PDA is Different Here

One of the differences in the culture where we now reside is in the public display of affection (PDA).  It only took a few days living in India to realize that the frequency we saw men holding hands walking down the street, and the lack of husbands and wives holding hands was evidence that how one displays their affection is definitely rooted in the culture from which they come.  It would be common in the United States to see a husband and wife or boyfriend/girlfriend sitting with arms around each other or holding hands but this is something that is almost rare to see here, let alone witnessing a kiss between a husband and wife.

men holding hands in india

In India, it is illegal for a man and woman to kiss each other in public.  My husband and I quickly realized that our kiss goodbye or welcome home kiss was not to be done in public.  You can do internet searches and find articles confirming the arrests of individuals in India from kissing in public but I wanted the validity of the locals.  So I had a discussion with two local college-aged girls here in New Delhi.  Yes, they confirmed — it is definitely against the law to kiss in public.  So I inquired whether they see a shift occurring in their generation of showing public affection.  They said on college campuses one can see a boy and girl holding hands some, but they still do not kiss in public.

boys holding hands

The expression of friendship among boys is shown by hand holding.  You can drive down any street by a public school when the children are heading home and you will see numerous boys holding hands walking.  This expression of friendship continues as they get older making it common to see adult men holding hands.  I have not found it as common among females.  I had one expat here tell me that an Indian gentleman he had done a lot of work with and become friends with, reached down to hold his hand once when they were walking.  He had lived in India long enough to understand the meaning, that the Indian was expressing his friendship to him, but he also said it went against everything inside him because of the culture in which he was raised and that men just do not hold hands with other men.  I must admit that Tyler and I continue to hold hands in public, grateful that this is at least not illegal.

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