Kissing, holding hands as you walk down the shady avenues of Cubbon Park trying to squeeze those few precious romantic moments you get with your sweetheart is going to be history soon. The Horticulture Department and Bescom (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company) are implementing an intelligent lighting system and CCTV network all across the park’s 300 acres.
Bengaluru will now speak a different language of love where lovestruck young couples will need to scour for their own piece of private time in nooks and crannies of the city or other parks where people don’t find love offensive. What the park officials fail to realise is that parks are where people like to come and spend time with each other away from the prying eyes of neighbours and parents.
Instead, for those who try getting amorous or get carried away with feelings of romance will be taught to rein it in now at Cubbon Park. Because according to those who uphold the moral compass – public display of affection is an affront to the eyes. The park will be equipped with speakers which will call out lovers who indulge in 'unacceptable displays of affection.'
After all who would like to see a couple locked in embrace, while you soldier on carrying the load of the world, family and life on those fragile shoulders? The ‘immorality’ being so strong that concerned parents, daily walkers and even the park authorities saw that there was a pressing need to bring an end to all the lovemaking. The hypocrisy is strong in this state.
Where do these lovers go now? Do we now want a love-starved state? What about married couples? Where do they go when they cannot speak to each other in the house? Cinema halls, malls are already populated and not affordable by all, parks were the only place where a grassy knot, a shady tree, a bench, a quiet corner is enough for lovers, couples to spend some time in peace.
Have they considered the whole ecosystem they will be destroying with this move? The tea sellers, the popcorn sellers, the flower sellers, the ice cream vendors, - all who depend on couples spending a few bucks on their wares.
While police, public and the morality upholders will turn and look the other way when a woman is eve-teased in public, when people lie on the streets begging for help, when it comes to something as harmless as PDA in parks, the champions of Indian culture arise to stamp out the rebellion.
Love and intimacy has long escaped the shackles or confines of the bedroom but Indian society has repeatedly tried to force it back into the room where they think it belongs. ‘Lovers should maintain decorum in public places’ the battle cry of those against couples indulging in necking and kissing in public spaces.
But then again Indian lovers are also an adaptable hardy breed which rises to any obstacle be it through Kiss of Love or Facebook lives on moral policing. People may have an opinion but it takes on a different level when an individual’s (or in this case lots of people's) life as they lead it is affected. Just because park officials have the authority, placing bans or peeping into the love lives of harmless couples out to steal some alone time, is not a way to stamp their power. After all, parks are public places and people can use it as they please.
It is funny how BESCOM and the horticultural society is actively engaged in making the park a PDA free place. In fact, BESCOM will also be actively involved in providing intelligent lighting system to the park to keep an eye on couples who come to spend some privy time. Can the BESCOM please tell the 'public' why Bengaluru still suffers from crippling power cuts? Oh! I forgot, they are too busy poking their nose into the affairs of couples and lighting up their lives, literally! Where are these funds coming from? If you trace it then some of the tax is being by these very same canoodling couples and the BESCOM is using their own money to turn them out of a park.
Such laws and strict monitoring is a stark contrast against the cosmopolitan, all encompassing culture, Bengaluru seeks to proclaim. No wonder the question of ‘who makes the public?’ is still under debate in the city. Where people find language and love offensive, it is difficult what other practice may be an affront to the moralistic people in the city.