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A few months ago, my newlywed wife and I were coming back home from a family dinner when we stopped at Sea View for a walk. After walking for about 20 minutes, we sat on a bench outside a famous fast food restaurant and ordered ice cream for us. Surprisingly, my wife and I were on our first date! After attending a huge number of family gatherings, lunches, dinners, tea parties which our relatives had arranged for us, finally, we got some time alone together. Sitting on the bench, we both found it quite silly but as soon as we started talking about mutual interests, the tension in the atmosphere released.
While talking to my wife who was sitting in front of me, I took her hands in mine and we kept looking at each other until an elder woman came to us and said, ‘Beta, Mujhe Nae Maloom Ke Ap Shaadi Shuda Ho Ya Ne Magar Dekho Ye Public Place Hai Yahan Aisa Kerna Acha Nae Lagta’. As she continued her lecture, I found that the elder woman composed every single word very carefully so that we couldn’t respond harshly. According to her, sitting with a female at a public place in this condition is absolutely inappropriate. She suggested us to go home or wherever to enjoy our private moments.
Between all this, I stood up to make her clear that the female is my wife and what does she mean by ‘Aisa Yahan Mat Kero!’, I was just holding her hand, that’s it! But my wife interfered and stopped me from doing so; we left the place immediately. For changing my mood, my wife asked me for a long drive and so we did. I tried to discuss the incident with my wife twice and thrice but she ducked the issue every time!
At that point, a question raised in mind. Is it a sin to hold your wife’s hand in public? Why do we become ‘moral police’ whenever we see a couple engaged in public display of affection (PDA)? We are living in the 21st century but why do we still in need of ‘nikah nama’ from a couple to prove their relationship? Or if the couple isn’t married, so what? Why is it your responsibility to teach them about the ethical values of the society?
I have read a book about building healthy relationships in a closed environment, for supposing Pakistan, in which the author also pointed out at the societal reluctance towards making healthy relationships in such surroundings. She told that PDA is not about dating only. Every citizen has a right to enjoy the company of their partner at a public place but unfortunately, we don’t know other ways of expressing our emotions and desires except sexual activity. In Europe, we see couples enjoying music, poetry or even a theatre play and they find this a way of expressing their love. Unfortunately, we Pakistanis don’t know such ways of expressing love.
That’s why, if a couple is just holding hands, people get offended as the couple is claimed to be ‘committing adultery’. Holding your partner’s hand, throwing a kiss or just placing a hand on better half’s shoulder isn’t a crime! For God sake, let the couple live their life!