The last time I wrote about this, everybody picked on something I had considered relatively irrelevant (i.e. not requiring explanation) -- so I'm writing again, to clarify my stand.
Ok, the reason for the second half of that post (the park bit) came from a remark I heard from a German friend who lives here in Cal with his Indian wife and baby. They had ventured into the Dhakuria lakes one afternoon, looking for a quiet walk and some fresh air, and instead they were met with the sight of all these couples indulging in almost-sex. And please understand, I'm no prude when it comes to sex, so when I say almost-sex, I really do mean just that. I myself have known boys to get BJs there, although that happens at dusk rather than during the afternoons.
My friends were quite upset, obviously, and I was a trifle apologetic, seeing as how both the husband and wife were from outside West Bengal. And then the man said, "I didn't know it would be like that. I thought it was a place where I could go with my daughter." That last sentence hit me hard. (Else I'm no good at remembering quotes.)
I thought it was a place where I could go with my daughter.
Seen from that perspective, one's views change quite a bit. Lots of things which I'd have overlooked, laughed over, perhaps not even noticed, become unacceptable. You see, I have no problems with my kids asking me about sex or even what that 'Aunty and Uncle are doing on tv'. But if you had a decent upbringing, 12 odd years at a good school, why on earth are you making out in public? You wouldn't do it in front of your own parents, why should you force my parents to witness it?
So, to answer your question, you yourself draw the line. If there is something you are uncomfortable about or ashamed to do in front of the elders and children of your own family, please extend that respect to those of the families around you. So, no, I did not condone the Goregaon police picking couples up and giving them a hard time. But nor do I like these couples giving the hardliners so much fodder. Everybody has a libido, and it's not that hard to control it. If you're having trouble with yours in public, please, visit me. A short crash course in parenting ought to take care of that particular problem.
I suppose this is a part of the larger picture. Cousin J and I were discussing the way our peers behave in buses. The other day I got up because a couple of women with two babies and several older children got on. Only after I did that another lady gave up her seat as well. All the others looked at us as though we were fools. When, on the rare occasion V, B and I do go to Big Bazaar, we are invariably jostled. By middle-aged mothers. Have they forgotten what it was like, carting a heavy child around? Why would they jostle babies anyway? These are the things I do not understand. When I watch women my mother's age get hassled, I try to stick up for them (if they need it, which mostly they don't), because, hey, it could be my mother there.
Don't tell me about the random rude person who didn't thank you for the seat you gave up or walked through the door you held open as though it was a favour he was doing you. You get all kinds. But for every one of these rude people, you also have folks who are grateful for little acts of courtesy, of thoughtfulness.