking British that found this sort of thing taboo… India should be more free in this respect, I’m sure it very much was before us British got involved. You lot in India should just reject the old Victorian English sensibilities of physical contact, sex and nudity being vulgar and go back to celebrating these things as the natural and beautiful things that they are. Its not that I don’t respect other cultures… I just don’t believe that this is Indian culture… this way of thinking is just whats left over from the times of the British in India… the world has moved on since then… including us Brits… time for india too move on with the times too! I’m not saying everyone should be shagging in the streets, but its the most natural thing in the world… there should be no need to hide it, be ashamed or to be persecuted for it. Its love at the end of the day and when is love ever not worth showing?