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Monday, October 30

Indian Youth and PDA

A while ago I had asked one of my star planners(virtual) to do a small research into the PDA(public display of affection) habits of the youth. With a sample size of approximately 50 and the college city of Pune, the results one would think be largely representative of the shape of mainstream youth behaviour in the near future! Or is it?

So, while mass media blows up incidences of moral policing, there is a cultural shift happening among the youth as the findings show.(Not in any particular order)

1. Generally speaking, the length of the relationship does not matter in case of PDA. The sentiment seems to be - “I can hug my guy in public even if I know him only for a day”.

2. 97% of couples have confessed of having kissed in public within a month of going out with each other

3. Hugging and kissing are no longer meant for your special someone. It can be for friends too.

4.Cafes are a good spot for PDA. But multiplexes and discos are the top choice.(Understandably)

5.90% of the respondents feel that PDA is important and there is nothing wrong with it.

6. Hugging, Kissing (not pecking) are the top PDA activities. Pecking is passé. This is followed by sitting on your BF’s lap. Next comes holding each other or just holding hands.

7. Only 35% of the respondents are conscious of their surroundings
“If others have a problem, they can choose to ignore”
“I do have that thought at the back of my mind, but I care a damn when my guy is

But the PDA phenomena is far from mainstream beyond the metros. I had a contrasting experience last week. I had gone to Muzzarfarpur in the Diwali break. A town 70 km from Patna. There, I happened to visit a family restaurant during the lazy afternoon hours! A proper place in the middle of the town with sit-down eating and with the facility of close 'purdah'(curtained) sections. In many of the purdah sections were couples romancing. But necking and kissing if at all was done strictly behind the veil of the curtain.

Also as the couple left the restaurant, the girl would get up first followed by the guy who would walk towards his bike after a gap of 2 minutes. They still do not want to be seen together in public( exactly like it was a decade and a half back)!

So, like in most things,there still are two Indias. One confident of itself. Where romance even sexuality is worn on the sleeve. And the BF/ GF is a status symbol. And the other where romance is a shadowy, sub-terranean activity. Indulged but away from the public eye. And both are mainstream Indias...

For related stories on the web( and they are few) you may check out Rashmi Bansal's web-site - youthcurry as well as the site sepiamutiny.


Shantanu said...

Not altogether in the space of PDA, but we had recently done some quali research across Mum/Del/Hyd with about 200 odd respondents in the 18-21 SEC AB space. The topline on the segment of relationships is that there is an obsessive nature to all relationships...countless sms's per day, speaking every 1 hour or so, always being in touch, always looking for closeness, even exchanging love-filled sms's when with friends, always questioning the partner when he/she is seen talking to someone else, lack of security but at the same time complete security of being a part of the crowd (or in some cases being one up in their peer group) by having an arm candy. Overall, having a boyfriend/girlfriend is like a must have accessory that is to be flaunted. In a way, even mobiles have gone into the space of PDA - kind of like phone sex. But, and this was the surprising part (or is it really that surprising), once the relationship gets over for whatever reason (and most likely it must be a combination of some of the above seen traits) there is no hangover. The youth are very practical about relationships gone sour. Yes, it affects them for a while but they just pick themselves up and move on to the next. No moping around, no resorting to drinking or wasting youself, no soooooocide talk....nothing. The attitude is 'shit happens' - but lets not spend life smelling it!

meraj said...

true Shantanu, they begin their fligfilled youth with the assumption that this isnt the permanent one. whereas in our days (if i can say so) 'ladki mili nahin ki shaadi karna hai bhai' types. i guess its a very healthy shift.

manish, there is another aspect about undercover cootchie-cooing in the second India. the junta there also doubles up as the moral police and you always have the frustrated 'thullas' interested in making a few extra bucks out of an embarrased couple (intrestingly true for a city like Mumbai also, at times)

a fellow MICAN happened to be an engineering graduate from REC Durgapur and in love with a junior. he had horror stories of how they were always harassed by the moral as well as the real police.

good to have you back!


meraj said...

lekin blogs pe ashleel tasveerein daalna mana hai...cybercrime pe pakde jaaoge :)

Manish said...

shantanu...sahi observations hai bhai...i guess relationships mirror the mobile way of life...u want to flaunt your latest acqusition, u get bored with them after a while( never heard of a mobile for life campaign/ urge:-)

many do have more than one handset at a time(for work and play) and the frills are increasingly more important!

