It only needs a situation. By Wg Cdr DP Sabharwal (retd)
After marriage to share my happiness I shall always kiss you whenever I am happy I shall also kiss you whenever I am in a sad mood to get out of that” said the lover when she wanted to know what novel thing he would introduce in their married life that had not been heard of or practised by others before.
Not impressed with his idea, she said, “You can leave kissing on happy and sad moments to me. I shall do that without fail. You kiss me any and every time without any rhyme or reasons.”
I am sure the afore said couple after marriage would be ‘on cloud nine’ all the time and ‘having a whale of a time.’ The common and the average man as well as woman, however, need an occasion to get into an embrace to begin with and then go in for the much-longed-for ‘kiss.’ There are stories and customs across the world that describe such occasions.
The alley of the kiss: In the Mexican city of Guanajuato, there is an ‘Alley of the Kiss’ which is a tourist spot. Couples of all ages queue up to kiss their loved ones to honour the tragic tale of two lovers who had to sacrifice their lives over a kiss. As the legend goes, Ana, a rich Spaniard, and Carlos, a poor miner, were caught kissing each other by Ana’s father who stabbed her with a knife and while trying to save her, Carlos fell and bled to death. They were kissing from the two balconies facing each other, separated by a narrow alley. The belief is that if ‘lovers or couples’ don’t kiss, they will be cursed with seven years of bad luck! Well, that’s the reason for thousands of people round the year to stand in a queue and wait for their turn for the short and sweet moment to lock their lips!
Kissing the Blarney Stone: Located in Ireland, the Blarney Stone is set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of the gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery). The ritual has been performed by millions of people, including world statesmen, literary giants and legends of the silver screen. The kiss, however, is rather difficult to perform to touch the stone with one’s lips, the participant has to ascend to the castle’s peak and then lean over backwards on the parapet’s edge thus risking life, and it can’t be done alone. One needs the help of an assistant… to plant the kiss!
Kissing under the mistletoe: The mistletoe is an interesting botanical plant because it is a partial parasite and grows on the branches or trunk of a tree. There are many beliefs surrounding this plant, which makes it one of the most intriguing of the kissing legends. It is said to have the power to ward off theft from fairies, unlock the secrets of dreams, promotes fertility and, above all, is an indicator of love and marriage. At Christmas time a young lady standing under a ball of mistletoe, brightly trimmed with evergreens, ribbons, and ornaments, cannot refuse to be kissed, and such a kiss could mean deep romance or lasting friendship and goodwill. However, should the girl remain unkissed, she is not likely to get married the following year.
Frog prince: A beautiful but spoilt princess had a golden ball, which one day, while playing in the garden, fell into the pond. Upset and not knowing what to do, she sat there crying helplessly, when a frog hopped out of the pond and asked her the reason for her crying. After listening, he said that he can retrieve the ball for her, but for that she would have to give him something in return. The princess promised and got her ball back. The frog asked to be her friend, and thus eat from her plate and live with her in the palace. The princess, though disgusted with the thought, had to agree as she had to keep her promise. The ending however is pleasant since the frog magically transforms into a handsome prince. There are many versions of this transformation, but as per the modern versions the transformation was triggered by the princess kissing the frog.
Indian paradox can but can’t: Our sculptures display plenty of kissing. India’s ancient past is littered with kisses, if literary work is any evidence. In the Kama Sutra, the definitive epic of amour, the scholar Vatsayana devotes a chapter to the art of kissing, and painstakingly details some 30 types of kisses including straight, bent, turned, press, nominal and throbbing. Yet we Indians continue to grapple with the big question: to kiss or not to kiss? Many years back there was public outrage after Nelson Mandela had kissed actress Shabana Azmi during a public function. Years later American actor and activist, Richard Gere had the riot act read to him after he swooped down and clasped actress Shilpa Shetty and planted several kisses on her. What’s worse, even marriage sometimes doesn’t give the licence to smooch. An Israeli couple was fined `1,500 by a court for kissing after getting married in a Hindu ceremony in Rajasthan since the priests had taken umbrage and lodged a complaint.
Bollywood shows the way: Bollywood has contributed a lot towards building as well as de-mystifying the hullabaloo and hype around the kiss, which in Hindi cinema can be described by any of the many words like bold romantic and sensuous. And it is not a recent phenomenon. It has been there for much longer than one can imagine. It is often reported that the first kiss – and that too the longest one lasting full 240 second – featured the then sensation. Devika Rani, who lip-locked with her real-life husband Himanshu in the film Karma released in 1933. The first kiss in the history of Hindi cinema, however, was between Seeta Devi and Charu Roy seen in the 1929 silent film A Throw of Dice.
The Cinematograph Act of 1952 literally introduced a sort of ban on screen kissing. The imaginative directors, however, depicted the romance through new forms of symbolism like a couple getting together behind a tree or fire burning or flowers brushing against each other. In fact, two flowers coming together became the most popular metaphor for a kiss. It was the genius of Raj Kapoor that first showed an actual kissing scene between him and the Russian actress Ksenia Ryabinkina in Mera Naam Joker in 1969. Thereafter, the floodgates opened, though very slowly and nowadays the promos for the movies proudly mention ‘so many’ kissing scenes it would be interesting to note that to lure the kiss-straved audience, a pre-release teaser trailer of the film of a particular starlet mentioned her delivering `99 slaps and I kiss’.
The place is not the issue: A kiss planted at the appropriate moment and at the right place can lead to an amazing passion between two individuals. Selecting the proper place can intensify the romance a million times and draw your sweetheart nearer to your compared to kissing behind the conventional closed doors. Allow your imagination to run wild and you can add many more places suitable for a passionate kiss in addition not-so-conventional ideas of being under the stars, on the bonnet of a car in the rains, in the doorway of the house or the lift in a high-rise building, in the kitchen where your loved one is doing the dishes, in the ocean accompanied by the waves, in the middle of a not-so-busy street at night or while leaning over the table at a restaurant when deciding the dishes.
Time is everything: Our ancient past doesn’t forbid kissing. Western traditions that we are following in almost every aspect of life too tell us to kiss our wife or the beloved literally at the drop of a hat. However, we are torn between tradition and the so-called seductive imported values. We are taught indirectly, of course, to kiss only in the dark as if one is committing crime! It is time to take a call. Decide to kiss whenever you feel like it. Give, plant or steal, but go for the kiss at any time of the day, for at night you would be sleeping! It could be a long or a fleeting kiss, doesn’t matter.
Look back, think and analyse, there has never been any excuse to show a kissing scene – neither in any of the Indian movies or a film from any other part of the world. None of the kisses is ever planned. They just take place, as simple as that. Learn something from the wise girl who when told by the boy that when they reach the third lamp-post, he would kiss her, exclaimed. “Oh dear, aren’t you delaying it for too long?”