KATHMANDU, June 20: What’s to stop people from love? Nothing is ever as exciting as the proclaiming of love and the demonstration of the same.
For every bored couple, there are surely two more deeply in love and not afraid to show it. And with everyone calling for the freedom of speech and expression, it’s easy to slip into the role of a loving partner.
But how far is too far after you move out of the comforting walls of your home? What may be a natural extension of your affection for your special one can be deemed inappropriate by others.
As much progress as our society has seen, some sights still leave us uncomfortable. Or perhaps we’re fine with love in every kind of display.
But once we start to leave behind our comfort zone, for most of us it takes a bit more courage to be as forthcoming with affection. The most common sight of public display of affection (PDA) is that of couples holding hands or walking about arm in arm as nothing can be more comfortable for them as well the public.
Possibly that’s also how far couples dare to indulge in since most of us would frown or, at the least, snigger at anything more “bold.” Our culture and surroundings insist that we take them into consideration before going any further than the casual embrace.
As Rojina Shrestha, 22, a student of Bachelor’s in Business Administration, says, “I would say that we need to keep our society in mind. The Nepali society is still quite conservative in some spheres. While it’s normal in western culture, we have to be careful here. And I think most of us girls are shy too.”
Alisha Shakya, 25, Secretary of the Rotaract Club of Lalitpur, also says, “There are both good and negative sides to this. But the most important factor is that if it exceeds certain limitations, it’s the observers who get uncomfortable. Everyone should remember this.”
She further recalls, “Just recently, I was in a restaurant for a family gathering when I faced a young couple who were being very open about their love. It was extremely uncomfortable for me as they were right in front of me. There was no option but to ignore them. They should’ve remembered where they were and who else was around.”
On the other hand, Nikesh Bhattarai, 26, an aeronautical engineer working in Korea, holds no negative connotation in regards to PDA.
He says, “I’m perfectly fine with it. But I wonder about the use of the term public display because when it’s about affection, and if it’s genuine affection, one doesn’t care if it’s in front of the public or not. I believe that by displaying affection in public, there are chances that others will learn from you how to cherish your love. One thing that should be clear is that while indulging in your affection, the person at the receiving end of it shouldn’t feel irritated by it. To me, any form of a display of love makes a lot of sense now. It’s love, it’s affection; it’s a way of showing that you care.”
It was once said that ‘If he’s only affectionate to you in private, then feel free to let him go in public.´ Well, countering this view is the belief that a relationship is a private matter.
And enforcing this idea, journalist Manish Bikram Shah, 27, says, “I don’t think any form of it is necessary. I believe that a relationship should be personal. Well, holding hands is okay and that’s how far I would go though I don’t usually do that, either. I guess it basically depends on the situation or the environment. One shouldn’t exceed it.”
So, walking hand in hand is innocent and demure enough for almost everyone. Anything a notch higher and more passionate requires one to be gallant in love.
Opinions vary and the couple in question could care less about anyone around. Passion takes one to new heights, but it sure hurts to be pulled down.
Sometimes, the adage “live and let live” doesn’t always cut it. And PDA has never been easy to tackle or sidestep. For the spectator, the only option left would be to ignore it unless vulgarity could be the reason for barging in on a couple’s space.
It falls into a couple’s responsibility to make sure that their actions don’t annoy or make any person uncomfortable. Because “live and let live” also means you let others live in peace