Sometimes I wonder, do the moral police not know how kissing works?
The phrase ‘moral policing’ makes me think nosy neighbours, annoying teachers at college, and of course those idealogical politically motivated types.
But I’ve learned that cops take their moral outrage pretty seriously too. I mean, I know all these people stand to benefit from moral policing in some way or other – there’s moral high ground and political brownie points to be won.
But what annoys me most is that, in the end, some cops just want your money (sometimes, the idealogical types do too). It’s gross. A coupla hundred bucks will silence the most apoplectic of your harassers. Where’s the integrity of outrage, I ask you?
When you’re young and have a boyfriend, and you’re trying to get some alone time for you-know-what (which is so hard if you both live with parents, right?), why do you always have to look over your shoulder so you don’t get caught? Well, this one time, I didn’t look over my shoulder. And I got caught, sure…and it turned out to be scary and hilarious.
In my second year of engineering college in Mysore, my boyfriend and I had been dating for a few months. It was a weekday and we’d run away from college (well, sort of. It was lunch break and we rode off on his bike) to Chamundi Hills near Mysore.
Now, there are several spots up there that give you a gorgeous view of the city. Loads of people come there to hang out – tourists, drunkards, students, and sure, college couples.
We chose a fairly secluded spot surrounded by trees along the way to one of the less-visited lookout points on the hill. Sat on the parapet wall that lines the road and then… finished some work we had for our practicals. What were you thinking we came for?
When we finished our work and were just hanging out, my boyfriend leaned over and kissed me. We thought we were alone, and it was a nice, affectionate peck on the lips – that’s all.
But out of nowhere, two plainclothes policemen jumped out of the bushes and pounced on us.
Loads of couples come to Chamundi Hills and cops are always around to shoo them away. I’ve been chased off Chamundi Hills by police many times, even though sometimes I’m just there with a group of girlfriends. (Maybe they thought we were a liability? Ha!)
So when the cops jumped on my boyfriend and me, we were surprised, yes, but not that much.
However, this time the cops weren’t attacking us with the force of moral outrage. Apparently, they were just grossed out! Each took one of us aside and began to lecture us – how what we were doing was so really wrong…blah blah blah.
And then, the best one…the supposedly badass dude talking to me pulled his face into a hilarious expression of complete, utter, painful disgust and exclaimed hoarsely, “What is this? Your mouth inside his mouth!!!”
The policeman lecturing me was only in his mid-30s himself. I wondered how he got his kissing done. I so wanted to ask him. I smiled, but tried desperately not to giggle at his face.
“We’ll call your parents,” he exploded. The other cop was saying something similar to my boyfriend, who was getting really worked up and losing his temper. We were also scared but pretended to be nonchalant about it, and said with all the bravado we could muster, “Go ahead, call them!”
The only real thought circling in my head was that I had an hour to get back to the next class at 2pm.
It had, of course, dawned on us on that this was all just a ploy for the cops to get some money out of us. My boyfriend was so pissed off he refused to hand over any.
Of course, considering they were in plainclothes, they could have also just been a couple of guys pretending to be cops and taking advantage of young people’s fear of being caught. We each endured what seemed like an hour-long lecture. Eventually, when it was clear that we weren’t paying them, they let us go.
We raced back in relief and glee. What was that all about! We were giggling all the way back and somehow we made it to class on time.
Those men’s deep disgust at our lip-locking and the fact that we got away without paying made it all so funny. “Your mouth inside his mouth…”
And I’m pretty sure those creepy men had been hiding in the bushes or something, just waiting for the moment when they could spring on us once we did something romantic. It was just too good a victory!
In retrospect, I feel lucky. The men could have been more aggressive. The horrible story of the girl in Mumbai who was caught with her boyfriend by a policeman, and then raped in the police station haunts me till date...
We were fortunate that ours turned out to be a minor incident. Nothing much happened, we were let go without much fuss, and we can laugh about it now. But what about next time? How can young people cope with such incidents of artificial ‘policing’?
Have you also experience such incidents? Are you frustrated with how you’re treated when you’re not doing anything criminal? Write in and tell us more in the comments section below.
By Aruna Mandal