Divya Pratap said...

Can't agree with you more. Indeed there are two india's which most of the time is the battle with some of my clients who operate in both market wothout seeing there differences in values. Guess it still is a topic that requires further definition. Cause some of my observations are that while there is a change that is happening across, yet there are differces that are stark, exclusive and in varying degrees aswell.

wildsparkz!!! said...

Stone clod elderly eyes watching their prey with hawk like precision, watching for them to falter- a phenomenon once termed as “supervised visits” or “chaperoned meetings”, defunct, lost in an extinct world of etiquette, reservation and mores of conduct.

PDA has traversed a long way, evolved from the sly meeting of eyes of a couple, to the very physical display of affection be it smooching or caressing in public. The youth brigade seems to be the instigator, the fire starter this revolution of public display of affection, relentlessly seeking out new nooks and crannies to “express themselves”[at times even braving the police batons when society frowns upon them]

PDA has transcended from an activity only young blossoming love-struck couples engage in, its found its place even amongst the married. Today many a couple don’t hesitate to display their affection in front of their in-laws or parents and neither do the older generation feel squeamish or insulted at such displays as they probably would have felt a decade ago.

Maybe PDA in the movies, music videos, ads or hoardings we watch have had a hand in the increasing acceptance toward PDA. Some might view this changing trend in expression as the western influence, the corroding of the Indian value system, to me the spotting of city walks, promenades, cinema halls, trains or buses with budding love-struck couples isn’t such a bad thing after all. Its better out in the open than having to slink around on the sly …

pooR_Planner said...

It's true that India can be broadly classified into two sects of population (no jargons this) urban & rural. We the urban dwellers love to flaunt, be it our gizmos & materialistic belongings or our so called partners. (Therefore kissing n hugging a partner is the NEED of the hour, to be among the IN-CROWDS.)
On the contratory, rural India is still bound by its tradition. When said tradition I mean, the close binded social structure, the panchayat, the joint families, village elderly's acting as moral & social police etc etc. Blame it on low level of education and generations of oppression. (Hey, but there lot to learn from them.) So PDA in a rural scenario is a cardinal sin.

Now, there is another aspiring India, the Semi Urban, if we look closely these are the people, who are caught in the real whirlpool. They aspire but dont have the means. Yet their desire for good things in life remains strong. Therefore, what you observed 70 Kms away from Patna is something what we say, "Been-there-done-that" in a smaller version. This phenomenon is partly due to the urge from young blood to meet and greet within close boundaries, fear from being subjugated by family members if caught red-handed together, the shame and blame that they will bring to the family and a clever plot to remain low-profile yet, satisfy the sexual desires behind the purdah.

Real life example, I come from a small town, about 20 kms from Kolkata. My 1st gal at the age of 16 was the daughter of a prominent lawyer. So, we used the so called "surrogate mediums" to communicate like sending letter through friends, join the same tution so that we can commute together etc etc. When I look back after so many years, I find it was actually her fear from her own dad & uncles, it was my fear that her dad is a powerful person in the society and fear that my father wont want me to see hanging around with a girl. Now that's the social norm which still prevails in non-metros. Things are changing though. Parents are getting more liberated.

So Dudes & Dudettes, go ahead and show your PDA, it's your birth right!! ;-)

Manish said...

hey roop, thanks for your detailed comment. Much of it has a familiar ring!

Actually the reality like always is many textured..There are many Indias - the urban, the rural, the semi-urban, the semi-rural, the urban who display rural/ tribal mind-set, the rural who display urban attitudes, also the global, etc.

Would love your comments on the Technology and youth post as well!!

FiNK said...

aah.. i agree with the microcosms within our society.

PDA - I think there's two sides to it. 1. the couple snogging in the park - is it cause they don't have too many places to go? 2. the ones snogging at the club/in the car cause they can and they want to

Yup, the annoying thing is the moral policing. I have no problem holding my boyfriend's hand on the metro. He'd rather not because of the comments & stares I'll get. Indian women. Are we really free? A whole new debate!

Manish said...

there is a difference even between Delhi and Bombay...the ubiquitous male stare is a more widespread problem in Delhi. (Not that Bombay is completely free of them...

Kajal said...

yup, agree... mumbai may be more chilled out/ cosmo in certain ways.... but isnt the Shiv Sena fantatic about certain things there too?!