This has happened a number of times! An youngster who is obviously lost and is also late, asks me breathlessly; 'Where is Gullu's chat'. Earlier I had no clue, now I know. It is a 'chaat' place near our Micro park. I saw this place one evening and was surprised to see it was full of boys and girls, overflowing into the pavement along the park. Obviously a very popular meeting place. I know it is no big deal for the new generation, but for me it was a surprise!
I grew up in this, mostly middle class, locality and this scene was an impossibility in our times! I am not joking when I say that we were expected to go to the other side of the road, luckily no traffic then, to get past girls who were standing and chatting, a very rare event in itself.
I also notice that boys and girls sit together in the park! They are seen with their lap tops, class notes and are ostensibly in serious discussions. I do see occasional twosomes who appear engrossed in themselves, but the moral police would not find any fault in their behaviour!
But surprisingly, my conservatism seems to act up and I wonder if it is really OK. I worry whether they are really matched! I am talking about their religion, caste and what not! I have read stories about how while India looks liberated it is not so when you consider the middle class! That while cities may be a little tolerant, towns and villages are surely very orthodox. I suppose I could go and talk to these kids about my concerns, but have not had the courage to interfere!
Obviously I am not the only one worried, I saw this in TOI recently:
Forget political outfits, which enforce their version of culture on the youth through moral policing. Some colleges in Bangalore too are following suit and have a code of conduct for students on campus. They keep watch on the way boys and girls interact to ensure they don’t cross certain limits.
Do you approve of colleges curbing interaction among students?
Resident Editor, The Times of India, Bangalore
A comment from a parent!
"As a parent, and I am sure that there are not too many who would have responded to this article, being too busy at work, earning to pay for their offsprings education.Keeping the viewpoint of morals aside, not many would appriciate their child being involved in an on campus romance at the cost of their education, when these parents have selflessly sacrificed themselves from the first day of their child' schooling to the last day of their College. In the only hope that their Child would secure himself or herslf a good future. "