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by Rehana Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:08 pm
What's a Valentine's Day without showing some love to your partner?

With young couples heading to beaches, restaurants and malls to spend their day, one can't avoid seeing couples indulging in Public Display of Affection (PDA). A little bit of cuddling, holding hands or even a peck on the cheek are the most common ways of expressing one's love, but PDA is still seen as disrespectful in Chennai. With cops marching towards popular 'lovers spots' like Marina beach and small lanes in localities like Besant Nagar, we ask youngsters on how socially acceptable PDA is in the city:

PDA are a form of expression
City youngsters are in agreement that PDA is just a form of expression and shouldn't be looked as a criminal activity in public. Model Swetha Sridhar says, "PDA shows the strength of your relationship. Valentine's Day is all about feeling loved and these small signs shouldn't be looked down upon." Sometimes, city cops take to moral policing when they see two people kiss in public. "Cops have a lot more dangerous activities to monitor instead of grilling couples," says college student Susan A and adds, "For centuries, PDA has been looked upon as an expression of love. You see several couples indulging in PDA in places like Marina Beach, which is no secret to us. It is definitely not a sin and up to the couple if they want to display affection for their partner in public. However, people should draw a line between vulgarity and affection."

Chennai's still partially conservative
Though Chennai is changing, Swetha opines that the city is still partially conservative. "Some visual display of affection, like kissing on the lips in public, is still frowned upon," she says. Engineering graduate Rohit Surya says, "Forget elders taking offence, if a bunch of friends see a couple getting intimate in a public place, they tend to make a big deal of it. They end up teasing them and put the couple in an awkward situation."

Draw the line
Actor Ganesh Venkatraman is of the view that the city should focus on safety than showing public affection. He says, "Chennai is not as open as other cosmopolitan cities in India. Though PDA is just a feeling expressed by couples to show their love, we can't really blame the cops for this. With several rape cases on the rise, it is their duty to check on these things only to make the environment safer."

Actress Vijayalakshmi adds, "I've seen couples indulging in PDA in parties and beaches, which is completely OK. But there are a large number of people who judge you when you hold hands with a guy friend of yours in a beach or park. They have to make a conscious effort to draw the line between getting too intimate and showing affection."

Psychologist Rekha Sudarsan explains, "Chennai has definitely changed over a period of years and we can't call the city conservative anymore. But when it comes to PDA, one has to be sensitive to the situation and act accordingly. Any display of affection that doesn't have any sexual motive is acceptable. Also, couples need to be aware of the location when they indulge in PDAs. Holding hands in temples or hugging each other in front of elders and children can be awkward for some to witness. As much as it is an impromptu feeling to show your affection, couples should also maintain decorum when they are in public."


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