Operation Majnu --That's what the maverick Meerut police liked to call it. And mayhem is what struck young lovers in Gandhi Park, completely out of the blue. A podgy peeved policewoman caught couples unawares and started physically and verbally abusing the women for the most innocuous crime commited: Falling in Love.
Now, we are quite aware that from time immemorial falling in love has been considered a crime. The repurcussions of the folly have ranged from incurring the wrath of at least 1 of our 33 crore supernatural beings to at least one of the more natural biological beings (read parents); to murder; to suicide; to transmogrification...Alas, how would the Hindi film industry and Ekta Kapoor have survived otherwise!
And all this irrespective of whether you have fallen for the most beautiful/handsome or otherwise, highly educated/drop-out, well-to-do/pauper opposite sex. Everyone except the two concerned turn the most illogical, unreasonable moral guardians you could ever dream of. Parents of course turn into your worst enemies, in most cases, and then there are the neighbours, relatives, wellwishers, blah ,blah,blah...suddenly every one wants the best and only the best for you. At any other given point of time, all these "best wishers" are no where to be seen of course. But the point here is these are emotional black mailers, moral consultants, legal advisors ... ( ok I understand parents resrt to physical abuse, too.)
To get back to where it all started..Gandhi Park. From the TV footages and reports, it was apparent that the policewoman just randomly picked couples (some even married) and slapped and booted the women for sitting and coochi-cooing in public places. I mean, what could they have been doing? Holding hands, ok, kissing at the most. Just exercising their constitutional right to freedom of expression. (Has the word expression been defined anywhere in the constitution?) Some social activists shared my thoughts, but Ms Kiran Bedi, our erstwhile national moral guardian begged to differ “No, sometimes these couples do indulge in obscenities under the shawl”. Under the shawl, did she say? Pray, then how is it obscene? Can anyone see anything? It’s under the shawl, right? What would they do to Emraan Hashmi and his women, John and Bipasha, Mallika and Jackie Chan, Shahid-Kareena, Riya Sen- Ashmit Patel??
What would happen to the luvbirds of Victoria Memorial, Maidan, Lake(south Calcutta), JU jheeler paar( pond side) and sundry other goli-galtas(clandestine lanes/bylanes)?
This paucity of private space is not just a physical problem in our country but a sociological one, too. Whether while trying your luck out in college or even as married couples living with parents (in-law), we often encounter the problem in our lives. For instance, unless you are the kid of working parents and have a spare key to the house, or you are one of the few with a swell of a friend who lends out his bedroom, or you are among those late starters who finds a soul mouse, oh sorry, mate, only after clearing the CAT (Ohm projapottoy namaha-IIMC, since, as per my knowledge, it had the highest hit rate;-)), or any other hostel for that matter, you don’t really have access to a very private place to do very private things. Privacy is a luxury we have to pay a high price for.
So where does one let loose the spontaneous outburst of powerful feelings? In public. But to be beaten black and blue and abused so that TV cameras can freeze the frames, play and replay the scenes so viewers can see, bite, chew and digest the atrocity. The funniest thing is some other police(wo?)men from the same police station called the Press to capture the moment, because they thought they were doing a “good thing”. Am a bit conphoosed.
But then I’m confused about a lot of things.
Why is falling in love a crime? Someone tell the world how to rise to the occasion and save them the nadir.
And when one has fallen, why do people suddenly have to develop fangs, paws, nuke bombs et al to destroy the lovers and the beautiful world they dream of through those rose-tinted glasses?
Most importantly, why does the world defect to the Opposition, leaving just the lovers in the Ruling Party?
Why is love so controversial and painful? Well, almost always. The pleasures that come with the pain as bonus, are usually few and far between.